The Children’s Court president judge said the only option for the offences committed was a year of detention. I’m a little underwhelmed by the decision, if in fact detention is the same thing in Australia as it is here. Here’s the thing… a 16-year-old boy decided to “impersonate” a bully on the internet to wreak some sort of vengeance on behalf of a friend. Yeah, the word impersonate is in quotes for a reason. This kid decided to create a fake Facebook page of a known bully and used it to force girls to expose themselves and perform sexual acts while on webcam and distributed the footage of one teenager. That’s not impersonating a bully… that’s being a bully and a whole lot more.
I understand wanting to avenge your friend who has been tormented by a bully, and if the kid had confronted the bully directly, even through the use of violence, while not condoning that, I would have understood. A fake Facebook page where you torment innocent bystanders in the situation?? Not so much. One poor girl he threatened for an hour an a half, telling her she’d be effing dead and mobbed by up to 15 girls the next day if she didn’t do what he wanted her to. Little did she know, her actions were being recorded and he posted them on Facebook and then told her he’d only take it down if she had sex with him.
In all of this, I wonder… EXACTLY how is this avenging his friend??? Because I don’t see it. I see a sexual predator using the identity of the bully for his own personal sexual gratification. This kid needs help — intensive therapy for starters, and maybe he can turn his life around, but I’m more concerned about the girls. I hope their parents get them help to deal with the aftermath of what he has done to them.
I read through several of the comments on the Huffington Post article covering this incident, and was amazed, although I shouldn’t be, at how many people felt that the girls were to blame for not saying no. And how many put the incident on the level of “a boys raging hormones” as if that excused his actions. And yes, there were several comments buried among the others about the fact that they are young girls (13-16) and they were being threatened, and that raging hormones aside, there is no excuse for extorting the behavior or for posting the video. While I did not read through all of the comments, I found it interesting that only one comment questioned whether anything was being done about the known bully whose identity was used to extort these girls into exposing themselves.
A disturbing incident which highlights the need for parents to be increasingly vigilant about how their teens are interacting on the internet. And a year detention in a juvenile facility does not quite seem to fit the crime.