Odessa, Ontario teenagers face conspiracy to commit murder charges
Police have laid conspiracy to commit murder charges against two teenaged girls after online threats against at least 15 students and teachers allegedly escalated into action in a small eastern Ontario town.
The 14- and 15-year-old girls face 15 counts of threatening in addition to the conspiracy charge.
Police won't reveal the exact nature of the threats, but they say the charge shows this is more than a case of cyber-bullying.
"It's beyond that, it's extremely serious," OPP Sgt. Kristine Rae told CTV Ottawa reporter Norman Fetterley in Odessa, about 15 kilometres west of Kingston.
"You have 15 counts of threatening, and then they're charged jointly for conspiracy to commit murder."
According to Rae, the conspiracy charge was laid after an action occurred that went beyond the alleged online threats.
The police investigation began several weeks ago after a parent read an allegedly threatening statement against his child on his child's computer.
Investigators said the alleged threats were made against students, teachers and administrators of Ernestown Secondary School in Odessa during an Internet chat.
Potential victims and their parents or guardians were informed of the alleged threats.
"These things are taken (seriously), especially with the circumstances that we're dealing with right now," Rae said.
The 14-year-old girl was initially charged with three counts of threatening. Further investigation by the OPP led them to lay an additional 12 counts plus a charge of assault with a weapon.
The 15-year-old girl was charged with 15 counts of threatening over the weekend.
The lack of details on the investigation has resulted in a bumper crop of rumours circulating among students.
"They're not allowed to release any information, so it's really hard sometimes," said Ernestown high school student Brent Fisher.
"You hear all these rumours and you don't really know what's going on."
The OPP say the case points to the need for parents to closely monitor what their children are doing when they go online.
"The best protection for your children is being involved and knowing what they're doing on the computer," said Rae. "And if your child does not want you seeing something on their computer, then you better be looking at it. There's definitely a reason."