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Rehtaeh ParsonsNova Scotia, Canada – The mother of 17-year-old Rehtaeh Parsons, the teenager who killed herself after allegedly being raped by four boys two years ago, is asking that online lynch mobs please leave the boys linked to the allegations alone, and let the justice system do its job.

Parsons’ mother says her daughter committed suicide after years of being bullied following an alleged rape by four boys when she was 15. A pictures from the incident was circulated online, leading to Parsons being harassed online by her peers.

No charges were ever filed against any of the boys involved, and Parsons mother would use Facebook to post her daughter’s story, blaming her daughter’s suicide on bullies, the justice system, and the four boys who allegedly raped her two years ago. By Wednesday night, an online petition calling for an inquiry into the police investigation had garnered more than 60,000 signatures.

Of course, as is usually the case when supposed injustices are posted online via social networking, people began talking about exacting revenge against the persons they feel are responsible for said injustice. In this particular case, it’s the four boys who allegedly raped Rehtaeh Parsons and went unpunished.  Her mother is now asking that the online lynch mobs cool their jets.

“I want the justice system to go after those boys for sending those pictures, she was 15 years old,” Parsons said. “I don’t want people to go after those boys. People are threatening to do that.”

While she is still not happy with the police investigation into her daughter’s rape, she does not want the boy’s who she feels are responsible harassed by people online.

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“I don’t want more bullying. Rehtaeh wouldn’t want more bullying. I don’t think that’s justice,” Parsons said. “I think they need to be accountable for what that they did, I don’t want them to be physically harmed.”

The RCMP got involved and has been issuing warnings, reminding people not to take matters in their own hands. They asked anyone with information about the case to contact them directly.

Back in 2011, Rehtaeh went to a home with a friend where they drank alcohol with four other boys. Her friend left and Rehtaeh was allegedly raped by the boys. The boys claimed the sex was consensual. Either way, some time during the incident, one of the boys took a cell phone photo of Rehtaeh and distributed the picture online. Rehtaeh began experiencing online harassment once the photo went viral.

Police investigated the rape claim, but after a year, were unable to file charges against any of the boys, saying that it was a “he said, she said” issue. “An investigation into an earlier sexual assault was completed, and in consultation with the Crown, there was insufficient evidence to lay charges,” said RCMP spokesman Cpl. Scott MacRae.

Here’s what I don’t get about this story. Why are people banding together against four boys who were cleared of any criminal wrong-doing after a year long investigation, purely because of learning one side of this story? That’s what worries me about these online initiatives.

Sure they can do amazing things, as seen with the Steubenville rape case, but does anyone not worry about how easily lynch mobs can be directed at a target, and like frothing zombies, they charge forward with their teeth gnashing without having all of the information?

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