Two teens due in court after alleged murder plot uncovered in St-Hyacinthe
Published Sunday, September 18, 2016 11:54AM EDT
Last Updated Monday, September 19, 2016 7:19PM EDT
Two St-Hyacinthe teenagers who allegedly plotted to kill three people and rape a fourth are in police custody and will face a bail hearing later this week.
Police said the intended victims, three boys and one girl, were students at Ecole Polyvalente Hyacinthe-Delorme, as were the two suspects.
The teenaged suspects, ages 14 and 16, were arrested last Wednesday and were charged the next day with a total of 18 charges between them, including three counts each of conspiracy to commit murder and criminal harassment and one charge each of attempting to administer a date rape drug.
They will remain in police custody until the bail hearing on Tuesday.
Sureté du Quebec spokesperson Audrey-Anne Bilodeau said one of the suspect’s parents tipped off police.
The mother of the younger boy allegedly found threatening messages and the plot's details on her son's Facebook accounts.
Bilodeau credited the cooperation of parents and the school for allowing police to act in time.
“A search was held in the school and an investigation was able to demonstrate that the young people were about to execute their plan,” she said, adding that a knife was found in one of the boys' lockers.
School worked with investigation
School officials issued a statement Monday about how they cooperated with police, and said several students are getting "necessary aid and support."
On Monday the school held a meeting for all staff to bring everyone up to speed, and to ensure that teachers knew how to talk to students about the accusations.
The school also reminded students and staff that because this case is before the courts, the information that can be discussed is limited by law.
Because of the Youth Criminal Justice Act neither the accused, nor the alleged victims, can be named.
Social media threats taken seriously
Bilodeau said young people should be aware that threats made on social media are taken seriously by police.
Cyber security consultant Steve Waterhouse said parents are the first, and sometimes only, line of defence.
“Since Facebook doesn't have an army of people interpreting everything, yes, something like this can go under the radar undetected,” he said.
Shaheen Shariff, who researches cyberbullying with the McGill Integrated Studies in Education department, said teens need to be taught that their words matter.
“What's public, what's private? Where are the lines? Where your communication can cross over to become illegal now, there are laws now against some types of online postings,” said Shariff.