Teen in bullying death case: Didn't do 'anything wrong'

One of two teens who had faced bullying charges related to the suicide of a classmate said Thursday she did not do anything wrong.

Katelyn Roman, 13, appeared on NBC's Today show one day after authorities in Polk County, Fla., said aggravated stalking charges had been dropped against both teens in the death of Rebecca Sedwick, who was 12 when she leaped to her death from a tower at an abandoned concrete plant Sept. 9.

"I do not feel I did anything wrong," Katelyn said on Today, adding that from the tragedy she "learned that it's not OK to bully and you should stand up ... to bullying."

Investigators and Sedwick's family said bullying that started at school and continued online pushed Rebecca over the edge. Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said the the two accused teens agreed in juvenile court to undergo counseling as a condition of the charges being dropped.

"Our goal is that these kids never bully anyone again, never torment anyone again," Judd said.

"I'm very relieved'' that the case is closed, Katelyn's mother, Roseanne Gill, told Today. "It's been a horrible experience for me and my daughter and my whole family. This can happen to any child in America. We have to make sure we watch our children's Facebooks."

Judd, in announcing the charges last month, said the bullying began a year earlier when a 14-year-old — the other girl originally charged with Katelyn — started dating Rebecca's ex-boyfriend. The older girl threatened to fight Rebecca at a middle school in Lakeland, Fla., and told her "to drink bleach and die," the sheriff has said.

She also persuaded Katelyn to bully Rebecca, even though they had been best friends, the sheriff has said.

Jose Baez, the high-profile lawyer who successfully defended Casey Anthony when she was charged with killing her toddler, called Judd's accusations against Katelyn "reprehensible" and did not rule out litigation.

Katelyn's father, Emilio Roman, said he knew Rebecca well and felt "horrible" about her death. But he accused Judd of exaggerating his daughter's involvement in Rebecca's death.

"They had a confrontation at school, they had a fight, and then it was over with," Roman said. "And then, to actually turn around and say she bullied her... and throw her picture up there ... was just crazy."

Contributing: WTSP-TV, Associated Press


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