Opinions on alleged rape involving Tarpon Springs students make their way online

Students choosing sides on Twitter

TARPON SPRINGS, Fla. - Opinions about a student at Tarpon Springs High School who allegedly raped a freshman girl this past weekend, have made their way to the World Wide Web.  A teen has been arrested for sexual battery.

Stephanie Hakanson says the allegations surrounding the students worry her. Her daughter is in the 9th grade at the school.  The crime has the two of them talking.  Hakanson said, "Just bullying. You've got to keep things to yourself, you know. I don't want to see anybody get hurt over this."

 

Tarpon Springs police say a 15-year-old told them she was raped by a 17-year-old senior at a house party last Saturday. ABC Action News is not releasing his name, because he hasn't been charged as an adult.

 

The party was at the boy's parents home while they were away.  The crime has exploded on social media with students posting several twitter tweets and choosing sides.  Hakanson said, "I wish it wasn't as bad as it's gotten. But, it's going to get worse. That's just part of it. Again, we have no control over social media."

 

Mitch Neff works for Tribe Digital Media in Tampa. He says the internet is gaining popularity among kids and so is the potential for bad behavior. He says when you hit send, it could have dangerous consequences.  "The kind of things that people sling across social media websites are the kind of things people would rarely say in person. and they can be quite damaging and quite long lasting. Things that are said on the internet don't just go away."

 

Stephanie Hakanson says the ultimate responsibility, online or on the streets, falls on parents. Hakanson said, "It's how you raise your children. You've got to they're hanging around with. You've got to know what parties they're going to."

 

School district officials say counselors are at Tarpon Springs High, in case students need someone to talk to. 

 

Charges for two other students, who police say are connected to the case, will be decided by the State Attorney.

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