Could teen's suicide lead to prosecutions?

Published: Sep. 30, 2019 at 10:51 AM EDT
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(WVLT) -- A Coffee County high school teen is dead and friends and family say he took his own life after classmates "outed" him. The teen hails from the Manchester/Tullhoma area, which is southeast of Nashville.

Now Channing Smith's family wants local prosecutors to file charges against the other teens who outed Smith on social media. Apparently Smith confided in a few peers he was bisexual. Some of those text screen shots then made their way online.

Those who know Smith say it's a horrible case of cyber-bullying.

Here's what Coffee County's District Attorney, Craig Northcott, had to say about the situation:

"I, like the rest of the community, am deeply saddened by the tragic loss of the young life of Channing Smith. I express my heartfelt condolences to his family. My office has encouraged, cooperated in and supported the investigation into the events leading to this death. Ethically, I am prohibited from commenting on an open investigation or prosecution. However, procedurally, no charging decisions have been made by my office nor has the Coffee County Sheriff’s Department asked for a decision since the investigation has not been completed. When all relevant facts are available, my office will advise the Coffee County Sheriff’s Department on what charges, if any, we believe are appropriate to help guide it in that decision. Any report that my office has failed or refused to act is inaccurate and I wanted to clarify this for the sake of the Smith family as they do not need the added burden to the already incomprehensible pain that they are experiencing. I would ask for the everyone to extend their prayers for the family and to respect their privacy as this process moves forward."

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