Weekly Feature

2011-11-30 / Front Page

Police determine Rodemeyer incidents not prosecutable

by KEATON T. DEPRIEST Associate Editor

Deputy Supervisor Guy Marlette stands in front of the new Amherst Veterans Memorial at Amherst State Park, off Mill Street near Sheridan Drive. A dedication ceremony for the

Following a nine-week investigation by the Amherst Police Special Victims Unit, Chief John Askey said last week that none of the circumstances and events surrounding the Sept. 18 suicide of Jamey Rodemeyer can be prosecuted.

Askey said on Nov. 22 that after reviewing and analyzing Jamey’s home computer and cellphone as well as consulting with Erie County District Attorney Frank A. Sedita III, it has been determined that there were no criminal acts against the former Williamsville North freshman.

“Though some of the incidents may be construed as harassment under the laws of the State of New York, they are not prosecutable due to either statute of limitations or to the lack of the proof necessary to successfully prosecute the incidents,” Askey said.

He said the investigation did reveal that Jamey was subject to offensive behavior while voluntarily engaged in online social networking forums.

“He spent a great deal of time over the last several years communicating with a very large number of individuals throughout the United States,” Askey said. “Most of the interactions were positive, but at times, Jamey was exposed to insensitive and inappropriate comments.”

He said that although the comments were at times deplorable, there was no incident that could be prosecuted within the limits of the law.

Askey said the SVU’s investigation revealed that two incidents occurred while Jamey was at Heim Middle School and five incidents happened at Williamsville North.

“The incidents at Heim Middle were known to school officials and were handled at that time,” he said. “The incidents at Williamsville North were not known to school officials or to Jamey’s parents prior to his death.”

He said the negative occurrences at Williamsville North involved three juvenile students.

“Their students have been held accountable for their actions, and they know it’s unacceptable,” Askey said. “The schools are not happy about it either. None of these acts, however, are prosecutable.”

Askey said that unfortunately the only person who would have contributed to creating a prosecutable case was Jamey.

“I’m not satisfied,” he said. “I would have liked to have seen something we could have done from a prosecution standpoint.” Gaining the proof necessary for a criminal investigation in this type of case, though, that is the tough part. And unfortunately Jamey isn’t here to tell us anything.”

Askey said that while the department is suspending the investigation, detectives are open to any new leads that may arise in assisting the case.

Scott Martzloff, superintendent of the Williamsville schools, said district officials will soon be concluding their investigation of the school-related incidents involving Jamey.

“We really appreciate all of the work that the Amherst police has done,” he said. “We intend to keep moving forward.”

Martzloff said the he is continuing to meet with Parent Teacher Student associations to make sure that beneficial dialogue between school officials, parents and students continues.

“In a district like ours, if a person feels things aren’t being addressed, he or she will let us know,” he said. “We’re trying to accentuate our positives and build trusting relationships.”

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