OTSU, SHIGA PREF. – Police on Thursday turned over to prosecutors their case against two junior high school students in Otsu, Shiga Prefecture, who allegedly harassed and assaulted a classmate who eventually committed suicide.
Another boy also believed to have been involved in the bullying was sent to a child consultation center because he was 13 years old when the abuse took place, thus is exempt from criminal prosecution, the police said. The other two boys were 14 at the time.
The three, all age 15 now, allegedly tied the hands of the 13-year-old victim and used adhesive tape to cover his mouth at the school in September last year, and assaulted him in a school lavatory the next month, according to police, citing just two examples of the victim’s torment, which also allegedly included having him go through the motions of committing suicide.
The trio were also accused of other misdeeds, including theft and property damage, the police said.
The victim jumped to his death from a condominium high-rise in October last year. The case drew little attention at the time, only to gain traction this year after it was revealed that the city and school were aware of the bullying but tried to hush it up. The police said they have yet to reach a conclusion on whether there was a link between the suicide and the alleged harassment.
The family of the victim filed a lawsuit against the three boys and the city of Otsu in February, and in September lodged complaints against the three, seeking a police investigation.
The police searched the school and the municipal board of education and questioned around 360 classmates of the victim and the three boys. It was believed that the classmates made the revelations regarding the nature of the youth’s harassment, including revelations that he was forced to act out his suicide in advance.
Separately, the police handed prosecutors their a case against one of the three boys, who allegedly assaulted and seriously wounded a female teacher at the school.
The names of the three students have not been released because they are minors.