A New Jersey teen has been accused of assaulting, robbing and threatening a fellow high school student who later hanged himself, officials said Wednesday.
The 15-year-old Morristown High School freshman, Lennon Baldwin, hanged himself March 28 at his home in Morris Township.
Authorities would not say whether there was a direct link between the incidents and Baldwin's suicide, and the suspects were not charged with bullying. But Morris County Prosecutor Robert Bianchi said the case "again underscores our need as a society to eradicate the bullying of our youth, as regrettable consequences such as this case are far too numerous to be anywhere near acceptable."
Morris County prosecutors said Baldwin was assaulted at school on March 6, and the student believed to be responsible was suspended. That student, authorities said, then made numerous attempts to contact Baldwin, trying to convince him to tell the principal that the assault was a joke.
Prosecutors said Baldwin did what he was asked by that student, but the student was suspended anyway.
Then, on March 9, weeks before he killed himself, Baldwin was approached by that same student and two others, officials said. They also attempted to rob him as "punishment" for what happened at the school with the previous assault, authorities said.
Those three individuals are being charged in the case. The original student is being charged with robbery, theft, terroristic threats and other counts.
The two juveniles are on house arrest, prosecutors said.
After Baldwin's death, hundreds gathered at a prayer service and candlelight vigil. Some people who knew him had mentioned he was being bullied.
"No one should ever be bullied to the point where they feel they need to take their own life," a friend wrote beneath one of several YouTube videos posted in his memory. "R.I.P. buddy! I will never forget you."
The family wrote in his obituary in The Star-Ledger that "what Lennon really wanted was to be loved, respected and accepted by his peers."
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