Girl, 12, pleads guilty in Facebook cyberbullying case

Girl, 12, pleads guilty in Facebook cyberbullying case »Play Video
A 12-year-old girl pleads guilty to bullying on Facebook, July 13, 2011.
SEATTLE -- A 12-year-old girl who prosecutors say sought revenge by bullying a former friend with her own Facebook account pleaded guilty on Monday.

At a hearing Wednesday in King County Juvenile Court, a judge ordered the girl to serve 20 hours of community service, placed her on six months' probation and require she have supervised computer use.

"I want to apologize for making people go through all of this," the girl tearfully told the court. "I'm sorry, I just feel real bad and if I could go back I would change everything and I wouldn't go on her Facebook or even think about it.

"I feel really bad because I know what it's like to be bullied and it's not a good feeling and she didn't deserve to be treated like that at all. I'm really, really sorry."

The judge declined a request to cut off the girl's access to online social media services, which the victim's family said the girl had used "as a weapon."

The girl, along with an 11-year-old girl also charged in the case, were classmates at Issaquah Middle School with the then 12-year-old victim.

The three were friends but had a falling out that prosecutors say spilled onto Facebook.

The two allegedly logged into the Leslie Cote's Facebook account and edited pictures to depict a knife pointing at Leslie's head, drew devils horns and added word bubbles reading "I'm a slut."

Using the victim's account, the girls posted comments on other profiles saying "Have sex with me," and soliciting men for oral sex.

Leslie's parents said the girls sent hundreds of obscene messages from their daughter's account to friends, school coaches, church members and others.

"It was just horrible," said Tara Cote, the victim's mother.

KOMO News normally does not identify crime victims, but Leslie and her family chose to discuss the incident publicly.

"I was hurt and sad and very angry," Leslie Cote said in an interview last in April. "Some people looked at me differently, and then judged me differently now because of what happened."

Leslie said the former friends had access to her Facebook account because she had accidentally saved the password in the web browser on one of their computers.

Her mother said Wednesday that they are still trying to cope with what happened.

"They've ruined our lives," Tara said. "They've actually made our lives a living hell."

The girl is due back in court on January 6 for a review hearing.