Samantha Kelly, 14, Cyberbullied Even After Suicide

Samantha Kelly Personal Photo

Samantha Kelly
Samantha Kelly (Personal Photo)

(CBS/AP) Even in death, 14-year-old Samantha Kelly can't escape from bullies.

The young Michigan girl took her own life Monday, collapsing under a wave of taunts and intimidation, says her mother, after the girl accused an 18-year-old high school senior of statutory rape.

On Thursday, CBS News found that it hasn't ended.

A Facebook page devoted to her remembrance has been defaced by gruesome pictures of the girl's head in a noose and one image which reads "It's not rape, if they're dead."

Her shocking death is part of a wave of teen suicides this year in which bullying may have played a part, but according to Dr. Jennifer Hartstein, a New York child and adolescent psychologist, bullying is typically not the full story.

"She was in a living hell," Hartstein said of Kelly. "But bullying alone is not enough to make a person commit suicide. There are generally underlying factors."

In Kelly's case, we don't yet know what those other factors might have been.

Certainly it wasn't easy for her to tell police she felt she was raped. The young man she accused, Joseph Tarnopolski, said the sex was consensual. But after the event, Kelly told Detroit TV station WJBK a different story.

"I told him, 'You're hurting me. Stop. You're hurting me,' and 'I want to leave,'" said Kelly. "If you wanted to have sex, usually the person would let you leave, and on top of that, there was a point where I squirmed and he pulled me back down by my legs, and I cried and he wiped my tears and told me everything would be okay."

But it wasn't.

"People wanted to beat her up - people who were friends of Joe," said Ayla Raines, another student at Huron High School, in Huron Township, Mich.

Kelly then tried to take her own life but failed, according to WJBK. She spent four days in a psychiatric hospital.

On Monday, she succeeded.

"All of (those) peers really need to think now more than ever. Was it worth it?" Kelly's mother June Justice told WJBK. "I won't be able to take my daughter to the prom. I won't be able to walk her down the aisle. I can't see my first grandbaby born from my daughter."

Prosecutors have since dropped the rape case against Tarnopolski. They say they have lost their only witness.


  • Neil Katz

Comments

CBSN Live

pop-out
Live Video

Watch CBSN Live

Watch CBS News anytime, anywhere with the new 24/7 digital news network. Stream CBSN live or on demand for FREE on your TV, computer, tablet, or smartphone.