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Zimmerman lawyer drafting bill that could hold Florida parents liable in online bullying cases

 

The lawyer for George Zimmerman said Friday that he is drafting a bill that could hold Florida parents liable if their children takes part in online bullying.

Mark O’Mara wants to provide law enforcement a tool to use to combat the disturbing trend, Shawn Vincent, a spokesman from his office, told FoxNews.com.

"We would hope that the law would never have to be used," Vincent said. "But we feel that a law of its kind might influence parents to keep an eye on what their child does online."

O'Mara's office said the announcement was not made solely as a reaction to this week's arrest of two Florida girls, ages 12 and 14, who are accused of bullying 12-year-old Rebecca Sedwick who committed suicide. The girls were arrested on stalking charges.

The sheriff in the case, Grady Judd, from Polk County, said he is considering charges against one of the girl's parents because they are in "total denial."

Judd told Fox News Thursday that if evidence indicates the parents of one of the two girls knowingly allowed the girl to post the bullying comments online, they could be charged with contributing to the dependency or delinquency of a child.

The family of the 14-year-old girl said her computer account was hacked and that she was not posting anymore. The girl's mother told ABC News that she checked her daughter's Facebook status every time she used it.

Judd, however, has questioned that account.

"You tell me that there's not parents, who instead of taking that device and smashing it into a 1,000 pieces in front of her child, says, 'Oh, her account was hacked?' We see where the problem is," Judd said.

O'Mara has worked on cases of online bullying in the past and hopes to draft the bill that could pass Constitutional muster in the Florida House. There will be some challenges in drafting the bill regarding the proper punishment for a parent and proving they had knowledge of the postings.

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