Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Brody's Notes... Police Chief: No Charges In Death Of Gay 13-Year-Old

Jacobsen Middle School Tehachapi, California
By Mark Singer (Washington DC) SEPT 29 | Jeff Kermode, Chief of Police for the rural Kern County, California, town of Tehachapi, told local media that: 
“The information so far is that some behavior was clearly inappropriate from the standpoint of taunting and teasing. We have not discovered any behavior that would rise to the level of a criminal act."
Chief Kermode's remarks were following the suicide death of 13 year old Seth Walsh, an 8th grader at Jacobsen Middle School in Tehachapi, found hanging last week by family members and who has died after several days in hospital. Published accounts alleged that numerous fellow students had taunted Walsh over his perceived sexual orientation. Friends and neighbors of the Tehachapi 13-year-old said the boy was openly gay and was taunted by bullies for years, at school and at a local park. 
In an interview with Tina Forde, a reporter for The Tehachapi News, a local paper, Kermode stated:
“We believe we have interviewed most of the people who are relevant to the investigation, we are interested in talking to anyone who might have useful information. Kermode also said that “most everyone interviewed has been cooperative” and that remorse is apparent. “Most everyone who may have had a negative contact with him was remorseful and sorry for the outcome. Teen suicides, regardless of the factors leading up to them, are serious problems in this country. We are encouraging parents to be aware of changes in their children's behavior. We'd be happy to provide parents with information on suicide awareness.” He said.
He said the police department staff has been affected by the situation and their thoughts go out to the family.   “Everybody's really upset about it,” said Tehachapi Police Sgt. Wyatt Empy. “We're getting a lot of cooperation.”
In a statement released by the Walsh family, they pleaded for privacy during this time and asked that: "A negative action by adults and children will not solve or help anyone, violence is not the answer. Please everyone, be kind and love one another!"
According to Forde's article, donations to help defray funeral expenses can be made at Bank of the Sierra locations in California or out of town donations may be sent to Jamie Phillips c/o Seth Walsh, PO Box 94, Tehachapi, CA, 93581. Checks should be made payable to Seth’s mother Wendy Walsh.  Seth leaves three siblings, ages 11, 17 and 18.