One of the Florida girls who had been accused of bullying Rebecca Sedwick is speaking publicly after charges were dropped in the case, and she says she wants to help stop others from bullying.
Thirteen year old Katelyn Roman (whom I had not previously named in posts until now, after she has come forward to speak), spoke with CNN Friday, accompanied by her parents and attorney Jose Baez.
Additional video clips available here.
“Words do hurt, and you should use them carefully and try not to hurt people’s feelings,” the girl said. “You can bully and maybe not even know that you’re doing it…You just need to look at yourself and say, ‘wait, am I doing something wrong here?” She maintained that while there were some things she could have changed, she “didn’t really do anything wrong,” presumably referring to her dealings with Sedwick.
Roman also said she wants to start a campaign to help other kids stop bullying, even mentioning a desire to work with Omega Man, who champions anti-bullying at school assemblies.
Roman’s mother, clearly upset, talked about the hardships caused by having her daughter’s name and photo released in the midst of what became a very public national story, along with the family’s address and phone number. “Isn’t everyone innocent until proven guilty?” she asked.
Jose Baez, the attorney for the family, also spoke about the situation.
“I think in the face of trying, in an attempt to try and bring awareness and do the right thing, to a very serious situation, these two children – specifically this child – this child here did nothing wrong, did no criminal acts, and I think, I certainly believe that there’s possibly a place in the justice system for bullying, but this was not the case. She’s here to show her face, in a face of innocence, not on a mugshot, and that’s important to Katelyn,” Baez told CNN.
Baez also lashed out again about the actions of the Polk County Sheriff, Grady Judd. He said that his client has obtained counseling, “not only because of losing her best friend, but for what this sheriff has done to her.”
“You don’t make arrests first and get evidence later. Especially when you’re dealing with children,” Baez told CNN.
The three also spoke yesterday to the TODAY show.
In a press conference Wednesday, Baez asserted much of the same, and mentioned that he and his client’s family are mulling the possibility of a lawsuit.
Sheriff Judd responded in a press conference that same day, saying, “Our goal was to create an intervention; our goal was to bring this conduct to the proper authorities in the proper manner to make sure it was dealt with. And it was dealt with. If we’d not made an arrest, if we’d not brought this to the court system, would these children be receiving services today? And the answer is no. We were successful, we’re pleased with that.”
Judd has also been making the media rounds since the charges have been dropped in the case. Speaking to Laura Ingraham, sitting in for Bill O’Reilly on his FOX News show, Judd again defended his actions. He claimed that the goal was not to drag the girls through the courts, but to see them get counseling.
When it comes to the subject of publishing the young girls’ names and photos, the sheriff tried to rationalize by turning that back around at the media.
“The bottom line is, they were arrested for felonies. By Florida law, their name and their photograph is public record. The fact that you and the other media outlets choose to publish it is your decision, not my decision,” Judd said.
H/T NY Daily NewsDONATE
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