“We have decided that Andrew Cain is no longer the Wanted Person of the Week… he is the Wanted Person of the Month of June. Congratulations!”
While we may expect cyber bullying from classmates, especially older teens, it’s something we should never EVER have to tolerate when the bullying is done by a police department.
Sergeant Doug Andersen sent the screen shot included in this article as a private conversation to Andrew, along with a message that if Andrew turned himself in, Andersen would give him a copy of the wanted poster.
Wayne Rausch, Sheriff of Latoh County, said Cain initiated the exchange by telling the deputy he liked his new wanted poster. Rausch said that was when Andersen offered him a copy if he’d turn himself in.
Raunch calls the suicide tragic if Andrew chose to end his life as a result of the initial post on Facebook. The post eventually snowballed into a lot of malicious gossip accusing Andrew of things had never done.
His sister Alise Smith received a text message, along with a screenshot of the private Facebook conversation a few days before her brother killed himself. It included the screen shot and private conversation Sergeant Doug Anderson had posted. Andrew told his sister he felt like putting a bullet in his head.
According to Whitman County Coroner Pete Martin, Cain shot himself last Sunday.
In an interview with KLEW, Latah County Sheriff Wayne Rausch stated wanted posters were a big help in locating people with outstanding warrants, but in this case, the post was inappropriate.
“It has never been my policy to include editorializing in media releases pertaining to the location and apprehension of persons wanted by the court.”
Alise believes the rumors, which began when the Sheriff’s Office first posted the wanted poster on Facebook, are what led her brother to suicide. Although Alise understands the purpose of posting the wanted poster on social media, she believes the Latoh County Sheriff’s Office abused their power when they “congratulated” Andrew for being wanted person of the month.
According to the dictionary, and the National Crime Prevention Council, cyber bulling is defined as
“when the Internet, cell phones or other devices are used to send or post text or images intended to hurt or embarrass another person.” StopCyberbullying.org, an expert organization dedicated to Internet safety, security and privacy, defines cyber-bullying as: “a situation when a child, tween or teen is repeatedly ‘tormented, threatened, harassed, humiliated, embarrassed or otherwise targeted’ by another child or teenager using text messaging, email, instant messaging or any other type of digital technology.”
Federal Law makes it a crime to hurt someone if the threat is sent by “interstate commerce.” This includes the U.S. Postal Service, email, or otherwise over the internet. It’s punishable by fines, jail or both, depending on severity.
There’s even a website to report internet crime, which cyberbullying on the internet is classified under.
What do the readers think should happen in this case? In your opinion, how big a role did the Latoh County Sheriff’s Office play in Andrew’s death?
Apparently, the police department doesn’t realize the U.S. has set up a website to report cyberbullying, where it’s being investigated and people charged as they should be.
Should some type of charge, or restitution be made to the family since pressure caused by cyber bullying was an extenuating circumstance leading to the death of this teen? Your comments are welcome.