Edward Boisselle weighs in on Phoebe Prince case
Ed Boisselle, the former chairman for the South Hadley School Committee, said this week he was “dumbfounded” by statutory rape charges that were filed against two South Hadley high school students in connection with the alleged bullying of Phoebe Prince prior to her suicide.
“I’m sort of dumbfounded by the statutory rape charges,” said Boisselle.
“I hear that there was a conflict between these girls and Phoebe over a relationship I assume with the boys, that’s the only reason, I can understand, the charges I guess have really anything to do with bullying. To my recollection, I don’t know the last time a district attorney has actually indicted a high school age student, on that charge. It was a relationship with another high school student.”
Boisselle’s recent comments came during a wide-ranging series of interviews Tuesday with University of Massachusetts investigative journalism students examining South Hadley and the aftermath of Prince’s suicide. His comments came one day before reports began surfacing that five of the six students charged in connection with Prince’s bullying had negotiated plea deals.
South Hadley teens Sean Mulveyhill and Austin Renaud were charged in March of last year with statutory rape of Phoebe Prince, who was 15 at the time of her death. Mulveyhill and four other South Hadley students were given additional charges related to bullying, which former Northwestern district attorney Elizabeth Scheibel said led to Prince’s suicide. Renaud’s case is scheduled to go to trial in July.
Boisselle touched upon a number of issues Tuesday, including the behavior of the media and The Boston Globe’s Kevin Cullen, and the behavior of a number of residents in town, including Darby O’Brien and Luke Gelinas. And, he repeatedly defended the actions of South Hadley High Principal Dan Smith as well as Superintendent of Schools Gus Sayer.
“The innuendo and half truths that end up having people believe that… their perception of the situation is far from the truth,” he said. “There’s really no facts that I’ve found as chairman of the School Committee that they [the administration] did anything wrong.”
“Pretty much anything Kevin Cullen writes I would take with a grain of salt. Hand-written notes, federal investigation, it’s all a bunch of hooey,” Boisselle said.
“There’s no federal investigation. Kevin Cullen, media and some local folks that want to stir the fire, any way they can. Whether it’s to say the kids shouldn’t go to Ireland because if one of them gets killed then we’ll know who to hold responsible. People make really irresponsible comments like that.”