Cops: No Charges in Suicide of Bullied N.Y. Teenager
AMHERST, N.Y. - Police who’ve been investigating the suicide of a bullied gay teenager announced Tuesday that they had decided the boy’s death was not a crime.
Amherst investigators last month sent 14-year-old Jamey Rodemeyer’s computer and cellphone to a forensics lab to help determine whether the bullying he often talked about before taking his own life Sept. 18 rose to a criminal level. Investigators were looking for evidence that would have supported charges of aggravated harassment or a hate crime.
Jamey was a high school freshman who posted extensively online before hanging himself outside his family’s suburban Buffalo home. In videos and blogs, he talked about being bullied after identifying himself as gay.
On Tuesday, police said in a statement that an investigation revealed that Jamey was subjected to "insensitive" and "inappropriate" comments, but that there was no prosecutable offense.
Taunted since grade school for hanging out with girls, Jamey told his parents things were finally getting better since high school started. Meanwhile, on a blog his parents didn’t know about, he posted increasingly desperate notes ruminating on suicide, bullying, homophobia and pop singer Lady Gaga.
A few days later, he hanged himself outside his home in suburban Buffalo, quickly gaining a fame like that described in one of his idol’s songs. Activists, journalists and Gaga herself seized on the suicide, decrying the loss of another promising life to bullying.
His death followed other prominent teenage deaths linked to bullying or intimidation - notably Phoebe Prince, an Irish immigrant in Massachusetts taunted by classmates after she dated a popular boy, and Tyler Clementi, a Rutgers University freshman whose roommate is accused of spying on his same-sex encounter via webcam.
Tracy Rodemeyer said her son was hurt deeply by words from the time he was very young. Boys started picking on him in elementary school, she said.
"People would say, ’Oh, my God, you’re such a girl. What are you, gay?’ That kind of stuff," she told The Associated Press in a September interview.
By middle school, the bullying was overwhelming, she said. His friends would report the abuse, and school officials would pull the boy and his tormenters into the office. Jamey also regularly saw a school social worker, who would call his mother after meetings.
His parents monitored his Facebook posts but said they didn’t know about a separate Tumblr blog, on which he identified himself as gay, filled with troubling posts like "Stop bullying people. Maybe they won’t commit suicide" and "Ugh today makes me wanna kill myself."
His final blog and Twitter posts on Sept. 18, the day he died, thanked Gaga. He also wrote: "I pray the fame won’t take my life," possibly a reference to her song and album "The Fame."