Late Monday afternoon, Debbie Piscitella, 46, went shopping with her 13-year-old daughter at the Tyrone Square Mall in St. Petersburg. Her daughter pointed out a 14-year-old boy who had posted comments about her earlier that day on Facebook. As reported by the Daily Mail
, the boy posted, "She's so ugly I wouldn't even rape her." He made the posting after the girl posted pictures of herself taken at a weekend concert.
Piscitella approached the boy and allegedly grabbed his backpack before putting her hands around his neck and choking him. Although she later told police she barely touched him, her story was contradicted by one of the store's security cameras.
After the alleged assault, the enraged mother yelled at the youth who called police. When officers arrived, they called the boy's mother who said she did not want to press charges. But as reported by WTSP
, when her son came home and she saw the red marks on his neck, she changed her mind.
Piscitella was arrested at her home later that night. She was charged with one count of child abuse and was released the next day on $5,000 bail.
According to the Tampa Bay Times
, earlier that day the girl's father went online and told the boy to stop making the comments. The youth responded by posting more insulting remarks. Jim Piscitella, 47, told the newspaper, "It was just vulgar. It was just mean."
It's not known whether Debbie Piscitella gave the police a statement or not but she did post one on Facebook. The Daily Mail
reports she posted,
I shouldn't have done that. But you all do not even come close to understanding all the torment they have put my child through. I had 6 different Pinellas county sheriff's officers tell me that if that were their child and the same thing would have happened that they would have done worse than what I did, and they said they understood exactly why I did it.
The sheriff's officers may in fact have understood why she did it but the boy's mother was not sympathetic. Keysha Tipton, 38, who once taught anger management and parenting, was quoted in the Tampa Bay Times
By all means if my son has to apologize for what he said he will be apologizing. But regardless of how mad you get, you don't put your hands on anybody—especially a child.
St. Petersburg police spokesman Mike Puetz told the Times that police never hear about cyberbullying unless they are called to clean up the aftermath.
Piscitella and her husband shut down their daughter's Facebook account.