Idiotic charges dropped against bullied student in PA ‘wiretapping’ case

Idiotic charges dropped against bullied student in PA ‘wiretapping’ case

Common Pleas Judge Robert C. Gallo signed an order Thursday, earlier than expected, withdrawing a disorderly conduct charge against [student Christian] Stanfield for recording his classmates’ taunts on Feb. 11. Originally, prosecutors said they planned to withdraw the charge April 29.

District Judge Maureen McGraw-Desmet convicted Stanfield on March 19 and ordered him to pay a $25 fine, plus court costs. He’ll still have to apply to have the conviction expunged from his record, the Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office said.

Stanfield, who has been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactive disorder, comprehension delay disorder and an anxiety disorder, told McGraw-Desmet that he recorded his bullies to show his mother the extent of the abuse.

The case drew outrage from parents and former victims of bullying, with phone calls and email messages of support pouring in from as far as California, said Jonathan Steele, Stanfield’s attorney. …

According to a transcript of Stanfield’s hearing, high school Principal Scott Milburn called South Fayette police Lt. Robert Kurta on Feb. 12 to report what he characterized as a “wiretapping incident.” Milburn and other administrators listened to the seven-minute recording and forced Stanfield to delete it. Kurta said he did not hear the recording and relied on what Milburn told him.

Claudio Cerullo, president and founder of Teach Anti-Bullying Inc., a Philadelphia-based nonprofit, said he suspects the district was trying to protect itself by having Stanfield delete the recording. …

According to a transcript of the hearing, Love sent her son’s teacher at least four email messages complaining about other students’ behavior toward her son. It’s unclear whether they were disciplined.

Despite Kurta’s claim that he called the District Attorney’s Office to get advice about filing a charge against Stanfield, Mike Manko, a spokesman for DA Stephen A. Zappala Jr., said no one in his office who is authorized to give advice on wiretap issues or school conduct issues was contacted.

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