“The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree,” said Florida’s Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd in regards to the announcement that Vivian Vosburg, 30, of Lakeland, FL, the stepmother of one of the cyberbullies who tormented Rebecca Sedwick, 12, before her suicide, has been charged with child neglect and child abuse. Vosburg is the stepmom of the 14-year-old girl who was arrested for aggravated stalking after Rebecca, a middle schooler, killed herself in September by jumping off a building. Vosburg was not arrested in connection to the bullying, which took the form of both in-person and online harassment; instead, Vosburg’s arrest is in connection to a video she posted on Facebook of her beating her own children.
After Vosburg’s 14-year-old stepdaughter was arrested, according to ABC News, several people alerted the police to a video Vosburg had posted on her Facebook page of her repeatedly punching a boy in the head. Sheriff Judd said that in the video, Vosburg punches the child (who is in her care, although it’s unclear their relation) at least 10 times in the head while another child lies on the floor, possibly unconscious, all while graphic language is being used. Four other children between the ages of nine and 14 were in the room at the time of the beating, according to Fox News. She at first claimed she was just breaking up a fight amongst the kids and later claimed she got out of hand. Judd said he was shocked that the video was filmed, let alone posted on Facebook for people to watch.
Vosburg has been charged with two counts of child abuse with bodily harm and four counts of child neglect with great harm. She has been ordered to stay away from her children.
Her 14-year-old stepchild (whose name was reported by ABC News but is being withheld by The Frisky) is one of two girls who were cyberbullying Rebecca Sedwick. The other girl is aged 12 and her name is also being withheld by The Frisky. Originally, police investigated as many as 15 of Rebecca’s classmates for cyberbullying.
“The bullying we saw from (the stepdaughter) certainly could have been a byproduct of what occurs, apparently as a routine, in the home,” said Sheriff Judd. “”Beating these children clearly indicates to us that that appears to be a normal way of life.”
Bullies learn how to abuse and be cruel somewhere. It’s a particularly tragic element of this story that Rebecca’s bullies learned that cruelty at home.
Email me at Jessica@TheFrisky.com. Follow me on Twitter.
[Image via ABC News]