Life on Florida’s West Coast

When Online Bullying Gets Real

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If you have your ear to the pulse of the youth of today, you know that one of the issues they deal with on a daily basis that those of use who were in school in the 70s, 80s, or even most of the 90s did not have to deal with is cyber bullying.

It is a fact of daily life that kids today worry about what other people are saying about them online. Sometimes children become so distraught they resort to suicide, like in the case of Megan Meier. She was only 13 when a group of people, most likely spearheaded by Lori Drew, drove her to the brink via communication with a fake MySpace they had created.

A more recent incident not only involved online bullying, but real life violence, and viral video. And, it happened right here in Florida, shamefully.

On the evening of March 30 six girls lured 16-year-old Victoria Lindsay to a Lakeland, FL house owned by the grandmother of one of the girls. They intended to confront her about “trash talking” about them online. This is where a case of cyber bullying resulted in real life violence. The six girls did not stop with simply verbally confronting her. One girl slammed Lindsay’s head into a bedroom wall and knocked her unconscious. When Lindsay woke up, another girl continued to hit her.

Lindsay ended up with a concussion, permanent hearing loss in her left ear, and blurred vision in her left eye. She also suffers from nightmares now. Local comments reveal Lindsay may also be 5-weeks pregnant. That is unsubstantiated, but if it is true it makes the case all the more disturbing.

The pack of out-of-control teenage girls had something sinister in mind when they lured Lindsay into the house. Not only had they planned on assaulting her, they also made plans to film the incident and post it on MySpace and YouTube.

They were counting on the video going viral to further humiliate Lindsay.

16-year-old Cara Murphy held the camera and you can hear her saying in the background, “Ooh, yeah, baby. Ooh, yeah!”

In the 3-minute portion of the video released by the sheriff’s office, you can see Lindsay trying to get up to leave the house. The girls stop her, block the door, and continue to hit her in the head.

Eight teens were charged in all (Zachary Ashley, April Cooper, Brittini Hardcastle, Kayla Hassell, Britney Mayes, Cara Murphy, Mercedes Nichols, and Stephen Schumaker). The Polk County Sherriff’s office charged three of the six girls who took turns beating Lindsay with felony battery. The three other girls were charged with both felony battery and felony kidnapping. The two boys who acted as lookouts during the attack were charged with felony false imprisonment.


One of the boys is 18 and was booked into the Polk County Jail. The others are being held at the juvenile assessment center, but prosecutors may charge all of them as adults.

Most of the parents of these out-of-control kids are coming out and making comments that deny that their children were involved. One even had the nerve to say that what their daughter told them is very different from what is on the police report and that “the truth will come out.”

Pretty bold statement considering there is video footage of the attack – a video that shows that Lindsay did not fight back, that one of the boys acting as lookout stuck his head in from outside and told the girls to be quiet because neighbors could hear the fight, and all of the girls can be either seen or heard.

Both Lindsay’s family and Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd have called for legislation against “shock videos” or for social-networking sites to enact standards to prevent posting of such videos.

For the love of God, people, talk to your kids about bullying both online and in real life before something like this happens. I am astounded by the violence that teens are involved in these days. What happened in Polk County was like the village mob out for a witch hunt and it is deplorable.

And, let us all remember the age-old adage “sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” So Lindsay apparently wrote some hurtful things online, but that is absolutely nothing compared to the physical assault the other teens committed. They should be duly ashamed. Their own parents should be horrifed to see what kind of little monsters they have raised.

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Comment by lynn
2008-04-08 12:51:06

This video made me sick to my stomach. I am moving to Florida soon and Lakeland was one of the areas I considered because it seemed to be a nice place- boy, am I glad I chose somewhere else! My daughter is the same age as this poor girl and I would hate to know these would have been her classmates. When are today’s parents going to open their eyes? Children don’t raise themselves, are their parents too self-absorbed, don’t care, or oblivious to what their children are capable of doing? Too many parents go through life with blinders on when it comes to their kids, I love my children too, but I also know that they aren’t perfect and sometimes they might do things that I don’t approve of and are not acceptable in my house. How any of the parents’ of these other children can defend this behavior under any circumstances is mind blowing to me. If my children ever did this kind of thing, the police would have to wait until I gave my punishment and then the children would welcome jail. Wake up people, pay attention, these are YOUR children- you just don’t know it yet.

Comment by Angie
2008-04-08 15:07:23

I agree with you on so many levels. And yes, if my own daughter grows up to anything similar, she will have to endure me escorting her to jail myself.

Comment by mary schuller Subscribed to comments via email
2008-04-08 14:51:24

The parents of these kids may not have made the kids take down their myspace pages.
One of the girls, Britney Mayes is rodeo_chick_0413. She has a myspace page and her playlist starts with a song entitled Smell Yo Dick. Would your mother let you do that?
Couldn’t find what Victoria was saying about them.

Comment by Angie
2008-04-08 15:05:21

I am not sure if that page is hers or not. I thought Mulberry was close to Gainesville. Either way, I clicked on the link and had to reach quickly for my volume. My daughter was in the room and the song that auto-played was pathetic.

This is the kind of stuff kids are putting online. This is how they choose to represent themselves. I see it as a resume or sorts and it is a sad situation.

Comment by Angie
2008-04-09 15:51:22

And I take back what I said before — that is surely her site. Get a load of her family members — flipping the camera the bird, etc. Yikes.

Comment by Brittany Subscribed to comments via email
2009-02-09 14:26:18

Yes she will, I don’t even know if my mother know I have a myspace. Your be surprise what parents let kids do

Comment by mary schuller Subscribed to comments via email
2008-04-08 15:22:11

Correction. The myspace site belongs to oneof the other girls who has arrested, mercades nichols, not Britney.

Comment by Angie
2008-04-08 15:35:44

Classy little thing, isn’t she? *shudder*

Comment by Berti Subscribed to comments via email
2008-04-15 23:08:47

I too am sick to my stomach after watching the video that these girls and boys would do such a brutel thing. A part of me wants to stup to their level and beat each one them as they did her, but we know that wouldn’t solve anything. These parents should be ashamed of what their child did and not to mention remorseful. I too would punish my child and then the courts could have her or him. I couldn’t agree more that parents need to be involved in their kids lives not matter what their age. My daughter will be 24 yrs old and we are best friends.

My heart goes out to Lindsey’s and her family.

I do hope the court system sets an example of these teenager’s that this type of behavior will not be tolerated ever… What is the punishment in Fl for these charges? What has this world come to?

Comment by Jen Subscribed to comments via email
2008-04-17 20:04:10

Yes I have seen all their website and they have been online as of 4/8 and 4/11. I can’t understand how people could be so cruel.

Comment by Shakazulah Subscribed to comments via email
2008-04-23 15:52:21


Comment by candace Subscribed to comments via email
2008-05-03 04:38:44

I can’t believe what I am reading. A girl is still recovering from a CUCUSION, LOST VISION IN HER LEFT EYE AND HER HEARING, and you’re asking people to not make phone calls to the parents. These parents obviously raised animals. Maybe people should start looking at the parents. I have not been lucky or gifted with 3 teenage boys who would have STOPPED that beating; no I RAISED 3 teenage boys who would have STOPPED that beating. If a young person is that animalistic to beat someone unconscious, and then continue to beat her, there were signs that should have been addressed by a parent. By the way 2 of the teenagers have prior arrest for assault. YEA – it’s the parents fault and they should be held accountable. If people want to express their disgust with a phone call, maybe the parents should feel grateful they don’t have to endure what their offspring’s did to a helpless person, because they were pissed off.

Comment by Angie
2008-05-03 13:27:53

Who said anything about not making calls to parents?

I’ve said that the parents are indeed partially to blame.

Comment by CEILIA Subscribed to comments via email
2008-05-30 20:30:49

miss rodeo chick is nothing but white trash, her myspace says so loud and clear! too bad she is using up O2 on this planet!

Comment by Zorg1989 Subscribed to comments via email
2008-08-10 10:58:52

Im from England so its not really on the news here so can someone tell me the latest news from the courts.

Im not willing to type it into google because I just dont wanna watch any more vids like this, there are hundreds of them, gleefully viewed by even more thousands at the hundreds of websites dedicated to broadcasting these vile acts.

Those webmasters making money off suffering, hope they die miserably.

Comment by liza Subscribed to comments via email
2008-09-27 22:59:26

i feel so sorry i could barely see the video on youtube it just beaks my heart that 8 teenagers would do that to a poor and innocent girl. ya she must have said some trash to them on myspce but hello this is life deal with it everybody has at least had someone say trash to them at least once! and i dont see other girls/boys going and beating up people! i just think that it is unrespecful!!!!! and may god bless the teens so that they can change and for once listen to god!!!

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