Young Man Pleads Guilty to Obstruction of Bullying Investigation

On Mar. 6, 2012, an unidentified teenager kicked a 15-year-old Morris Township boy in the groin in a corridor at the high school where they were students. On Mar. 9, the same boy, a freshman, was robbed on a parking deck in Morristown, and on another occasion, teenagers stole $60 from the boy. On Mar. 28, that same boy took his own life. Prosecutors point to the juvenile crimes targeting the boy as the driving force behind his suicide.

In July 2012, two 17-year-old males pleaded guilty to crimes against the victim, and recently, a third teenager, a 19-year-old male, pleaded guilty to charges of obstruction of justice. The youth was accused of lying to police regarding the bullying and other incidents that led to the victim’s suicide. He admitted to making false statements that he was not present when two separate bullying incidents occurred, and he also pleaded guilty to an unrelated disorderly persons harassment charge.

The defendant will be sentenced on the charges on Mar. 15. In exchange for his agreement to plead guilty, prosecutors suggested that he be sentenced to serve three years of probation. Notably, he was not accused of crimes against the victim but rather for lying to police during the investigation, according to his defense attorney. Had he complied with the investigation, he would likely be facing less serious consequences.

Criminal charges can follow a person for the rest of his or her life. A person who receives a criminal conviction as a youth may be haunted by it in later years. The criminal process can be confusing and daunting to all persons, but it can be very frightening for teenagers. In some cases, an experienced criminal defense attorney may help young defendants minimize the consequences of criminal charges by entering a plea bargain and guiding them through the case to ensure compliance with investigators while respecting their rights.

Source: Daily Record, “Teen admits lying to police in Morristown bullying case,” Peggy Wright, Feb. 11, 2013

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