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Florida sheriff in bullying case won't rule out more arrests

October 17, 2013|By Ralph Vartabedian

Grady Judd, the sheriff of  Polk County, Fla., said Thursday that he is continuing his investigation of bullying and stalking that led to the suicide of 12-year-old Rebecca Ann Sedwick, but defended this week's arrests of two minors, saying he had to move quickly because they continued to post abusive messages about the girl even after her death.

Judd’s department arrested two girls, ages 12 and 14, on felony aggravated stalking charges Monday, attracting national attention for one of the strongest law enforcement responses in history to bullying and stalking among minors.

Judd would not rule out further arrests Thursday, but said he had no probable cause at this point in the investigation to charge any of the parents of the two girls who tormented Rebecca over a 10-month period.

“At this point, I can tell unequiviocally that we have no reason to charge the parents,” Judd told the Los Angeles Times. “If we could bring criminal charges, we would."

 Judd said the investigation is hampered to some degree by the difficulty in getting all of the Internet communications that were sent by the girls, including on Facebook.

At least two foreign websites were used, one in Canada and another in or near Russia.

Rebecca  climbed a tower at an abandoned cement plant near her home in Lakeland and jumped to her death on Sept. 9, authorities have said.


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