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News Story
Updated: 10/21/2013 11:47:29AM

Mother of one charged in bullying arrested

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Guadalupe Shaw

Katelyn Roman

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Polk County Sheriff’s Office detectives arrested Vivian Vosburg, 30, on Friday, Oct. 18 and charged her with two counts of child abuse with bodily harm, and four counts of child neglect.

According to the affidavit on Thursday, Oct. 17, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office received several tips from residents about a video posted on the social media site Facebook. The video was of two juvenile subjects fighting, an adult female punching the fighting juveniles and screaming profanities, and several other juveniles shouting profanities and moving around in what appears to be a bedroom of a residence. A total of six juveniles ranging in ages from 9-14 were observed in the video, the sheriff’s office reports.

The adult was identified as Vivian Vosburg, Vosburg is Guadalupe Shaw’s mother.

Guadalupe Shaw,14, was arrested on Monday, Oct. 14, and charged with aggravated stalking in an unrelated investigation involving the suicide of Rebecca Sedwick.

Vosburg has access to all six of the juveniles seen in the video. The video was posted on Facebook early in July 2013, by one of the juveniles Vosburg has access to, and who was in the room at the time of the incident.

Polk County Sheriff’s Office detectives contacted the Department of Children and Families and contact was made with each child in the video to determine their well-being.

The children were located at their schools, the sheriff’s office reported.

Safety plans were implemented by a DCF Child Protective Investigator.

After ensuring the children’s safety, detectives contacted Vosburg. On late Thursday, Vosburg agreed to a non-custodial interview and told detectives the video was of her breaking up a fight. Vosburg admitted she is the woman in the video, and admitted to punching one of the juveniles in the face with a fist and punching the second juvenile several times on the back of the head and between his shoulders. She stated she continued to hit one juvenile, after the other fell to the floor, because he was attempting get up from the bed. Vosburg said she knew she should not have hit the juveniles with her fists.

After reviewing the video, detectives conferred with the State Attorney’s Office regarding potential charges against Vosburg. A warrant was issued for Vosburg’s arrest on Friday, Oct. 18, the sheriff’s office reports.

“This video was easily located on the juvenile’s public social media page as recently as 9 a.m. Friday, Oct. 18. It is clear, not only has Vosburg demonstrated she cannot control the behavior of children she has access to without using violence, but she is obviously not monitoring the social media sites of children she has access to either,” Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said in a press release.

Though officials say this arrest is not connected to the case involving her daughter some have wondered if they were their parents should they be held responsible?

The mother and father of the older girl went on national TV and defended their daughter — and themselves. They said they often checked their daughter’s social networking activity and don’t believe their daughter bullied Rebecca Sedwick to suicide, as authorities have charged.

One of the two girls charged is presently housed in the Polk juvenile detention facilities and the other, the 12-year-old, is on home detention and not allowed to resume classes at Crystal Lake Middle School.

Polk County school board officials have remained mum about the case and referred bullying punishment questions to the school district’s student code of conduct, or said it would not comment citing student privacy issues.

Under the code, a student facing felony charges can be assigned to an alternative education center and there are three such schools in Polk County: the Bill Duncan Opportunity Center in Lakeland, the Donald Woods Opportunity Center in Dundee and the B.E.S.T. School in Auburndale.

It had not been determined Friday whether either of the two students would be reassigned to an opportunity center or returned to a regular school.

In an interview with ABC News that aired Wednesday, the 14-year-old’s parents said their daughter would never write something like that and the girl’s Facebook account had been hacked, a claim police don’t believe.

“My daughter don’t deserve to be in the place she’s in right now and I just hope that the truth comes to the surface so we can get out of this nightmare,” her father told ABC News.

A day earlier, he told The Associated Press by phone: “My daughter’s a good girl and I’m 100 percent sure that whatever they’re saying about my daughter is not true.”

The girls were charged as juveniles with third-degree felony aggravated stalking. The sheriff said even if they are convicted, they probably won’t spend time in juvenile detention because they don’t have a criminal history.

He identified the girls and showed their mug shots during the news conference.

Police also considered charging the parents, but so far can’t prove complacency or that they knew, sheriff’s spokesman Scott Wilder said.

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