The Boston Globe is reporting that five of the six teens charged in connection with the bullying of 15-year-old Phoebe Prince have agreed to admit to a misdemeanor.
Prince committed suicide last year, allegedly in despair over the bullying she encountered at South Hadley High School.
According to the Globe, prosecutors will drop more serious charges against the teens in exchange for the pleas.
The lesser charges will likely spark outrage from people angered by the torment Prince experienced from older classmates in her Massachusetts high school. The teen’s tragic death became a catalyst for anti-bullying laws and tougher policies in some places.
But a criminologist from Northeastern University told the Globe that the resolution was reasonable.
“The district attorney wanted to make a strong statement and draw a line in the sand, which she did,’’ said criminologist James Alan Fox. “But for so long, we ignored and tolerated bullying, And to say at this point, ‘OK, we’re going to throw the book at you’ is the wrong approach. This is the better outcome.’’
In a case that made international headlines, the teenagers accused of bullying 15-year-old Phoebe Prince will be allowed to admit to the lesser crime of harassment, according to a source with direct knowledge of the case.
The teenagers will probably receive probation, the source said, and the deals are subject to the approval of a judge.
The person, who was not authorized to comment publicly about the case, spoke on condition of anonymity.
Mulveyhill was charged with statutory rape, a charge that will also be dropped under the agreement, the source said.
Kayla Narey, Sharon Chanon Velázquez, Ashley Longe, Sean Mulveyhill, and Flannery Mullins, all of South Hadley, faced felony and misdemeanor charges, including civil rights violations causing bodily injury, criminal harassment, and disruption of a school assembly. Flannery and Velázquez also faced charges of stalking Prince.
–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog