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Update

The police officer just left. We are pressing charges, and the case has been handed over to detectives who will contact me to do a little more investigating. The kid will be arrested. The cop told me I had two options; talk the kid's parents or file a report. He could not give me advice on what to do. But when I made the choice to have the kid arrested, the cop was relieved and told us we were making the right choice. The more I look at the message he sent her, the more alarming it seems. Nat also showed me a comment he left on her LiveJournal that said "I hope you die in your sleep." Nice kid, huh? So now we just wait for the detectives to call. I feel good about the choice we made because if it's not Nat that gets hurt by this kid, it will be someone else. The cop said the kids seems like the type that is on the road to being a wife beater. Lots of background stuff here that I haven't gotten into, so I'll just leave it at that. Side note: this is what's great about blogging things like this. I got emails from cops, lawyers and security experts giving me advice on how to deal with this. Thanks to you all for helping me do the right thing. I hope that after the arrest, the parents realize their kid is in dire need of help. And Natalie will not be going anywhere near that town anymore, which means no more trips to the skate park to see her friends skate. But that's a small price to pay for her safety. Off topic side note: Thanks to everyone who let me know Mark Steyn quoted me today. I hadn't gotten around to reading his column yet so I didn't know. That's a huge bright spot in an aggravating day (one which saw me break out in hives, thanks to the agitation). Now, if only.... Well, so much for the lengthy post I had in mind to write today about various things. Maybe later. Now, go vote for the limerick conest. Instructions in here. And, once again, thanks everyone.

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» Stupid Kid Tricks from The Indepundit
A KID AT SCHOOL makes a death threat against Michele Catalano's daughter, Natalie. Someone just threatened my daughter's life. It was in an instant message - this is someone local she knows and sees, not an anonymous person on the... [Read More]

Comments

I think you did the right thing for both Nat and this boy. Hope it works out for everyone.

Good move Michele. I'm sure things will settle down now. My elderly parents were in a similar situation - scary High school age boy on their street (on/off meds) harassing them. At my insistence the police were called and not a word since from youth. My parents did try and speak to the kid's parents but they denyed their son had issues. Halloween passed without incident too!

Hope he takes his own advice and dies in his own sleep. What a punk ass he is.

Way to be a great parent. Like I've said before, you rock! I know you're not looking for accolades here at all, except when good parents do the right things to support their kids, somebody has to let them know. We all get the bad vibe constantly.

Too bad the kid getting arrested doesn't have you for a parent.

Ah, he's the type who gets frustrated when women/people act like independant human beings instead of doing what he wants them to, I'm guessing?

Good on you, babes. Hugs for you and Nat.

Good job!!

Threatening someone's life is a crime (at least in my state) and people that commit crimes need to be held accountable. You did your part to make your community a safer and better place . . . .kudos. Plus, you sent a powerful message to your daughter. She knows you "have her back" so to speak.

It might have been easier to ignore it, pretend it wasn't a real threat, and hope for the best.

But you did the right thing. Which of course is not always the easiest thing . . .

"The kid will be arrested."

Good on you! Now, let's see this kid persecuted—uh, do I mean "prosecuted"? No. Persecuted is better. The more the better, IMO—to the fullest extent of the law. Stomping (metaphorically, of course) on behavior like this with both feet and lighting off the old (metaphorical, again) flamethrower is the way to assure that the message gets through that this kid is ON NOTICE.

JEEZUS PLEEZUS!! That kid harms one hair on Natalie's head and you'll have to pry me off him before you can have your turn skinning him alive!!

FUCK!!!

Sorry, I just got here and am still trying to digest this, but FUCKING FUCK!!!

I'd also like to pass along my Kudos to Michele as well. You're absolutely right that even if he doesn't follow through on this threat to your daughter, it'll be some other kid he'll threaten and another parent who will have to deal with him somewhere down the line.

You did exactly the right thing, Michelle. Be sure to follow through with the case, if you can.

Now, when are you going to post the pictures of you running naked and screaming obscenities on election night? Enquiring minds want to know.

David F: What if this kid's next step (bearing in mind Michele has not gone into full details or background history here) is to make good on this threats? Do you know for sure he wouldn't? What then?

I applaud her for not taking that chance, as do most people. I wouldn't be either.

Sorry I meant that to David with no F. My apologies.

Good for you. Security mom indeed.

You do good work, Michele.

The joys of parenthood are endless, aren't they? Just goes to show that you can do a good job, your child can do a good job, but if someone else messes up (the kid's parents might be good parents, they might completely suck as parents, but a child of fourteen is responsible for his own death threats) you get to go through hell. It's like driving: obey the rules, drive defensively, and you still are at the mercy of others.

Good luck.

I, too, was speaking metaphorically of course.

I'm glad you made the choice to have him arrested. It was the right thing to do, especially if he has threatened your daughter repeatedly. Just be aware that this might not be over yet, which I'm sure the cops have told you. You'll need to be on your guard (and Nat especially needs to) for retaliation (however pathetic) from his friends and family who may think you're persecuting him and overreacting.
I was attacked and threatened by a former friend, and after I had him arrested, his friends went on an intimidation campaign, including phone calls, blowing up my mailbox, and parking down the street from my house (just outside the restraining order distance). So please, be aware and be careful until this creep is dealt with. Your family has my support and best wishes.

does this mean you didn't put the freezer bag of doodoo in the mail?

What's sad is that I doubt this will effect the kids' parents one bit. They'll probably just think to themselves "It was just an IM, it's not like he was actually going to do it".

If they've let it go this far without intervening...

I spoke at the sentencing for the kid who rammed a 9mm against my son's head and told him he was about to die. The Public Defender and the DA had agreed on probation. I said I had seen various lives be turned around, but I had never seen one change who had been denied consequences.

The judge, a somewhat formidable figure, said to the attorneys, "Probation? He's been on probation. Obviously it didn't work. I'm not accepting your deal." He said to the kid, "I won't have this in our community. Two years."

It's not mercy to insulate people from reality. Good for you.

What a nightmare for a parent! I want to advise you to stay calm but I'm sure I could not.

You don't need to say, "my daughter did nothing that would deserve this kind of response from him." Nothing deserves this kid of response and we don't want to encourage "blame the victim" thinking. By all means use your legal recourse to see that your daughter is protected and this kid gets a forceful change in direction. Such a shame that your daughter should need to limit her activities out of fear.

At the risk of sounding like a liberal softie, I'm also moved to say a prayer for the healing of this obviously troubled child and the pain that his parents are experiencing.

Gah. I'm glad you called the police. Sometimes I dred my boy growing up after reading your stories. :(

Hey, your west coast cheering section here..

GOOD FOR YOU!!!

Hugs for you and Nat.

Hope the 'kid' is old enough to be charged as an adult... otherwise he's apt to get a slap on the wrist cause his partents friends etc will all line up and say what a 'good boy' that he is.

Well done. Be on the lookout for retaliation, though if your ex knows his parents that's somewhat less likely.

Be sure to request a restraining order from the detectives.

Wow, Michele. What to even say. Glad to hear the police are on the case.

What Mark said. Get a RO that keeps hima way from Nat and your family and her school and prohibits any kind of contact, including phone, internet, and IM. Make sure his parents understand the implications of it, including what will happen to him if he gets caught telling his friends to harass Nat. Make sure the judge knows the whole story.

Definitely the right choice.

Hey... I hope your karmic computer killing demons have some buddies with bigger pull.

Good momming, Michele.

I'm lousy at self-defense, but threaten my wife or kids... I will devote my life to ruining you and going after everything you ever loved.

Quite late to the party on this one, but definately right move on your part! Give Nat a great big hug from me, I can't imagine having to deal with that kind of crap at her age.

Thanks for doing the right thing. Never be afraid to have someone arrested (or to be arrested yourself). Being arrested does not mean you are guilty. But if you are guilty - as this kid clearly is - you won't be held accountable unless arrested. This is the first step - both for your daughter's safety and perhaps his rehabilitation. Safety in the face of violence is the most important issue of our day.

Don't for a minute believe that this is last step to ensuring your family's safety. Your daughter is too young to carry a concealled weapon - 21 in most States - but is not too young to learn to defend herself in other ways. A threat like this is all too serious. A "kid with an issue" is exactly the type of person who is most dangerous. Look around. Check out "Refuse to Be a Victim."

Parents (mostly) don't punish or control or in general raise their kids today. Doubt that, go to any restaurant - stay long enough you will see kids out of control while the parents do nothing.

This kid has obviously been out-of-control for way too long. Likely , talking with his parents would do nothing. The lesson of Columbine should be that we all take these things seriously. Time - and more than time - that he learns there are rules of conduct and consequences if they are violated.

Be strong for you daughter, and encourage her to be strong too.

You definitely did the right thing. I hope this all ends quietly for you and your family. Let's hope this is a wakeup call for him and his parents before it becomes too late.

Sorry I'm late, but let me add that I also think you're doing exactly the right thing. Not just for Nat, not just for the kid, but for the whole community as well. Kudos to you, ma'am.

Michele,

I am sure the detectives will explain all of this to you, but for what it is worth, New York penal law 240.26 makes it an offense to harass someone.

"A person is guilty of harassment in the second degree when, with intent to harass, annoy or alarm another person:

...

2. He or she follows a person in or about a public place or places; or

3. He or she engages in a course of conduct or repeatedly commits acts which alarm or seriously annoy such other person and which serve no legitimate purpose.

The case law indicates that a single, isolated incident is not enough, but the law is somewhat flexible as to what you count as an "incident." One case held that making a verbal threat and acting like you are drawing a gun from your waistband constitutes a "course of conduct."

I do not know what the background facts are, but it sounds like there has been more than one event here, and the IM was just the event that was the most explicit. But this threat, when combined with some other previous conduct or communications, may be enough to charge this person with the offense.

(Texas is a little more stringent. Making a terroristic threat only ONCE is enough to land your ass in jail.)

I strongly encourage you to talk to a lawyer about getting a restraining or protective order. I do not know New York law on this, but in Texas, the police will enforce a protective order (i.e., the police are given a copy, which goes into their computer, and the police will act on it directly). A restraining order is a little less tough, meaning that you have to go back to court to enforce it, but upon a violation, the judge can order the punk straight to jail for contempt.

In any event, it can put an end to all further communications.

Take care.

I'm glad you called the police. All the best to Natalie as she deals with this.

You did the right thing. As a classroom teacher, I can CERTIFY that this sort of threat happens a lot more than most people know. And it HAS to be treated with all the seriousness that it deserves. A kid that age knows exactly what he is doing.

I was stalked for over 2 years by a guy in college. It started with the equivalent of IM death threats. Everyone in my school--profs, admin, etc. all acted like I should blow it off. Things kept escalating and escalating. Eventually, after 2 years of living in a surreal horror movie I spoke to cops who told me that I had the right to do things--like press charges. Within a short amount of time after that, he was out of my life forever, and I was living like a person again.

My life was a living hell for 2 years. You did the right thing. I know it seems like an overreaction, but your daughter will know that she can bring ANYTHING to you, anything that happens to her, and you will help her. She will know not to blow off people threatening her. She will also know that she isn't insane when everyone else tells her she's overreacting. I learned every possible wrong lesson by not getting someone to help me press charges when I was in college--I learned that I was overreacting, that I was the unreasonable one. I learned to be more and more afraid and tell no one. I learned that i was vulnerable and there was nothing whatsoever I could do about it.

you are a great great mom. you did the right thing, and you will keep doing the right thing.

You did exactly what you should have done. You fulfilled your duty to your daughter. A possible side benefit is the kid who threatened your daughter just might be snapped out of a spiral into true criminality. Maybe. Icing if yes. Not your problem, if not. You did good.