Teen Commits Suicide Due to Bullying: Parents Sue School for Son's Death

In October, 14-year-old Jeremiah Lasater, who had been taunted and even had food thrown at him during lunch, locked himself in his Acton, Calif., high school bathroom and shot himself in the head.

In 2006, a St. Louis 13-year-old killed herself in a cyberbullying case. After she was taunted over the Internet, Megan Meier hanged herself in the closet of her family's home. Friends later said the suicide was triggered by a message, "The world would be a better place without you."

'Twiggy' Teased With Gay Slurs

Eric Mohat -- whose friends knew him as "Twiggy" for his lean, 6-foot-1-inch, 112-pound physique -- had a dry wit and musical talent, according to his mother, Jan Mohat. He had played piano for 13 years, enjoyed video games, anime, Harry Potter books and "cracking puzzles."

"By all indications he was a very nice, typical high school kid, kind of quiet and shy, but outgoing with his little group of friends," said the family's lawyer Ken Myers. "He seemed to have a quirky sense of humor and was also very sensitive."

The bullying "accumulated over time," Myers told ABCNews.com. "In math class, two or three picked on him constantly and mercilessly. Most of it was verbal, but they did some things like sitting behind him and flicking him in the ear, sticking stuff in his hoodie and putting eraser shavings on his head. Out of class they would shove him in lockers."

Much of the taunting was related to him being considered gay, though Eric Mohat's parents said the teen "didn't identify himself that way," Myers said.

"He may have looked effeminate, was in theater and would wear bright clothes," said Myers. "He was a skinny kid, and so the kids found something that bothered him and went for that."

The parents say Eric Mohat routinely ignored the teasing but complained to the teacher, who responded by moving the bullies' desks.

"The next day, they were back and it made it worse," said Myers. "They may have thought he was a snitch and the parents didn't know how bad it was."

Bullies Showed No Remorse

But March 29, 2007, one bully pushed Eric Mohat too far with a remark about killing himself, the lawsuit alleges. The teen took a legally registered gun from his father's bureau drawer, locked himself in his room and shot himself in the head.

At the time, Eric Mohat's older sister, Erin, was on a treadmill exercising. His after-school employer called their home to find out why he had not shown up at work.

Erin Mohat found her brother's body in his bedroom and called 911. Now 21, his sister is studying to be a school psychologist, something Jan Mohat said is now "a calling."

"My sister is my hero," Eric Mohat had written on his MySpace page, though she was too late to save him.

Later authorities found a story Eric Mohat had begun to write about bullying. Days before, he had told his mother about the nonstop taunts in both class and in the hallways of the high school.

The family said school officials had been resistant to cooperate in the investigation and had insisted bullying was not a problem; the bullies never showed remorse.

"This is the first we heard that a suit was filed," said Justin Maynor, communications director for the Mentor Public School District. "We had a hunch it was coming."

Mentor High School, with 2,900 students, is one of the largest high schools in Ohio. It sits in a predominantly white, upper middle-class community surrounded by malls, 30 miles east of Cleveland.

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