The problem with notoriety is that once you have it, your every screw-up is news. That’s the hard lesson Austin Renaud, 18, is learning today. He is one of the six teenagers facing criminal charges relating to the bullying of Phoebe Prince, the 15-year-old girl who committed suicide in January, in South Hadley, Mass. Renaud was only charged with statutory rape, while the other teens are facing charges carrying heavier penalties that directly relate to the bullying. Some people in town have expressed some sympathy for him-after all, most 18-year-old guys who get involved with 15-year-old girls don’t find themselves in court. But now Renaud has been picked up for drunk driving. From the Boston Herald :
Officer Kristin Leary, who arrived as backup, said in the report that Renaud had a “moderate odor of alcohol” on his breath, slurred speech and was swaying as he stood with bloodshot eyes. The report said he told officers he had not been drinking, but voluntarily took sobriety tests, which showed a blood alcohol level of .15.
Renaud’s license has been taken away, and he has an 8 p.m. curfew-and he has to face another round of press coverage. Will prosecutors take into account how much Renaud’s life has already changed in deciding what punishment to ask the judge for?