NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — An alarming trend has New York state lawmakers introducing a bill Monday that would stiffen penalties for online bullying.
State Sen. Jeffrey Klein (D-Bronx/ Westchester) is proposing statewide legislation to expand second-degree manslaughter to include “bullycide” — online bullying which leads to death. The crime would be considered a felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison.
1010 WINS’ Al Jones With Sen. Jeffrey Klein
The proposed legislation comes after the death of 14-year-old Jamey Rodemeyer, of Williamsville, a week ago Sunday. Police said Rodemeyer was driven to commit suicide after high school bullies teased him about his sexuality.
“My son will never be given a second chance, no matter how much I have prayed I cannot turn back the clock,” his mother said.
Two weeks before his death, Rodemeyer wrote on his blog, “I always says how bullied I am. What do I have to do so people will listen to me?”
In the wake of Rodemeyer’s death, Lady Gaga posted on Twitter, “The past days I’ve spent reflecting, crying and yelling. I have so much anger.”
The singer made good on her promise to take Rodemeyer’s story to the president.
During an exclusive fundraiser Sunday in California, Lady Gaga asked President Barack Obama and wealthy donors to do what they could to prevent bullying.
Obama thanked the singer, mentioned the anti-bullying conference he held in March and spoke of the importance of Americans respecting one another.
Klein is citing Rodemeyer’s death and that of Rutgers freshman 18-year-old Tyler Clementi in calling for stricter penalties.
Clementi jumped off the George Washington Bridge after discovering he was videotaped during a sexual encounter with another man that was broadcast online. Last Thursday marked the one year anniversary of his death.
WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond On The Story
The incident prompted New Jersey to enact strong anti-bullying laws and highlighted the issue of cyberbullying amongst others.
Klein said Diane Savino (D-SI), David Carlucci (D-Rockland County) and David Valesky (D-Madison County) support the bill.
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