‘Facebook’ girls remain in detention facility

July 28, 2012

by mark wilson

The two girls recently arrested and charged with a third-degree felony remained in a local detention facility as of press time.

The Acton Middle School girls, ages 12 and 13, were accused of creating a fake Facebook page in the name of a classmate, according to Lieutenant Johnny Rose of the Hood County Sheriff’s Office. The page contained threats toward other students and “cultivated a bad reputation for the victim,” Rose said.

The two girls have been detained in the Granbury Regional Juvenile Justice Center since their arrest, almost two weeks ago, according to officials.

The victim, 12, was 11 at the time the Facebook page was created, according to her mother. She told the Hood County News that the Facebook page harmed her daughter’s reputation, and one of the girl’s friends had confronted her in an incident that was almost a “physical altercation” at school.

Not only are the identities of juveniles accused of crimes kept secret by legal authorities, but information on their cases are also off limits to the public and news media. There are other major differences for those under 17 who are arrested. They cannot be held in an adult facility, and they are not eligible to be released on bond.

The two accused girls, who were arrested at about 5 p.m. on July 16, apparently have not been processed through the system, possibly due to a series of unusual events.

Last week, Hood County Juvenile Probation Director Beth Pate was out of the office. Early this week, paperwork was sent to the office of County Attorney Kelton Conner.

Employees in Conner’s office said they had been instructed not to comment on anything concerning the case because it involved minors.

A reporter – attempting to inquire about a possible time frame for when the detention hearing might occur – was told by an employee at Conner’s office that he could either contact the office manager, or she would call security.

Reached by phone when she was available later that morning, Conner’s office manager also said she was instructed not to comment. She then asked the reporter to quit calling Conner’s office.

Conner, reportedly out of the office on business, was not available by press time.

The two girls were to see Judge Ralph Walton in a detention hearing, in which their fate would be decided. Walton was out of the office this week on business, but is expected back in the Justice Center on Monday.

Rose said that in a felony juvenile case, a judge could either release the minors to their parents, place them on probation or transfer them into Texas Youth Commission custody.

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