Judge upholds rape charge in Mass. bullying case

AP News
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Posted: Mar 08, 2011 8:20 AM
Judge upholds rape charge in Mass. bullying case

A judge has denied a defense motion to dismiss charges against a 19-year-old man accused of raping a Massachusetts girl who prosecutors say was driven to suicide by school bullies.

Judge Mary-Lou Rup ruled Monday that although there was "limited" evidence to suggest that Austin Renaud had sex with 15-year-old Phoebe Prince, it was enough to support an indictment.

Renaud's attorney filed the motion to dismiss last month, saying prosecutors failed to provide "admissible and credible evidence" that the now 19-year-old Renaud had intercourse with Phoebe. Renaud denies having sex with Phoebe, a former South Hadley High School student who hanged herself in January 2010.

Five teens have been charged with criminal harassment and civil rights violations in the case. Renaud is charged with statutory rape but is not charged with bullying.