Concord and Carlisle Police reports show that the departments documented twelve reports of vandalism and death threats against former Concord-Carlisle High School student Isabella “Belle” Hankey, who filed a lawsuit this week alleging the school did little to prevent bullying during her junior and senior years.
The alleged incidents were reported during a 12-month period that ended in October 2012, according to court documents. Officers spoke with several students and at one point requested an extra patrol on the Hankey residence.
Concord Police Lieutenant Thomas Mulcahy said Wednesday that the investigation by Concord police remains open. Carlisle Police Chief John Fisher declined to comment.
On Monday, Hankeyfiled a $2 million civil rights lawsuit against the towns of Concord and Carlisle, the Concord-Carlisle school district, and three school administrators, alleging that she endured vicious bullying during her junior and senior years, and the district did nothing to prevent it, instead allegedly destroying evidence.
The police documents, filed by Hankey’s attorney, Timothy M. Burke, as exhibits attached to the lawsuit, show that police examined video footage from businesses near the locations where Hankey’s car was reported to have been keyed, and that several students were questioned about their possible involvement. Ten incidents were reported by Concord police and two by Carlisle police, according to the documents.
Burke said he felt the police handled their end of the investigation perfectly well.
“I have no criticism of them whatsoever,” said Burke. “If I was critical of them, I would have brought them in as a defendant.”
However, he said, the fact that the police investigated the alleged bullying did not absolve the district from their responsibility to investigate.
“It’s very easy to divert and deflect attention on the police, and say, ‘Yeah, we told the police about it,’ ” said Burke. “It was the school’s responsibility, not the police department’s responsibility, to secure an environment that’s safe for children.”
A spokesman for the district could not be reached for comment Wednesday. On Tuesday, the district issued a statement declining to comment on the suit, but insisting it ensures safety for students.
The first three alleged incidents of bullying, reported by Hankey or her parents, are documented in three separate Concord police reports. Hankey’s car was allegedly keyed in October 2011; feces was allegedly smeared on it in February 2012; and a vulgar slur was allegedly carved into it in March 2012. The October and March incidents were photographed.
Two May 2012 Carlisle police reports describe incidents where insults were allegedly carved into Hankey’s car with a sharp object while it was in Carlisle. Both insults were photographed.
About two weeks later, a Concord police document says the word “HAHA” had allegedly been scratched into Hankey’s car while it was parked at a restaurant. The police report said an investigating officer viewed video footage from a nearby business, but the video did not see anyone approach the car. The report said the case “remains open.’’
In June 2012, Hankey allegedly began receiving death threats — “Kill Belle” and “Belle’s Dead at 9:15” on bathroom walls days apart, and another message reading “Don’t Belle” on another bathroom wall. In each incident, the school resource officer, Detective Scott Camilleri, reported that the messages were photographed.
According to the reports, Camilleri asked Carlisle police for an extra patrol on the Hankey residence, and it was decided at one point to get handwriting samples from junior and sophomore girls. Camilleri also says he spoke with several students, whose identities are redacted. The report said he met with Superintendent Diana Rigby and principal Peter Badalament, both of whom are now named in Hankey’s suit.
An August 2012 Concord police document reports that “Ready?” was carved into Hankey’s car either in a business parking lot or a friend’s house, both in Concord. The officer reported that he viewed video footage from the business, but it was inconclusive.
In September, Camilleri reported photographing another message on a school bathroom wall, reading “Belle” and “September 15.” A final report, written by Camilleri a few days later, says that “Belle” was found scrawled into another bathroom wall. In a heavily redacted portion of the report, Camilleri says he spoke with at least one person about text messages concerning Hankey’s vehicle.