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15-Year-Old Girl Beaten Over Text Message

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It's the second violent attack in the school in six months.

Josie Lou Ratley, Wayne Treacy

What is going on at Deerfield Beach Middle School in Fla.?

First, a 15-year-old student was doused in alcohol and set on fire over a video-game dispute. He suffered second- and third-degree burns over two-thirds of his body.

Then, 15-year-old middle-school student Josie Lou Ratley was savagely beaten on campus over a text message.

"Right now she is really, really fighting for her life," her family attorney said.

The boy charged in Wednesday's beating, Wayne Treacy, 15, told investigators he was enraged by a text message in which the girl made a disparaging remark about his brother, who committed suicide five months ago, reports The Palm Beach Post. Treacy had never met Ratley in person before, but he was texting her 13-year-old friend on Ratley's phone.

Treacy punched Ratley, banged her head on the pavement and kicked and stomped on her head with steel-toe boots, said Sgt. Steve Feeley of the Broward County Sheriff's Office.

Ratley, an eighth grader at Deerfield Beach Middle School, remained hospitalized in critical condition Thursday night. Treacy, a ninth grader at Deerfield Beach High School, has been charged with attempted murder.

Is it just us, or does it seem like teens are getting more and more violent these days? It's beyond disturbing.

Ratley's mom has a message she wants to convey: "Don't let this story go by like everybody else does. Use it as a teachable moment. Tonight."


next: Cat Attacks Baby: Cute or Creepy?
91 comments so far | Post a comment now
Anonymous March 19, 2010, 11:27 AM

There is no doubt that this is horrible, but she made fun of the kid’s late brother. I in no way shape or form condone his behavior, but its understandable why he did it.

Lisa R. March 19, 2010, 12:15 PM

OMG, Anonymous, I hope you’re joking. First of all, the article does not say the girl “made fun of” the kid’s brother; it said she “made disparaging comments,” which could mean anything or nothing. Maybe she wasn’t being disparaging; maybe the boy just took it wrong & snapped. Or maybe the kid that committed suicide was not a good person. I mean, look at the brother, trying to beat a girl to death for saying something he didn’t like in a text, for God’s sake! Maybe the boy that committed suicide was dangerous or hurt people or was a drug dealer or rapist. Death does not necessarily redeem people. Maybe what she said was mean, but true. She does not deserve to be beaten half to death for it. Even if it was a total lie. This guy is a menace who needs to get help. Lots of help. What he doesn’t need help with is making excuses for his inexcusable behavior. Maybe violence is so prevalent and acceptable because people like you think if someone pisses you off or hurts your feelings, they deserve whatever happens to them. Grow up.

jamie March 19, 2010, 12:41 PM

This is very sad. There was a lot of rage involved in this incident.

Lisa - Not to condone his behavior AT ALL - it’s inexcusable - but until you go through something similar it’s difficult to relate. I don’t think “Anonymous” was saying the girl deserved what happened, but just pointing out that she did intentionally provoke him and wasn’t just randomly standing around minding her own business.

When I was 15, a friend of mine committed suicide. A girl said awful, horrible, despicable things about him after he passed, and I was outraged. This was the only time in my life that I have been so angry that I wanted to get in a physical altercation. I had every intention of doing great physical harm to her, but luckily I had friends there to physically restrain me. In my teenage mind, that was my initial reaction. I felt that I needed to stick up for my friend who couldn’t stick up for himself, who had already suffered so much during his short life and didn’t deserve her cruel words. I would hope that I would have never taken it as far as this boy did - but again, I have never been so angry in my entire life, even to this day. I don’t think that makes me a “menace.”

It’s easy to let your emotions take control in a sensitive case like this. I can’t even imagine how much more he was effected by his brother’s death, since he was the one who found him.

Still, the boy needs to be punished for his actions. No one deserves to be killed or so dramatically injured over words, however senseless they may be. Now this young girl may lose her life because of something as simple as an immature comment. No one wins here.

jamie March 19, 2010, 12:45 PM

I do not see my comment, so I will try to post again. My apologies if it ends up as a double-post…

This is very sad. There was a lot of rage involved in this incident.

Lisa - Not to condone his behavior AT ALL - it’s inexcusable - but until you go through something similar it’s difficult to relate. When I was 15, a friend of mine committed suicide. A girl said awful, horrible, despicable things about him after he passed, and I was outraged. This was the only time in my life that I have been so angry that I wanted to get in a physical altercation. I had every intention of doing great physical harm to her, but luckily I had friends there to physically restrain me. I felt that I needed to stick up for my friend who couldn’t stick up for himself, who had already suffered so much during his short life and didn’t deserve her cruel words. I would hope that I would have never taken it as far as this boy did - but again, I have never been so angry in my entire life, even to this day. I don’t think that makes me a “menace.”

It’s easy to let your emotions take control in a sensitive case like this. I can’t even imagine how much more he was effected by his brother’s death, since he was the one who found him.

Still, the boy needs to be punished for his actions. No one deserves to be killed or so dramatically injured over words, however senseless they may be.

momof two March 19, 2010, 1:00 PM

Where does it say that he was the one that found his brother ? Hmm I for one completely agree with Lisa and I hope he goes gets tried as an adult and he is put away for the rest of his life…

Natalie March 19, 2010, 1:06 PM

It doesn’t matter why he did it. I don’t care if his brother died 6 months ago. I don’t care what she said about him. She doesn’t deserve to die over a text message. HE however, deserves to rot in jail. If a boy did that to MY daughter, I’d be out for blood. There’s no excusing OR understanding what he did.

molly March 19, 2010, 1:41 PM

I like how the article asked about our ever growing violent society…and the last post said if such would happen to her child “she would be out for blood”. Just thought it a bit ironic.

