Cyberbullying news from the Ascentive team
The attorney for Jason Medley, the father who filed a defamation law suit in Harris County Court after three young cyber-bullies allegedly released an offensive video about his daughter on Facebook in May, says the civil action has been dropped.
“The parties have resolved the case without the need for further involvement of the Court. As this is a matter involving minors, we are pleased that the situation has been dealt with in a reasonable manner, despite having to file the lawsuit. However, all people (including minors) are permitted, and encouraged, to enforce their rights through the court system in a civilized manner,” attorney Robert J. Naudin wrote in an email addressing members of the media Monday morning, Aug. 3. “This is what occurred, and a positive outcome has resulted. The matter has been resolved after receiving apologizes from the girls involved and having small donations made to a non-profit group which educates the public on responsible internet use.”
Medley filed the suit in June after receiving no response to two letters he had sent to the minor girls and their parents, addressing the matter. “This letter is in response to the video posted by the three of you on Facebook on May 18, 2011. In the video, you make several derogatory, inflammatory and sexually explicit statements and gestures regarding my daughter,” Medley wrote in his first notice to the families, dated May 20.
The video clip of the three Riverwood Middle School girls spouting obscenities was quickly removed from Facebook, but not before Medley retained a copy. In court documents, Medley noted that the girls were wearing their RMS athletic gear and that the video was filmed in the kitchen of one of the girls’ homes, with a parent nearby who “occasionally peers over her shoulder” and whose voice is overheard in close proximity, off-camera.
Although Medley’s law suit made national headlines, he said in a prepared statement at the time that media attention was actually not his goal:
“Our intent is to raise our daughter to be a leader and to stand up for what is right. If one parent is spared the loss of a child because of the light shed upon this issue then, even though it has been distressing for our family, it has not been in vain,” Medley said in June. Children are no different today, but the technology has certainly changed. And the impact of hateful words has unfortunately been magnified. My single goal was to stop the bullying in this particular incident. But, perhaps this may also help to shed light on an important and emerging issue and help to lessen this problem for the sake of other children. We are all keenly aware that cyber-bullying has led to suicides among children.”
In a response to the law suit filed by the three defendants in court July 18, the three girls and their legal representatives denied the allegations of defamation and asked for dismissal of the case.