With their key witness dead, prosecutors on Wednesday dropped criminal charges against the older student, saying they had no case without the accuser's testimony.
How about the confession? That's at least statutory rape.
"People wanted to beat her up — people who were friends of Joe," said Ayla Raines, who also attended Huron High School. "Not to her face. She heard from other people that they wanted to beat her up."
Another student, Calie Bouchard, said 14-year-old Samantha was confronted once in the lunch room by a group of girls who insisted she was lying.
"She started breaking down in tears," Calie said.
Principal Donovan Rowe said school officials investigated the alleged bullying and found nothing overt. Rowe said on occasion he walked behind Samantha as she went from class to class and witnessed no harassment.
And since he didn't see any cheating or doping while walking around for everyone to see, then I guess there's no cheating or doping at the school either.
Huron Township police said Justice brought her daughter to the station on Sept. 27, a day after the encounter with Tarnopolski, to file a sexual assault report. At the time it was considered a statutory rape case, meaning the pair had consensual sex but that she was under the age of consent.
Tarnopolski told WJBK that he had sex with Samantha, but it was a "mutual thing."
It can't be mutual between an 18-year-old and a 14-year-old in this day and age. Not when they are both in high school and she is not responsible for herself.
"She told me she was being extremely bullied, and it was extremely stressful," said 16-year-old Devyn Waldecker, a neighbor in the Huron Estates mobile home park. "People bumped into her in the hallways at school. On two occasions after school, people tried to jump her."
Waldecker, who attends another school, wanted to help the girl she had befriended just this past June, but "really didn't know what to do."
"I told her I was there for her — anything she needed from me," Waldecker said.
Samantha didn't deserve such an ordeal, said Devyn's mother, Shannon Waldecker. "Sam was a very sweet, soft-spoken person and very honest."
A word for Tarnopolski: Even if you suffer no criminal consequence, we never really get away with anything. One way or another, we are held accountable for our sins. If you really didn't force yourself on her, then learn a lesson and never, ever have sex again with someone who doesn't have the age or sobriety or consciousness to consent. If you did force yourself on her, you'd better get yourself under control - if for no other reason than someday, you just might pick a woman who will be able and willing to fight back.
Bullying and suicide has been in the news a lot lately. Will this get the same attention, or are some people more important than others?