Six Alamance Co. teens charged in Facebook cyberbullying cases

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L-R: Joshua Shane Allen, Robert Bishop, Ed Wayne Hall and Kirsten Taylor Florence (Alamance Co. Sheriff’s Office)

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ALAMANCE COUNTY, N.C. -- Alamance County deputies have now charged six teens with cyberbullying in three different cases involving social media.

Joshua Shane Allen, 17, of Haw River, Robert Bishop, 16, of Liberty, Ed Wayne Hall, 16, of Haw River, and Kirsten Taylor Florence, 16, of Graham, were arrested. All were given $2,500 secured bonds.

Another teen was given a criminal summons, and a juvenile petition is being sought for a person under the age of 16, deputies said.

Allen was charged with two counts of cyberbullying, a misdemeanor in North Carolina. The others arrested were charged with one count of cyberbullying.

Detectives have spent the last several weeks investigating the cases, all of which involve Facebook in some way, deputies said.

In some cases, the suspects were asking for nude photos, while others involved bullying a victim about his sexuality.

One of the cases involved Angela Kelley's 16-year-old son. She said kids have been bullying him for years, but she recently had to draw the line.

"When I saw everything that they were saying, I was appalled. I said, 'Something has to be done now,'" Kelley said.

She reported the cyberbullying to the Alamance County Sheriff's Office, which began an investigation.

"With the totality of all the posts together, you begin to see the kind of stress that was putting on the victim on the child in this case," said David Sykes, who works in the Internet Crimes Unit.

Sheriff Terry Johnson said kids need to be aware that they are taking cyberbullying seriously.

"We are going to be looking in the future for any that we can come in contact with. If we do, we are going to investigate them, and we're going to charge the young people," Johnson said.

"Put yourself in that position. How would you feel if that was done to you?" Kelley said.

Investigators said one of the biggest problems with cyberbullying is that the kids are so embarrassed that many times they don't get reported to schools or law enforcement.

As a result, when it is reported, investigators said they act fast to make sure the situation doesn't get dangerous for either the suspected bullies or victims.

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