NORTHAMPTON, Mass. — Three Massachusetts teenagers pleaded not guilty through their lawyers Tuesday in the bullying of a 15-year-old girl who committed suicide after what prosecutors call months of threats and harassment.
The teens were not required to appear at the hearing in Hampshire Superior Court.
Sean Mulveyhill and Kayla Narey, both 17 and from South Hadley, and 18-year-old Austin Renaud, of Springfield, will remain free on personal recognizance on the condition that they stay away from the family of Phoebe Prince, the girl who died.
Mulveyhill and Renaud are charged with statutory rape. Mulveyhill and Narey are also charged with violation of civil rights resulting in bodily injury, criminal harassment and disturbance of a school assembly.
They are among nine teens charged in what prosecutors said was the "unrelenting" bullying of Prince, who hanged herself Jan. 14. Prince, who had emigrated from Ireland last summer, was a freshman at South Hadley High School.
Authorities said she was harassed and bullied after having a brief relationship with a popular boy. They have not identified the boy, but friends said it was Mulveyhill, who was a star football player at South Hadley High School.
Prosecutors said the bullying went on for three months, and included insults and threats made in school and through cell phone text messages. Phoebe killed herself Jan. 14 after a day of near-constant bullying, including being hit with a beverage container as she walked home from school.
Renaud's lawyer, Terrence Dunphy, would not comment on the relationship between Prince and Renaud or the statutory rape charge against him. He said lawyers have not received any information yet from prosecutors on what evidence they have.
"I can't get into the defense when I don't know what the evidence is," Dunphy said after the hearing.
A pretrial hearing for Mulveyhill, Narey and Renaud was scheduled for Sept. 15.
Three other teens — Ashley Longe, Flannery Mullins and Sharon Chanon Velazquez — are scheduled to be arraigned Thursday in Franklin-Hampshire Juvenile Court in Hadley.
Northwestern District Attorney Elizabeth Scheibel said school officials knew about the bullying, but none will face criminal charges.
"The actions of these students were primarily conducted on school grounds during school hours and while school was in session," the prosecutor said.
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