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Cyber-Bullying: Recourse for Victims, Consequences for Bullies

The disturbing Guilderland rap song posted to YouTube Monday is just the latest in a growing number of cyber-bullying cases area law enforcement agencies are dealing with.

Lt. Mark Brown of the New York state police says, We see a lot more casework to get involved with, providing assistance to other agencies and school districts in how to handle it.

He says there have been significant cases, some that have resulted in the victims committing suicide.  Brown says bullies can face harassment, aggravated harassment, menacing and stalking charges, but age can be a factor.

If kids are under 16 and can't be prosecuted, the school will handle discipline, Brown says, but if theyre above 16 and can be prosecuted, the state police will make an arrest if the victim wishes so.

A civil offense, however, is not bound by one's age.

Attorney Doug Rose of Tully Rinckey says, A minor child is capable of committing a civil offense, which we call a torte, and defamation of character is tortious in nature.

Rose says the parents of 'un-emancipated minors' are financially responsible for their children's offenses.

A responsibility, he adds, some parents in Guilderland may find themselves shouldering.

The victims, the young ladies depicted or mentioned in the video, suffered injuries to their reputation because there were allegations on un-chastity, and thats a defamation.

If you allege someone is unchaste, its defamatory.

In the Guilderland case, Rose says it would appear any civil suit against the perpetrators would be any easy win for the victims and not just because school officials claim they received an admission from the guilty parties.

I dont think it would be difficult at all.

The video itself has a voice pattern that can be traced to the perpetrators.

Rose and Brown say they can get user IP addresses from YouTube and Facebook and similar sites and trace materials right back to the computer they were uploaded from.

Both add, as a warning to young people, you're not as anonymous as you think you are when online.

 
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