Acting Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn A. Murray announced today the arrest of a 14-year-old Jersey City juvenile on terroristic threats and harassment charges for cyber bullying two 12-year-old Belleville boys.
The juvenile, who used Facebook and the telephone to harass and threaten the victims, was charged with four counts of making terroristic threats and two counts of harassment.
The defendant used fake screen names on Facebook to threaten one victim. When that name was blocked by the victim he used a second and finally a third screen name to send threatening messages.
In those messages he called the victims “gay,’’ “fat” “a punk’’ and threatened to harm them and even kill them. In one message he threatened to tie the victim to a pole, get his car, attach a rope and a hook to the victim’s stomach and watch as he tore off his body. The threatening messages were apparently sent because the defendant believed the other boys were interested in his girlfriend.
The Belleville Police Department, assisted by the Jersey City Police and the Essex County Prosecutor’s Cyber Crimes Unit, executed a search warrant at the juvenile’s Jersey City home this morning. The 14-year-old was taken into custody, processed and released to his parents.
“Cyber bullying is a serious and growing problem. Increasingly, young people are using new technology to commit crimes. The perceived anonymity of cyberspace seems to embolden offenders,’’ said Deputy Chief Assistant Prosecutor Walter J. Dirkin.
Due to the location of the defendant’s residence, the charges will be forwarded to Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office for prosecution.
Acting Prosecutor Murray commended Belleville Detective Sgt. Daniel Ward, Detective Richard Giordano and Detective Steven Linfante for their outstanding work on this case. She also lauded the Jersey City Police Department and the ECPO’s Cyber Crimes Unit.
These are mere accusations. All defendants are presumed innocent unless and until they are found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.