No Justice for Samantha Kelly

I recently read an article about a young girl named Samantha Kelly, a freshman who attended a high school in Huron Township in Michigan. Samantha had accused a senior, Joseph Tarnopolski, at her school of rape and the consequences of the accusation resulted in Samantha taking her own life. She had been tormented by friends of Tarnopolski for weeks before taking her own, life out of desperation.

Because Samantha chose to end her life, the charges of the alleged sexual assault were dropped against Joseph. Being a mother of four, I was overwhelmed with sadness over the loss of June Justice’s daughter and the lack of closure that she has experienced.

I was disturbed by numerous comments throughout the article.

1. Tarnopolski told the Detroit Free Press he was sorry to hear of the girl's death. He told Detroit station WJBK Samantha was "a friend" and felt "a little bit" responsible, but said others were behind any taunts.

Why would Tarnopolski feel responsible in anyway if their sexual contact had been mutual? And if Samantha was a friend, why did he allow his friends to harass her?

2. 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.

Ok, I have experience with schools and bullying and have learned that schools have different standards for different students based on social or athletic status. Did Principal Rowe really believe that the students were going to harass Samantha in front of him?

3. "People wanted to beat her up — people who were friends of Joe," said Ayla Raines, who also attended Huron High School.

4. Another student, Calie Bouchard, said 14-year-old Samantha was confronted once in the lunch room by a group of girls who insisted she was lying.

5. "She told me she was being extremely bullied, and it was extremely stressful," said 16-year-old Devyn Waldecker, a neighbor in the Huron Estates mobile home park. "People bumped into her in the hallways at school. On two occasions after school, people tried to jump her."

Why can’t other people mind their own business? Unless those friends of Tarnopolski were in the room at the time of the sexual contact, whether it was consensual or not, they do not know the actual truth. We all have skeletons in our individual closets and hide things we are either ashamed of or embarrassed about.

6. Tarnopolski's attorney, Jacqueline George, called the case "a sad situation" for all involved. "I hope both families can heal," she said.

Tarnopolski’s attorney needs to make a jump into reality after the comment that Samantha’s death was a sad situation. A sad situation is a dog getting hit by a car in the street, a child losing a favorite toy, etc. Samantha’s death isn’t just a sad situation, it is a devastating and life altering situation. No one will ever know of the great contributions to our world Samantha could have made, or the tremendous achievements she could have accomplished. Her mother will never get to hug or kiss her daughter again or hold a child brought into this world by Samantha and experience the wonders of being a grandparent because of her precious daughter.

The insensitivity to personal grief, sorrow or pain that our society displays towards each other is downright appalling. Those students or people who stuck their nose where it didn’t belong should be answering for their actions and taking responsibility for having a hand in Samantha’s decision to leave this world. There were other ways to show their support for Tarnopolski without mentally, emotionally or physically abusing Samantha.

All of our lives are fragile and precious beyond comprehension. The impact each and every one of us have on those we come across throughout our lives can be astronomical in proportions. Every life is valuable and contributes to the world in its own unique way and can never be replaced once it is gone.

From one mother to another, I want to say to June Justice how deeply sorry I am for her loss. To those who had a hand in Samantha’s choice to end her life, Karma will come back to you someday.

One last thing, before you leave hate comments about this article please make a note that you will not win with me on this.  Whether the sex was consensual or not, whether Samantha pursued Tarnopolski or not, Tarnopolski is an adult.  What happened sexually between Samantha and Tarnopolski was illegal.  What if it was a twelve year old or an eight year old, instead of a fourteen year old pursuing Tarnopolski?  Tarnopolski would be considered a pedophile.  Would you think it wasn't illegal then?  If Tarnopolski kept his pants zipped and exhibited some self control and did not take advantage of a minor he wouldn't be in trouble and Samantha might still be alive. 

Samantha's life was far more valuable then a notch on someones belt.

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Comments 5 comments

rasenstars1 profile image

rasenstars1 5 years ago

I have to agree with you. I was bullied as a young child. My parents advice of ignoring them did not work. I look at the steps they are taking now and wonder if these steps had taken place back then, would I have a diffrent view of myself? Would I even have developed bipolar? Or did I get teased because I had already developed it? The trigger point is incredably vauge because I developed it so early.

suz38 5 years ago

Get your facts straight and consider this:

1-sex was consensual. Cops have text message to show this. Girl was aggressor to lose virginity. Why did mom push for charges?

2-mom and child go on local TV. Girl, boy and HS is IDed. Girl changes story and says she was raped. Why did mom put herself and kid on TV and girl change story?

3-kids at school called her a liar because she changed her story. Why did mom keep her out of school for 2 weeks instead?

4-she commits suicide on eve of trial. Where was mom to make sure she was getting counseling?

These kids grew up 8 trailers from each other. Now we'll wait for mom to sue the boy, his parents, the HS and city. Please, where is child protective services to get the 12yo brother out of that house and away from that mother?

Just because you can doesn't mean you should.

kbennett51770 profile image

kbennett51770 5 years ago Author


Maybe you should get your facts straight.

1. I was just commenting on the horrible event of Samantha's suicide and how the impact will effect everyone that had cared about her and how insensitive people are to a senseles and totally preventable death. I was also commenting on how people who don't know the gospel truth should mind their own business.

2. I did not accuse anyone of anything.

3. I also don't recall any mention of you being in the room where the supposed consensual sex was going on. So, if you weren't there you do not now the absolute truth as to whether the sex was consensual or not.

4. Just because the young man says the sex was consensual doesn't make it the truth or his part in the act right. He was an adult and she was a minor.

5. Samantha was only fourteen and not twenty five. What were you doing at fourteen? I was still playing barbies and riding my bike.

6. Maybe her mother felt helpless at the inaction of the school to protect her daughter while she was there.

7. Maybe Samantha lied about the incident because she was scared or coerced into a story by her mother. Again, she was only fourteen and still a child.

8. I'm sure that if June Justice knew her daughter was suicidal she would have done everything in her power to keep her from injuring herself.

9. I don't know why the mother went on tv, only she can answer that question.

10. The kids at school needed to mind their own business. The problem was between Samantha's family and the young man's family.

11. If the kids at school or where she lived stayed out of it maybe Samantha would still be here today.

12. If the school made a better effort at controlling the student body at their facility, maybe Samantha would still be alive.

kbennett51770 profile image

kbennett51770 5 years ago Author

13. The just because you can, doesn't mean you should comment can also apply to Tarnopolski and his supposed consensual sexual contact with Samantha. He was the adult and she was the minor.

suz38 5 years ago

read more than one story/media outlet about the case as multiple media reports provide parts of the story that when all pulled together gave me an overall idea of what happened. [cops are the ones who said it was consensual based on the evidence collected for the court case and the reason the case was dropped was that all aligations were now based on the girl's POV and if she's nt there to tell it in open court, the boy cannot be charged.]

My major point on this is the mother needs to be investigated as to her role with her daughter.

because you can doesn't mean you should applies to many things in life, not just this situation.

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