Bully liable under stalking law
LINCOLN, Neb. – A teenager who called a schoolmate “fat penguin” and other derogatory names in front of other students for months committed misdemeanor stalking, the state Supreme Court ruled Friday.The ruling overturned an appeals court finding that the 16-year-old’s actions were intended only for his “own juvenile amusement.”According to court documents, the teen identified only as Jeffrey K. yelled at the girl close to 200 times over two months in 2004 at Omaha Westside High School. He shoved a chair directly into her path, causing her to stumble, repeatedly called her a “whore” and threw food at her, yelling “eat some more, fat ass.”The state’s stalking statute targets conduct that “seriously terrifies, threatens, or intimidates.”A juvenile court decided against the boy last year, but the state Court of Appeals noted that the girl had said his tone of voice was “mean but not really – like, a threatening voice.”The high court found that the boy committed stalking because a reasonable person would have felt intimidated by his actions, whether or not the girl was.The count carries a maximum penalty of a year behind bars, but jail time is not mandatory. Because Jeffrey was tried as a juvenile, he would have to be released in July, when he turns 19.—On the Net:http://www.supremecourt.ne.gov
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