Thursday, October 02, 2014

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Amherst police investigating teen suicide

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Buffalo: Amherst police investigating teen suicide
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As the community continues to mourn the loss of a 14 year-old Williamsville boy who committed suicide after enduring years of bullying, Amherst police are looking into the circumstances surrounding his death. YNN's Ryan Burgess tells us if criminal charges could be filed against those who tormented him.


WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. -- Prior to his suicide death, 14 year-old Jamey Rodemeyer spoke about enduring years of bullying abuse while filming a YouTube video for an 'It Gets Better' campaign..

"I always got made fun of because I had virtually no guy friends and I only have friends that are girls," said Rodemeyer.

The Williamsville North High School student committed suicide earlier this week after years of bullying and torment for being perceived to be gay, according to his parents.

"It bothered me because people would call me faggot, fag and they'd taunt me in the hallways. I felt like I could never escape it," the 14 year-old said in his YouTube video.

Now, Amherst Police are looking into the circumstances prior to his suicide to determine if criminal charges should be filed against his tormentors.

"Right now there is no crime called bullying in the state of New York but there are crimes that do occur that would be considered, like harassment or aggravated harassment that he may have been the victim of," said Amherst Police Capt. Michael Camilleri.

Camilleri said anyone who witnessed Rodemeyer being bullying should call the Amherst Police Detective Bureau at 716-689-1393.

"If they witnessed an incident where he was potentially bullied or if they witnessed an online post or were aware of something first hand, those are the people that are going to have the information we need to find out what did, in fact, occur," said Camilleri.

Dr. Matt Bowker, a Medaille College expert on the causes and responses to bullying, said bullying is a group behavior. Adults at home or in school need to identify the aggressors and intervene before it's too late.

"There's going to be a whole complex set of forces and factors acting on the child that you should be able to identify. If the child feels neglected, feels abused, feels disparaged at home or work or school or extra curricular activities, that could be a sign they're vulnerable to succumbing to the temptation to be a bully," said Bowker.

In lieu of flowers, Jamey Rodemeyer's family is requesting that donations be made to organizations that help prevent bullying and suicide.

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