Middlesex DA investigates reports of bullying at Groton School
By Travis Andersen
Globe Staff / October 28, 2010
The Middlesex district attorney’s office is investigating reports of bullying at the Groton School involving an incident after which one of the alleged bullies killed himself because he had been pressured to leave the school, according to the boy’s father.
Cara O’Brien, a spokeswoman for Middlesex District Attorney Gerard T. Leone Jr., would only say his office is reviewing reports from local police about allegations of bullying at the school. It is not clear if any criminal behavior occurred on campus, she said.
Groton Police Chief Donald Palma could not be reached for comment last night. He told the Globe last week that police were “looking to see if there is any criminal matter involved or if there was any bullying involved.’’
Walter Perkins, 59, a lawyer living in South Riding, Va., said that his son, Hunter, a 16-year-old sophomore at the prep school, was one of three students accused of putting lewd, doctored pictures of a classmate on the Internet about three weeks ago and that the images contained “homosexual overtones.’’
Walter Perkins said all three students were sent home, and Hunter fatally shot himself Oct. 11 in the basement of their house in Virginia.
The suicide occurred about three days after Perkins showed Hunter an e-mail from the Groton headmaster, Richard B. Commons, outlining an agreement the men had reached that Hunter would withdraw from the school because of the incident. Perkins said his son did not want to leave Groton, which he had come to love.
“My poor son, God love him,’’ Perkins said. “He thought the whole world hated him.’’
When asked by a Globe reporter to see the e-mail last night, Perkins said he could not come up with it.
A spokesman for the Groton School did not return messages last night. School officials declined to comment on the allegations of cyberbullying.
Perkins said that after he and Hunter left Groton’s campus about three weeks ago, Commons said in phone calls and e-mails that the boy should withdraw from the school, rather than plead his case in a disciplinary hearing, which would go on his permanent record.
Perkins said Commons said his son “was guilty of one of the most serious crimes imaginable’’ and had perpetrated a hate crime. The father also said his son had been on antidepressants.
Shelley Murphy of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Travis Andersen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.