Teens charged in alleged bullying of student who later committed suicide
(CNN) — Three New Jersey teenagers were charged Wednesday with assault and robbery in what authorities described as the bullying of a 15-year-old high school freshman who committed suicide after he was attacked in March.
Ironically, New Jersey’s aggressive anti-bullying law was signed by Gov. Chis Christie on March 26, just two days before Morristown High School freshman Lennon Baldwin took his own life at his home.
Prosecutors cited the new law Wednesday in announcing charges stemming from an assault on Baldwin on March 6 and the robbery of Baldwin three days later.
“It is the toughest law on bullying in the nation,” Morris County, New Jersey, Prosecutor Robert Bianchi stated. “This case again underscores our need as a society to eradicate the bullying of our youth, as regrettable consequences such as this case, are far too numerous to be anywhere near acceptable.”
Morris County prosecutors charged two juveniles and an adult, 19-year-old Michael Conway, with assault, robbery, theft and making terroristic threats against Baldwin.
According to a news release from the Morris County prosecutor’s office, Baldwin was assaulted at his high school, and the incident was caught on surveillance video. When school officials suspended his alleged assailant, the teenager “made numerous attempts to contact Mr. Baldwin for the purpose of instructing him to go to the school administration and tell them that the incident (assault) was.. a joke,” prosecutors said.
Baldwin did just that, according to the news release, but a suspension against the alleged assailant remained in effect. Prosecutors said Baldwin was accosted three days later in a parking lot by the first student and two more individuals who robbed and threatened him.
Nearly three weeks later, Baldwin “tragically took his own life,” prosecutors said in their release.
In addition to other charges, Conway also has been charged with lying to police. He is free on $1,500 bail.
The two juveniles have been released from detention facilities and remain under house arrest.
It could not immediately be determined whether the defendants have retained attorneys, or when the case will go to court.