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PEI News: Father speaks for late son Achi-News

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PEI News: Father speaks for late son


Achi news desk-

The first ever Cyberbullying Awareness Day on Prince Edward Island may have passed but for the father of the boy the day was created to remember, the job is nowhere near done.

Carl Burke spoke to nursing students about suicide at the University of PEI on Friday morning.

His son, Harry Burke, aged 17, died after falling victim to a sextortion scam.

“Harry came over and said, ‘Dad, I screamed,’ and I said, ‘Well, what did you do?’ and he had said, ‘I shared pictures with a girl.'”

But she wasn’t a girl. The scammer demanded money, threatening to expose Harry to his friends, family, bosses and colleagues if the teenager did not pay them back.

Pictured is Harry Burke. (Source: Carl Burke)“This individual contacted my wife and said, ‘I’m going to ruin his life, and ruin his career,'” Burke said. “I think that hit Harry hard, because he didn’t feel like he was safe anywhere.”

Less than 24 hours later, the boy was dead. That was a year ago.

Burke said it’s a hurt that will never go away.

“It’s the last thing I think about when I go to bed at night, and the first thing I think about when my feet hit the floor in the morning,” Burke said.

Burke said his son was a bright young man, driven to make the world a better place. He was a new Canadian reservist just one weekend away from finishing basic training.

Pictured is Harry Burke. (Source: Carl Burke)On Thursday, PEI marked its first Cyberbullying Awareness Day in Harry’s memory.

“It’s so special, so important, and it will help people stand up and take notice. ‘I need to know what my kids are doing on that phone,’” Burke said.

It raises awareness of how vulnerable children and teenagers are online and how they are being targeted.

Burke said he is going to continue to tell his son’s story, over and over again, in the hope that no family will face the same heartbreak as his family.

For more news about Prince Edward Island visit our dedicated provincial page.


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