A Missouri Dairy Queen manager who was charged with second-degree involuntary manslaughter after her 17-year-old employee committed suicide waived her arraignment at her first court appearance this week, People magazine reported.
Harley Branham, 21, was arrested Jan. 31 after jurors in a coroner’s inquest concluded that the harassment and bullying that Kenny Suttner, 17, faced at his after school job at Dairy Queen led to his suicide.
Suttner committed suicide in December by a gunshot to the head.
Branham has not entered a plea in the case. She faces up to four years in prison for the felony if she is convicted.
Former co-workers of Suttner told jurors at the coroner’s inquest that Branham made Suttner do demeaning tasks that other people didn’t have to do, such as cleaning the floor by hand on his stomach. One co-worker said that Branham threw a cheeseburger at Suttner because he didn’t make it correctly. Branham admitted that she called Suttner an “ass” but claimed it was in jest.
Suttner was also apparently bullied at school, but none of his classmates have been charged. One student testified that she only reported the bullying Suttner received once, because no one was ever punished for their behavior, the Columbia Daily Tribune reported.
The inquest found that his school was negligent in addressing bullying at school.
“It is long overdue that the issue of bullying be brought to light so that we can all work together to make change,” Suttner’s parents, Mike and Angela Suttner, said in a statement.
[Image: Kenny Suttner/Facebook]