State drops charges in cyberbullying suicide case - FOX 13 News

State drops charges in cyberbullying suicide case

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Rebecca Sedwick (file image) Rebecca Sedwick (file image)
Jose Baez Jose Baez
LAKELAND (FOX 13) -

Just weeks after a pair of cyberbullying arrests that made national headlines, charges have been dropped against both of the young suspects linked by deputies to a Polk County girl's suicide.

A 12-year-old and 14-year-old girl were each charged in the wake of Rebecca Sedwick's suicide. The younger girl's attorney, Jose Baez, praised the state attorney's office Wednesday afternoon for "having the courage to doing the right thing."

"I did not believe there was any evidence of criminal behavior whatsoever, despite other officials saying otherwise," Baez said. "We're extremely disappointed with some of the actions that have been carried out by the Polk County sheriff, Grady Judd."

Rebecca, 12, jumped to her death in September after what investigators said was months of relentless bullying.

After Sheriff Judd promised an investigation, the girls were charged in October with aggravated stalking. The 14-year-old was accused of leading the bullying, which supposedly started over a boyfriend.

FOX 13 is not naming either of the girls because of their ages.

"Our goal was to create an intervention. Our goal was to bring this conduct to the proper authorities in the proper manner to make sure it was dealt with. And it was dealt with," Judd said.

A war of words erupted between Judd and high-profile attorney Jose Baez.

Baez says the girls' reputations are ruined, and he holds Judd responsible.

"He should get a lawyer, and a darn good one, because he's going to need it," Baez said.

Judd says both girls are now getting the help and counseling they need, and everything turned out as it should.

"At the end of the day, you can be sure of one thing: if bullying rises to the level of cyberstalking, if there's a probable cause case, you write this down, get it on tape, we'll make future arrests. And that's a guarantee," Judd said.

Rebecca Sedwick's mom plans to speak out by the end of the week with her attorneys about the state's decision to drop the charges.

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