When the train arrived, Felicia Garcia, 15, said, "Finally, it's here" before she fell backwards off of the platform at the Staten Island Railway station in Huguenot. The taunts, bullying, and constant harassment over the previous weekend's mistake had become too much.
To understand why Felicia ended her life, one must go beyond the previous weekend. Both Felicia and her brother were orphaned at a young age. She ran away from her aunt's house with an older man before bouncing around the foster system. She finally found a stable foster home and her life stabilized when she enrolled at Tottenville High School, reports the New York Times.
Then last weekend happened. After her high school's football team defeated their rivals, Felicia attended a party celebrating the victory. At the party, she reportedly had sex with four football players. She later confided to a friend that the encounter was consensual.
When word of the group sex hit the high school rumor mill on Monday, she was taunted relentlessly. There were rumors that the sex was recorded and distributed online. A mediation session between two seventeen-year-old bullies and Felicia failed, with one of the boys not even bothering to show up, reports the New York Post.
On the day of her suicide, Felicia posted "I cant, im done, I give up" to her twitter page. She also posted this photo:
It's not possible to punish everyone who taunted her. It might not even be possible to punish the four football players who had sex with her and then boasted about it to classmates. Reports indicate that all parties involved were minors.
It is possible, however, to punish those who recorded the rumored video, if it in fact exists.
One possibility is unlawful surveillance in the second degree, which punishes the recording of a person's intimate or sexual parts or of a person undressing without that person's consent. It is punishable by up to four years in prison. Dissemination of such a recording is also punishable by up to four years.
There are also New York child pornography offenses that could be applicable. Possession of the tape is a felony, punishable by up to four years, as Felicia was under 16 years of age. Other charges for the person who filmed the performance could result in an additional five and a half years. Should state charges prove insufficient, there are also federal child pornography offenses that could have been triggered by uploading the video and sharing it on the internet.
The Special Victims Unit is investigating whether the tape existed and whether any other charges might be applicable.
- Consult a New York Criminal Defense Attorney (FindLaw)
- Child Pornography (FindLaw's Learn About the Law)
- 30 Days in Jail and 3 Years Probation for Dharun Ravi (FindLaw's New York Criminal Law Blog)
- 8th Grader Loses an Eye to Bullies; Family Sues School (FindLaw's New York Personal Injury Law Blog)