Students facing criminal charges after rap lyrics posted online

COLORADO — Following a dispute between two groups of Loveland High School students, six teens face criminal harassment charges after a threatening rap song was posted on a student’s Web site.

On Feb. 11, a parent of one of the students mentioned in the song notified the Loveland Police Department of the matter after her child found a link to it from a MySpace page, said Loveland Police Department Sgt. Benjamin Hurr. After the song gained attention from police and the local media, the students removed the song from the Web, Hurr said.

Hurr said the song, which was created to retaliate against another group of students, featured lyrics such as “My fists are my best friends — you’re about to meet them too” and others that threatened violence.

“You have got to keep in mind that this is a fairly small group in number of students in the school who feel they are being picked on by other kids in the school,” Hurr said.

Jonathan McEvoy, an 18-year-old senior and Nicholas Gagnon, a 19-year-old friend of the students, are among those responsible for creating and posting the song to the Web, according to Loveland police. The other two students involved with the offensive song are minors and police would not release their names, as are the other two students who police say initially started the dispute.

In addition to the harassment charges, Jonathan McEvoy and the other Loveland High School students were suspended from classes “because they were issued summons by the police for violation of the law,” said Wes Fothergill, Thompson Valley School District spokesman.

Claire McEvoy, Jonathan’s mother, said the students were suspended from the school for a week for posting the song.

Jonathan McEvoy said in a voicemail that he “would like to talk” about the situation, but his attorney advised him not to. Gagnon could not be reached for comment.

Fothergill said a mother of one of the students mentioned in the song alerted Loveland High School officials of the MySpace posting and the threatening lyrics. School officials then alerted Loveland police about the song because of its threatening nature and because the incident occurred off of school grounds.

Fothergill said that while student expression off of school grounds is beyond the school district’s jurisdiction, the students were suspended because of the harassment charges and the situation “directly impacts the nature of teaching and learning in school.”

“We have a lot of kids involved with Web sites like that and it is their business on non- school time,” Fothergill said.

Claire McEvoy said the case is scheduled to be heard in Larimer County Court on March 22.

By Jared Taylor, SPLC staff writer