Bronx Senator Jeff Klein unveiled a new bill Monday targeting cyber-bullies after a wave of bullying-related deaths, including the suicide of an upstate teen last week.
Klein’s bill would make online bullying of anyone under age 21 be considered third-degree stalking, which is a class-A misdemeanor.
Also, those responsible for a suicide due to cyber-bullying would get a second-degree manslaughter charge. It would be a class-C felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison.
“The bully of yester year has now become the cyber-bully, where you can hide behind the Internet and Facebook and Twitter and really torment a young person year after year, day after day, month after month. We need to do something about it,” said Klein.
The senator cited the death of 14-year-old Jamey Rodemeyer, who took his own life last week after family and friends say he was bullied for years over his sexuality, as well as the death of Rutgers University freshman Tyler Clementi.
A comprehensive report on cyber-bullying can be viewed here.