One of the defendants in the Phoebe Prince bullying case is off the hook.
Prosecutor David Sullivan announced Thursday afternoon that he’d decided to dismiss the lone statutory rape charge against Austin Renaud, who had been accused of having an inappropriate relationship with Prince, 15, before she committed suicide.
The charge was dismissed against Renaud, 19, “upon the request of the Prince-O’Brien family and in the interest of justice,” Northwest District Attorney Sullivan said at a press conference. “We hope this [together with the pleas in the other five defendants’ cases] will bring some measure of closure for their family as they continue to cope with the continuing pain of their losses.”
Sullivan would not elaborate on the decision.
Renaud’s defendant’s attorney, Terrence Dunphy, said his client “is very relieved that this is over.” Renaud had denied ever having a sexual relationship with Prince.
While Prince’s parents were not available for comment, her aunt, Eileen Moore, said it was the right decision.
“I am thrilled for Austin,” says Moore, noting that unlike the other five defendants, he was never accused of bullying her niece. “This must have been a very difficult year for him and I wish him nothing but the best as he moves forward with his life.”
Several other defendants in the bullying case, Ashley Longe, Flannery Mullins and Sharon Velasquez, were all in court Thursday and pleaded to lesser charges that included probation, but no jail time.
Anne O’Brien, Phoebe’s mother, said she met with Longe Wednesday night and said she felt Longe’s apology felt was sincere.
Sean Mulveyhill, who briefly dated Prince, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor criminal harassment and was sentenced instead to one-year probation and community service this week. His ex-girlfriend, Kayla Narey, 18, reached a similar plea deal.