Prosecutor Undecided on Charging Santa Rosa Mom in Bullying Case

A frustrated mother of six sobbed uncontrollably outside a Northern California courtroom Thursday after prosecutors announced they were still undecided on whether to file charges accusing her of attacking a 12-year-old boy who is alleged to have bullied her daughter.

It all began on May 16 when Delia Garcia-Bratcher, 30, went to two of her children's Santa Rosa elementary school to discuss registration with an administrator and came across the boy thought to be her daughter's tormenter eating his lunch. From there, accounts diverge dramatically.

The boy says Garcia-Bratcher yelled at him and grabbed him by the throat. Administrators called police after they noticed red marks on the boy's neck. Garcia-Bratcher was arrested the next day and released several hours later after posting $30,000 bail.

The Sonoma County Sheriff's Department says deputies have spoken to two students who say they witnessed an attack, but the investigation has been hampered by a lack of adult witnesses.

Garcia-Bratcher acknowledges confronting the boy, but she denies touching him. Garcia-Bratcher and her attorney Ben Adams say the boy is lying and have suggested that he put his own hands around his neck to leave a mark. A private investigator's report commissioned by Adams cites a 10-year-old student saying he watched the boy choke himself shortly after the confrontation.

Judge Dana Simonds granted Sonoma County deputy district attorney Bill Brockley's request for more time to investigate before deciding whether criminal charges are warranted. The next court date is scheduled Aug. 28.

Brockley declined comment outside court.

The hearing Thursday was Garcia-Bratcher's third time appearing in court since her arrest and she was visibly frustrated outside court.

Adams argued that the delay in deciding on whether to charge ``shows what type of case they have.'' Adams said he and Garcia-Bratcher arrived at court Thursday expecting an announcement that no charges were to be filed.

``This is ridiculous,'' Adams said outside court while his client peered out a hallway window and cried. ``She is obviously upset. School is starting in a few weeks...this is getting very frustrating.''

Garcia-Bratcher pulled her two children out of the Santa Rosa school after her arrest and home schooled them, Adams said. He said that Garcia-Bratcher is planning on sending them to a different school within the district when classes resume next month.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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