Charges dropped against mom who put recorder in bullied daughter’s backpack

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Charges have been dropped against the Norfolk mother who put a digital audio recorder in her daughter’s backpack. The Norfolk Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office says it asked the judge to dismiss all charges after the office had a chance to thoroughly review the case.

10 On Your Side first reported last week that Sarah Sims was charged with felony use of device to intercept oral communication and misdemeanor contributing to the delinquency of a minor. The felony charge could have carried five years in prison.

Our resulting review of the report and the law finds the evidence does support probable cause for the 2 charges against Ms. Sims; however, after reviewing the facts and circumstances specific to this case, this Office is exercising prosecutorial discretion to not pursue the prosecution of this case.  This morning (11/29/17), the Court granted this Office’s motion to dismiss the charges against Ms. Sims.  This criminal case is now concluded and this Office has no further comment to provide.

Sims told 10 On Your Side her 9-year-old daughter was getting bullied at Ocean View Elementary. She claims repeated calls and emails to the school went unreturned. “The thing that bothers me the most is that I am yet to get a response from anyone in the administration,” Sims added.

Sims said she took actions into her own hands. She wanted to prove that nothing was being done to help her 4th grade daughter. She put a digital recorder into her daughter’s backpack in hopes of catching audio from inside the classroom.

“If I’m not getting an answer from you what am I left to do?” Sims asked.

The girl took the recorder out of her backpack and put it on her desk. That’s where the recorder was found. She has since been moved to a new classroom.

“I was mortified,” Sims said. “The next thing I know I’m a felon. Felony charges and a misdemeanor when I’m trying to look out for my kid. What do you do?”

When 10 On Your Side contacted Norfolk Public Schools last week, we were told because it is a pending investigation no one could comment on what happened.

Sims was scheduled to have a preliminary hearing Jan. 18.

10 On Your Side’s Jason Marks just got out of the courtroom and will have reaction from Sims and prosecutors today on WAVY News 10.

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