HOLYOKE, Mass. – A Massachusetts teenager charged in connection with the bullying of a 15-year-old girl who committed suicide was placed on a curfew Tuesday after pleading not guilty to drunken driving.

Austin Renaud, 18, was arraigned in Holyoke District Court. Judge Mark Mason released him on personal recognizance with an 8 p.m. to 7 a.m. curfew and ordered him to avoid drugs and alcohol, enforced with random testing.

Renaud has pleaded not guilty to statutory rape in the bullying case. Five other teens have pleaded not guilty to various charges in what prosecutors said was the “unrelenting” bullying of Phoebe Prince at South Hadley High School.

After Tuesday’s hearing, Renaud’s lawyer, Terrence Dunphy, was asked by a reporter how difficult the legal troubles have been on his client.

“Being indicted or being charged with crimes is the worst experience you could probably have and for a young kid his age, it’s not good,” he said.

Dunphy was asked if Renaud was shocked by the media attention. “I don’t think he’s shocked by it,” he said. “He’s sort of amazed by the amount of publicity and attention it’s garnered throughout the world.”

The publicity surrounding the bullying case came up after he was stopped by police early Sunday morning.

Officer Kristin Leary, a former South Hadley officer, asked Renaud why his name sounded familiar. In the arrest report, she said he told her “his name is all over the paper for another incident.”

The arrest report does not say whether Renaud is in school, saying that he is a busboy at a Springfield restaurant. A manager at the restaurant would not comment Tuesday on his employment status.

The superintendent’s office at South Hadley High School, citing confidentiality rules, would not say whether Renaud is a student there.

Under state law, his driver’s license was suspended automatically for 30 days because he failed a breathalyzer test and for another 180 days because he is under 21, the state Registry of Motor Vehicles said.

Holyoke Police Chief Anthony Scott said Renaud was arrested early Sunday on a charge of operating under the influence of alcohol.

According to the police report, Renaud was parked at the side of a street with his hazard lights flashing at about 3 a.m. When Sgt. Richard Stuart pulled up behind him, Renaud handed over his driver’s license and said he had hit a curb and had a flat tire.

Leary, who arrived as backup, said in the report that Renaud had a “moderate odor of alcohol” on his breath, his eyes were bloodshot, his speech was slurred and he was swaying as he stood. The report said he told officers he had not been drinking, but voluntarily took sobriety tests, which showed a blood alcohol level of .15.

Prosecutors have said Prince, an Irish immigrant, endured months of verbal assaults and threats, mostly at school but also on Facebook and through other electronic forms, after she briefly dated a popular boy.

Prince hanged herself at her family’s apartment Jan. 14. Earlier that day, she was taunted in the school library and as she walked home, crying, according to court documents.

School officials have been criticized for not doing more to stop the alleged abuse. School Superintendent Gus Sayer said administrators were not aware of it until Jan. 7, when two teachers reported separate incidents to the principal.


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