Teen Framed for Cybercrime Files Lawsuit

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The family of a teenage girl from Florida who was arrested and detained over cyber-threats she didn’t make is suing her former school and Meta.

Pembroke Pines Police Department (PPPD) arrested the 13-year-old in November 2021 for “making a written threat to do bodily harm or commit an act of terrorism” and charged her with a second-degree felony.

An investigation was launched after threatening messages were sent to students and staff at Renaissance Charter School at Pine via Instagram on November 18. 

The threats were reported to the PPPD on November 19. The school was placed on a code-yellow alert, restricting movement in response to the threats.

“Our Threat Assessment Team was immediately deployed to investigate the incident and ultimately identified, and arrested, a 13-year-old female who is a former student at Renaissance Charter School,” stated the PPPD on November 19. 

The girl, who is from Miramar, spent 11 days in juvenile detention. The charge against her was later dropped.

In a statement released February 10, PPPD said: “Following an extensive and thorough investigation by our department, the original student arrested in this case (a 13-year-old female, Victim #1) was exonerated of these charges.”

The PPPD allege that the family of the falsely accused girl “did not cooperate with investigators” during the November investigation. They said that they arrested the girl after determining “that probable cause existed to arrest Victim #1 due to available evidence as well as multiple witness statements” and consulting with the Broward State Attorney’s Office.

On January 18 2022, police uncovered new evidence that exonerated the girl and implicated one of her supposed victims, identified as Suspect #1, as the sender of the threats.

“A 12-year-old female student who also attended Renaissance Charter School was found to have maliciously impersonated Victim #1 by using her information to create an email address and open multiple Instagram accounts. 

“Suspect #1 then sent herself and other students multiple threatening messages, and intentionally lied to law enforcement and school staff to frame Victim #1,” stated the PPPD on February 10.

On Tuesday, the mother of the falsely accused teen filed a 12-page lawsuit in Broward County Circuit Court seeking damages in excess of $30k for the mental and emotional distress suffered by her daughter.  

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