Grady Judd, Cyberbully Case Sheriff, Investigating Suspect's Parents

Image: Grady Judd, Cyberbully Case Sheriff, Investigating Suspect's Parents Grady Judd

Thursday, 17 Oct 2013 11:50 AM

By Michael Mullins

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Grady Judd, the Polk County sheriff investigating the suicide of teenager Rebecca Sedwick, told reporters this week that the parents of one of the two girls arrested in connection with the 12-year-old's suicide are also now under investigation.

"If I could, they would already be in jail," Judd told ABC News Wednesday. "But I can tell you this, that we're keeping our options open."

If arrested, the parents of the teen bully would face "contributing to the delinquency of a minor" charges, the sheriff added.

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Sedwick, who jumped to her death from a concrete silo tower on Sept. 9 in Lakeland, Fla., had been "absolutely terrorized on social media" prior to her suicide, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd told reporters.

Earlier this week, two girls ages 12 and 14 were arrested and charged with felony aggravated assault for their alleged involvement in the cyberbullying of Sedwick.

However, the bullies who were charged aren't the only ones that should be held responsible for their actions, with the girls' parents and school officials bearing the bulk of responsibility, according to the victim's parents, ABC News reported.

"I would rather see the parents and administrators behind bars, and see the kids get help they need," Tricia Norton, Sedwick's mother, told ABC on Wednesday.

The parents of the 14-year-old girl who was charged claimed to have seen no signs of the cyberbullying while they monitored her Facebook page, and say that her account was hacked by a third party that posted the demeaning, abusive comments about Sedwick that apparently led to her suicide.

Judd dismissed the parents' claims, and pointed to the 14-year-old's Facebook page after Sedwick's suicide that showed the girl gloating over the 12-year-old's death and the role she played in it.

The post read: "Yes ik bullied REBECCA nd she killed her self but IDGA!!!"

IDGA is an abbreviation of Internet slang that means "I don't give a f—."

Reacting to the claim by the 14-year-old's parent's that their daughter's Facebook account was hacked, Judd said, "Yeah, that's baloney."

"Those parents haven't cared from the very beginning," Judd said. "After this initial event, after the initial interviews, why did they let her stay on Facebook any longer?"

"When the parents don't take care of the children and it becomes criminal conduct, then it becomes my responsibility, and my deputies and I know how to take control," Judd added.

Describing the 14-year-old's parents as being "in denial," Judd told reporters that he is only investigating them, and not the parents of the 12-year-old, who he said were "remorseful," adding, "They see the big picture. They recognize that was a major malfunction. They care."

The 12-year-old suspect, who like her parents also reportedly expressed remorse following Sedwick's suicide, has been released to the custody of her parents and is being kept in home detention.

The 14-year-old is currently being housed in the juvenile wing of the Polk County Jail, where she is awaiting her arraignment date, which is scheduled for Oct. 25, ABC News reported.

If she was still alive, Sedwick would be celebrating her 13th birthday this weekend.

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Related stories:

Relentless Bully, a 12-Year-Old Girl, Arrested in Connecticut

Rebecca Marino Says Cyberbullying Helped Make Her Quit Tennis

Florida Teen Jessica Laney Commits Suicide After Bullying on Social Site Ask.fm

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