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East Missoula, MT boy beaten with bat in suspected cyberbullying incident

BY: Irina Cates

EAST MISSOULA, MONTANA- An East Missoula teenage boy was chased down and beaten with a baseball bat in retaliation for cyberbullying, police say.

Investigators said on Sunday, around 8:30 p.m., the boy was attacked by five high school-aged teenagers, after they suspected that he posted derogatory comments about a girl on Facebook.

“That led to her and a group of her friends encountering him at the baseball fields at the old, closed Mount Jumbo School. They chased him into the dugout and assaulted him,” says Lieutenant Dave Conway of the Missoula County Sheriff’s Office.

Conway said the girl who allegedly used the bat was not the person who was mentioned in the derogatory posts. The boy in the group of attackers held the victim down while the four girls assaulted him, Conway said.

Conway also says people need to realize when they post something on social networking sites, those comments are not necessarily anonymous.

Social media outlets aren’t exactly the bathroom wall of 20 years ago. Now when you post things on social media outlets, even though it may feel like you have anonymity when you’re typing those in, other people are eventually able to figure out who posted that information. And that often times leads into physical violence and physical confrontations and we’re seen a tremendous uptick in those,” said Conway.

The sheriff’s office says the boy did not receive medical treatment.

Four of the teens face misdemeanor charges, and the girl who is allegedly used the baseball bat will be charged with felony assault with a weapon.

The teenagers will be seen in Missoula Youth Court.

Conway says the boy who posted the derogatory Facebook comments didn’t break any laws and will not be facing charges.

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