MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - The mother of the 11-year-old boy whose suicide attracted national attention earlier this year says she believes the court system failed her son.
In a statement to TV6, Katrina Goss says the 13-year-old girl accused of pranking her son, Tysen Benz, into killing himself received "'4-6 months' of probation for her two charges: malicious use of a telecommunications service and fasifying death of yourself causing self-harm resulting in great bodily harm."
"The defendant received the very minimal punishment she could receive for her heinous and devious acts committed towards my son, Tysen Jade Benz," said Goss, following an informational consent hearing last Friday in Marquette County Probate Court.
According to police, Benz took his own life after the girl's social media prank went too far. The sixth-grader was taken off life support in April, three weeks after he hanged himself in his home.
Marquette County Prosecutor Matt Wiese has not responded to TV6's multiple requests for comment on the case.
Goss says she belives the judge and prosecutors "did not want to deal with this case from the beginning due to the mass media coverage and exposure." Goss also says she feels "due to the defendant's age the court system was afraid to put forth harsher punishment for the girl due to public backlash."
Below is the complete statement from Katrina Goss:
"On Friday October 6th, 2017 there was an informal consent hearing in Probate Court at the Marquette County Court House, in Marquette MI. For the late Tysen Benz case. The defendant and her attorneys and the prosecutors were in attendance as well as the judge. I was in attendance in the court room with my close family. The judge addressed the girl and her attorneys, not once addressing the prosecutors. The result of the hearing was that the girl/defendant received "4-6 months" of probation for her two charges: malicious use of a telecommunications service and falsifying death of yourself causing self-harm resulting in great bodily harm.
"The defendant received the very minimal punishment she could receive for her heinous and devious acts committed towards my son, Tysen Jade Benz.
"My son is dead and his family and close friends are left distraught and severely heartbroken. I am appalled at the lack of justice and consideration in this case. I feel that the Judge and the prosecutors did not want to deal with this case from the beginning due to the mass media coverage and exposure so all parties wanted to quickly put this case to an end and be done with it. I feel that due to the defendant's age the court system was afraid to put forth harsher punishment for the girl due to public backlash. I feel that the court system failed my late son, Tysen Benz.
"Death of a young child by someone else's actions should not be taken lightly in any regard. The court system is supposed to be the deceased child's voice and ensure justice is brought forth for them. In this case that did not occur!!! It is yet another horrible blow to my family and pain to our hearts.
"As I've stated before laws need to be created to stop cyber bullying and enforced in Michigan. As well as age restrictions and enforcements for minors using all social media sites. There are too many children dying due to internet bullying. I am going to continue to fight for laws to honor my son and try to help save other victims."