Jennifer March 19, 2010, 2:16 PM

The teachable moment would be “have respect for the dead” or just plain have respect.
If someone made disparaging comments about my cousin my teenage self would probably pop them one too.
Why would you say anything bad about someone who had just committed suicide? That’s terrible!

lisa March 19, 2010, 2:51 PM

No one says she said anything bad maybe what she said was the truth maybe he was a horrible horrible person I feel he might have been let’s c u have one son who commits suicide and another beats up a girl a child I think it speaks volumes on there character

renee March 19, 2010, 3:45 PM

here is the problem…too many ways to be connected facebook, texting etc, everyone can see everything u say in a instant with out getting the meaning or tone of ur words. also kids run wild, parents dont disipline their kids for fear of CPS showing up on ur door(and no i dont mean beat ur kids either, children can exaggerate,we all know it)also kids are not taught the difference between right and wrong anymore,they all think it cant/wont happen to me.time for the adults to be in charge and set examples for children,which most dont. all of the families are in my thoughts since all of them are going to lose,one way or another.

leo March 19, 2010, 5:19 PM

What ever the reason;even if she had just slapped him,how can this guy even think about laying his hands on a girl.
This guy is sick and desreves what he gets,through our legal system.

Anonymous March 19, 2010, 6:43 PM

Hello to all, i am anymous, aka the first commenter. 1, maybe you should all go back to school because disparaging means to be-little, meaning the girl made the boys dead brother seem insignifigant. 2, @Lisa R., “I in no way condone his behavior” is not making an excuse, it is saying that it is not ok. As previously stated, she didn’t just stand by and get beaten, she provoked that kid, this was her fault, and yes the boy does need help. Next time you try to debate with someone you should probably lear what big words mean before you say anything.

Anonymous March 19, 2010, 6:48 PM

hang him by his balls

Mandy March 19, 2010, 9:42 PM

Gotta agree with Lisa R here.

Jon March 20, 2010, 2:19 AM

@momoftwo: Wow, you have no business making important decisions. This kid is 15 freaking years old. How dare you say such a useless, heartless comment. So, our children can’t be children and make mistakes now? Maybe if your 13 year old tries to drive the car for a little joy ride and kills someone, we should try her as an adult and let her rot in prison for the rest of her life? That helps no one. This kid needs counseling, it is obvious that he never dealt with his brother’s death appropriately.

He needs counseling and monitoring, not prison. I hope you don’t abandon your kids as readily as you abandon other children. How horribly misguided you are…

Anonymous March 20, 2010, 2:20 AM

seems legit to me. she’ll think twice next time. stumbling on.

Mander March 20, 2010, 2:24 AM

Good for him. Women are rarely held responsible for their actions, even though they’re supposed to be “equal.” This guy sounds like a true feminist to me, because I’m sure he would have done the same to a boy.

samael March 20, 2010, 2:41 AM

“What ever the reason;even if she had just slapped him,how can this guy even think about laying his hands on a girl. This guy is sick and desreves what he gets,through our legal system.”
- leo

while i agree that this boy needs to be punished for his crimes, i do not agree with you’re statement. the fact that the person he attacked was female is not important. you state in your comment that even if she had slaped him he should not have faught back, i disagree. if someone attacked me i would fight back, regardless of gender.

Kristin March 20, 2010, 8:08 AM

It’s very disturbing to read some of these comments from those thinking its OK for this boy to nearly kill this girl over a text message. He wore steel-toe boots and smashed her skull on a cement sidewalk. This is what she deserves?

Really? You would condone or commit violence on a female who wrote, said or did anything to offend you? Mander and Samael and a few others, that’s what it sounds like here. Class acts, all of you. Bullies, more like it, condoning violence on the smaller and defenseless.

I’m having a hard time working up the sympathy for this future serial killer here. His family obviously is screwed-up. They never should have had kids. The father was in and out of jail and they lived in a trailer park. It’s too bad the brother hung himself and this future serial killer found him. But that doesn’t give him the right to go kill anyone, let alone a defenseless girl who is smaller and weaker than him. Why didn’t he go after some big hulk? Why a little girl? Does anyone honestly think he hasn’t heard bad comments about his brother from anyone else? If you don’t think so, you don’t remember what it was like to be a teenager.

I do. 30 years ago I nearly had my head bashed in with a rock by two boys I went to school with. I hadn’t done anything to provoke the attack. The only thing I can think of was that I was small, shy, artistic and different, not like the tough little feral animals in my small working class town. My childhood was essentially destroyed because of these two spreading stories about what they did, marking me for life. I was terrorized by my classmates from 1st grade up until high school graduation. I’ve seen violence. And bullies get offended by you just breathing apparently, they will make stuff up just to get at you. You don’t even have to say or do anything offensive. What this boy did is no surprise, and it could have been me. Kids aren’t getting “more violent”. They always have been. Wake up.

No one deserves this. This little girl doesn’t deserve death from a deranged sociopath over a stupid comment. I hope she recovers and finds a beautiful life away from such disgusting examples of human flesh.

Anna March 20, 2010, 8:38 AM

I think the issue is not that he got angry and attacked her, but that he beat her half to death. I think the kid should go to juvenile camp and take some serious counseling sessions on anger management and probably grief counseling as well. To be frank that girl probably deserved to be whooped for what she did, but her life should not have been put in danger for it.


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