The Huron High School senior, who was facing a rape charge until his accuser killed herself, says he’s not to blame for the merciless taunting she faced from classmates.
The 18-year-old Joseph Tarnopolski says Samantha Kelly was his friend and they had arranged to have sex as a “mutual thing” between them. He said he thought Kelly was 16-years-old and not 14.
Kelly went home from school Monday and hanged herself.
Prosecutors Wednesday dropped criminal charges against Tarnopolski, saying they had no case without the accuser’s testimony.
“I wish she hadn’t died,” Tarnopolski said Wednesday night. He added, “it will be on my mind forever” and said he felt “a little bit” responsible for Kelly’s death.
But Tarnopolski said if Kelly was getting ridiculed it wasn’t because of him.
Principal Donovan Rowe said school officials investigated the alleged bullying and found nothing overt. Rowe said on occasion he walked behind Samantha as she went from class to class and witnessed no harassment.
© MMX WWJ Radio, All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to his report.