MORRISTOWN, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – Two high school students and a 19-year-old man were arrested Wednesday in connection with the case of a Morris County teen who committed suicide after allegedly being bullied.
Michael Conway, 19, and two juveniles are accused in a pattern of harassment against the teen. They have been charged with assaulting and robbing Baldwin before his suicide.
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However, none of the three has been charged with his death and no one is charged under New Jersey’s new bullying law, which is among the toughest in the nation, requiring schools to designate a specialist to investigate bullying complaints.
The Morris County Prosecutor Robert Bianchi said the teen was a victim of bullying, but wouldn’t say whether the alleged bullying was what pushed Baldwin over the edge. Also unknown is whether there is a link between the incidents and Baldwin’s suicide.
“We obviously believe that he was in an intimidated environment, that he was preyed upon, that he was made to feel uncomfortable,” Bianchi told reporters, including CBS 2’s Christine Sloan.
Conway’s grandmother said it wasn’t possible for her grandson to be involved in the intimidation of anyone.
“He’s never done nothing like this. He’s always been quiet, easy, nice to people, polite,” Arinthia Corbin told CBS 2’s Sean Hennessey.
Conway’s uncle also said he doesn’t think his nephew may have played any role in Baldwin’s suicide.
“If I thought he had anything to do with it, I’d say it was shame. But I just don’t believe it,” Gene Justice said.
Investigators said one of the students jumped Baldwin at school on March 6 and was suspended after the attack was captured on surveillance videotape.
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“The investigation reveals the defendant made numerous attempts to contact Mr. Baldwin for the purpose of instructing him to go to school administration and advise him that the assault incident that occurred earlier on March 6 was in fact a joke,” Bianchi said.
Investigators said Baldwin did exactly that, but days later was attacked by Conway and the same students at a Century 21 parking lot.
All of the students were arrested and charged, but Baldwin killed himself as the juveniles were set to be released from a detention center and placed under house arrest, CBS 2’s Sloan reported.
“I think it’s horrible…I think the people deserve whatever they get,” student Krystal Rios said of the defendants.
“He was just a nice kid, outgoing, [he liked to] skateboard, have fun,” student Conor Byrne added.
Officials said more students may have been involved in the harassing of Baldwin, including incidents online, but added that they could not all be prosecuted.
The juveniles are under house arrest and Conway is in jail, officials said.
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