The four teenage girls accused of orchestrating the beating of 14-year-old Adriana Kuch that her father says drove her to take her own life have had their charges upgraded in New Jersey.
Kuch was found dead in her home in Bayville on February 3. Days before her death, an horrific video spread online showing Kuch being set upon by a group of bullies in the hallways of Central Regional High School.
Initially, four girls were slapped with third-degree assault charges and a fourth was charged with disorderly conduct. They were also suspended indefinitely from school.
On Friday, Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced that the charges against the teens had been upgraded.
One is now charged with aggravated assault, and could be charged as an adult, one with harassment and two with conspiracy to commit aggravated assault.
According to her father Kuch was ‘smashed in the face three times with a water bottle’ and ‘blacked out.’ He then had to take his blood covered daughter to the police station to file a report because the school refused to do so
Adriana Kuch, attended Central Regional High School in Berkeley Township, and was found dead at her home two days after the shocking video surfaced on Feb 1, said police
Billhimer said, ‘Each juvenile and their guardian was served with a copy of their complaint and are released pending future court appearances.’ None of the teens behind the attack have been identified.
The 20-second viral clip shows several students attacking the teen and hitting her with a water bottle as she walked with her boyfriend. Bystanders are also seen laughing at Adriana after she was punched, kicked and had her hair pulled, while she lay in the fetal position on the floor of the school hallway.
One of the attackers could be heard yelling, ‘That’s what you get you stupid a** b****.’
According to New Jersey law, minors charged with more serious offenses, such as assault, can be tried in adult criminal court. The decision on whether or not to charge as an adult lies with the prosecutor.
The penalty for a conviction of aggravated assault in New Jersey is anywhere between 18 months and 10 years in prison.
Harassment and conspiracy charges against a minor are less likely to be taken to criminal court.
Kuch’s father Michael told DailyMail.com Friday that the school’s board were reluctant to expel the bullies because they were fearful of a loss in revenue.
He said, ‘If my daughter is only worth $23,000 a head to them then because they would lose four students then what is anybody’s kid worth.’
Her family says that the teen’s funeral, which was due to take place on Saturday, has now been canceled. There were no members of Central Regional High School’s faculty present at the visitation.
Michael Kuch, shown here on Friday at his daughter’s visitation, told DailyMail.com that he in discussions with a family lawyer regarding the family’s next legal steps
Michael Kuch speaking to DailyMail.com outside of his daughter’s visitation
Michael told DailyMail.com that his daughter was not suspended in the days leading up to her death but was told not to return until injuries as she may have been subjected to further ridicule.
‘We can’t stop crying this is the last time I’m ever going to see her.
‘It was not supposed to happen we heard it over and over again your child isn’t supposed to go before you.’
School superintendent Triantafillos Parlapanides tried to deflect blame away from his department following the tragedy.
He told DailyMail.com, ‘Her father was having an affair at the end of her 6th grade. Her father married the woman he had an affair with and moved her into the house.’
Parlapanides continued, ‘Her grades and choices declined in 7th and 8th grade. We offered her drug rehab and mental services on five occasions but the father refused every time.’
On Friday, Michael Kuch said of Parlapanides, ‘What’s insensitive is him going on social media and defending his actions and attacking other people.
‘The administration needs to be completely shaken up and by shaken up I mean they need to be removed,’ he added.
Michael Kuch continued, ‘I don’t know why he’s been there that long I have no idea why that man still has a job.’
He went on to say that he is in discussions with a family lawyer regarding the family’s next legal steps. He also said that attorneys from across the country have been in contact with him.
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