(NBC) – Six teens in Massachusetts are being charged as adults in the suicide death of high school freshman Phoebe Prince.
The Irish immigrant hanged herself in January. Prosecutors say she spent months tormented and bullied by fellow students.
None of the three Massachusetts teens arraigned on felony criminal and civil rights charges appeared in court. Instead, lawyers representing them entered not guilty pleas in what has become a watershed case for school bullying.
Prosecutors say "unrelenting" verbal abuse and physical threats against the 15-year-old Prince led her to commit suicide.
Two of the teens, Austin Renaud, 18, and Sean Mulveyhill, 17, were formally charged with statutory rape. Six teens in all are charged as adults, including three 16-year-old girls who will be arraigned Thursday.
Friends say the group became jealous of Prince, who had recently moved from Ireland and reportedly dated both male suspects.
"She was new. She was pretty," said Tara Berard, one of Prince's friends. "She was dating the football player, and his girlfriend got jealous."
The 10-week investigation included recorded and written statements, along with computer evidence.
Prosecutors say for three months and on the day Prince hanged herself, she was taunted and threatened at school and online.
School leaders say teachers did take action once learning about the bullying, but the case's prosector chided school officials for knowing of the abuse, and not doing more to stop it.
The defendants are not in police custody, but as a condition of their release, the teens must stay away from members of the Prince family.