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Harper Condemns The Cyber Bullying That Allegedly Led To The Suicide Death Of A Teen

posted 12 Apr 2013, 15:54 by Mpelembe   [ updated 12 Apr 2013, 15:55 ]

Canadian Prime Minister says the events that allegedly led to the suicide death of a teen constitute "youth criminal activity" rather than just bullying.

HALIFAXNOVA SCOTIACANADA (APRIL 11, 2012) (CBC) -  A solemn crowd gathered in HalifaxNova Scotia, on Thursday (April 12) to remember the life of 17-year-old Rehtaeh Parsons, a local high school student who was taken off life support on Sunday (April 7), three days after she tried to hang herself. The teen was bullied for more than a year after an alleged sexual assault which happened when she was 15, her family said.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper said he was "sickened" by the alleged events that led to Parsons' death.

Her mother, Leah Parsons, alleges Rehtaeh was raped by four boys who took photos of the incident, and posted them on the Internet. Parson says the photographs sparked bullying and harassment. No charges have been filed.

Harper said what Rehtaeh claimed happened to her goes beyond bullying.

"I think we've got to stop using just the term bullying to describe some of these things," said Harper. "Bullying to me has a connotation of, kind of, kids misbehaving. What we are dealing with in some of these circumstances is simply criminal activity. It is youth criminal activity."

Angela Parsons, Rehtaeh's cousin said her relative was "a phenomenal young woman" and told the mourners "bullying needs to stop."

Initially, the Internet activist group Anonymous said it would avenge the death of Rehtaeh, despite a plea from police urging people not to take justice into their own hands. The group said it has identified four boys connected to the case. Now,Anonymous has reversed its decision and said it would withhold the names at the request of Parson's family, according to CBC.

According to the CBC, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police confirmed they investigated the allegations and determined there was not enough evidence to proceed.

The family of Rehtaeh is urging Canadian officials to reconsider filing criminal charges. Authorities have confirmed that a photograph allegedly showing Parsons having sex with one of the boys was circulated to friends' mobile phonesand computers. As a result, her family said she developed suicidal thoughts.

Parsons' parents have set up a public Facebook page that has more than 30,000 likes and thousands of messages of condolences from people around the world.