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Thread: Online Harassment Law Texas

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    Online Harassment Law Texas

    http://www.cbs11tv.com/video?id=56644@ktvt.dayport.com


    Man accused of faking personals ads on Craigslist charged with online harassment in Denton County | Texas Cable News | TXCN.com | News for Texas | Local News: TV
    Man accused of faking personals ads on Craigslist charged with online harassment in Denton County

    12:00 AM CDT on Saturday, August 14, 2010

    By LIZ MARTINEZ / The Dallas Morning News
    ldcmartinez@dallasnews.com

    Michael Martin never anticipated he'd receive so many phone calls, e-mails and text messages after posting an ad on Craigslist to sell an old boat.

    The Denton man received many predictable requests at first, but he soon was hearing from dozens of men who were after more than his 20-foot Bayliner.

    "As soon as I'd hang up, it would ring again," said Martin, who is married with a teenage stepdaughter. "I know if I ever go that direction, I won't be lonely."

    The requests for companionship began after one message that didn't quite float his boat.

    "Your boat's not worth it," the e-mail read.

    Martin's said he replied, "I guess you won't be a buyer then."

    But authorities say the man who sent the initial message, 58-year-old Clark Friesen of Azle, kept at it. Friesen was arrested last week and is the first person charged in Denton County with online harassment under a state law passed in 2009.

    Friesen's attorney said his client, who has a hearing scheduled for Aug. 30, is innocent.

    "The charges are unfounded," said J. Warren St. John, a Fort Worth lawyer.

    Martin, 42, said he was flooded with phone calls from men after he and Friesen exchanged several bitter e-mails in February in what Martin calls a "testosterone contest."

    A few of the men who called Martin told him they'd found him on Craigslist's "men seeking men" section.

    Shocked, he searched the site and discovered his contact information and a graphic photo of a man that Martin said "I could only wish was me."

    Martin had the ad removed, but the calls didn't cease. His phone number and e-mail address were posted on another Craigslist ad in a similar section.

    With an idea about who was responsible for the unsolicited attention, he said he researched online and found that he wasn't the first victim.

    Martin's aunt knew someone in the Denton County district attorney's office who handles cyber-crime cases. When Martin learned he would need more evidence to pursue a case, he decided to let the matter rest.

    "I didn't have the smoking gun," he said.

    But then the calls started again. And Martin said he was told "this had only just begun."

    That message was enough to persuade the Denton County's Sheriff Department to investigate, and officials soon discovered Friesen is a registered sex offender.

    When Arezow Doost at KTVT-TV (Channel 11) reported on the case in February, it wasn't clear whether Craigslist could be defined as a social networking site such as Facebook or MySpace, as stated under the harassment law.

    But the law can be interpreted to include Craigslist, said Jamie Beck, first assistant at the Denton County DA's office.

    "This list is not exhaustive," she said.

    After a months-long investigation, a grand jury returned anindictment against Friesen, who turned himself in on the third-degree felony harassment charge a week ago.

    Although Martin's ordeal has gained him plenty of attention – he said he been contacted by Dr. Phil McGraw's people – he stressed that the case is for everybody who's ever been wronged online.

    "It became bigger than me," he said.

    As for the boat, Martin ended up giving it away.
    Denton County Charges Man With Online Harrassment - cbs11tv.com
    Aug 10, 2010 10:11 pm US/Central Denton County Charges Man With Online Harrassment Reporting
    Arezow Doost DENTON (CBS 11 / TXA 21)

    For the first time, Denton County has charged a man with online harassment for posting another man's e-mail address and phone number without permission in the "men seeking men" section of Craigslist, an online classifieds website.

    Mike Martin, 42, tried to sell his boat on Craigslist in February and received insulting messages from Wesley Clark Friesen.

    Soon after, Martin began receiving phone callas and e-mail messages from men soliciting sex, he said. He alleges that Friesen posted his contact information in the "men seeking men" section.

    "It was basically these men calling me to solicit sex, and I kindly said, 'Well, you got the wrong cowboy,'" Martin said.

    Martin said the frequent messages made him fear for his family's safety. Friesen, who is a registered sex offender and on probation, turned himself in Saturday. He is charged with online harassment, a new law that was passed in 2009.

    Martin was first told his case didn't meet the law's criteria, because the District Attorney's office was unsure that Craigslist was considered a commercial networking website as defined by the law.

    But the county found an exception and is now moving ahead. It will be the first of its kind in Denton County.

    "This case is making history and it's going to help a lot of people in the future," Martin said. "You can't hide behind a computer keyboard anymore; Denton has stepped up."

    Friesen called Martin a "whiner and a crybaby" when asked about the accusations.

    "We are in the process of investigating the accusations," said J. Warren St. John, Friesen's attorney. "He will be cleared for the charge."

    The District Attorney's office said Friesen will be arraigned in three-to-four weeks, and also expects the online harassment charge to be tweaked to include Craigslist and similar websites in the next Legislative session.
    (© MMX, CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.)
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    Re: Online Harassment Law Texas

    Texas
    AN ACT
    relating to the creation of the offense of online harassment.
    BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
    SECTION 1. Chapter 33, Penal Code, is amended by adding
    Section 33.07 to read as follows:
    SEC. 33.07. ONLINE HARASSMENT. (a) A person commits an offense if the person uses the name or persona of another person to create a web page on or to post one or more messages on a commercial social networking site:
    (1) without obtaining the other person's consent; and
    (2) with the intent to harm, defraud, intimidate, or threaten any person.
    (b) A person commits an offense if the person sends an electronic mail, instant message, text message, or similar communication that references a name, domain address, phone number, or other item of identifying information belonging to any person:
    (1) without obtaining the other person's consent;
    (2) with the intent to cause a recipient of the communication to reasonably believe that the other person authorized or transmitted the communication; and
    (3) with the intent to harm or defraud any person.
    (c) An offense under Subsection (a) is a felony of the third degree. An offense under Subsection (b) is a Class A misdemeanor, except that the offense is a felony of the third degree if the actor commits the offense with the intent to solicit a response by emergency personnel.
    (d) If conduct that constitutes an offense under this section also constitutes an offense under any other law, the actor may be prosecuted under this section, the other law, or both.
    (e) It is a defense to prosecution under this section that the actor is any of the following entities or that the actor's conduct consisted solely of action taken as an employee of any of the following entities:
    (1) a commercial social networking site;
    (2) an Internet service provider;
    (3) an interactive computer service, as defined by 47 U.S.C. Section 230;
    (4) a telecommunications provider, as defined by Section 51.002, Utilities Code; or
    (f) In this section:
    (1) "Commercial social networking site" means any business, organization, or other similar entity operating a website that permits persons to become registered users for the purpose of establishing personal relationships with other users through direct or real-time communication with other users or the creation of web pages or profiles available to the public or to other users. The term does not include an electronic mail program or a message board program.
    (2) "Identifying information" has the meaning assigned by Section 32.51.
    SECTION 2. This Act takes effect September 1, 2009.

    Sec. 42.07. HARASSMENT. (a) A person commits an offense if, with intent to harass, annoy, alarm, abuse, torment, or embarrass another, he:

    (1) initiates communication by telephone, in writing, or by electronic communication and in the course of the communication makes a comment, request, suggestion, or proposal that is obscene;

    (2) threatens, by telephone, in writing, or by electronic communication, in a manner reasonably likely to alarm the person receiving the threat, to inflict bodily injury on the person or to commit a felony against the person, a member of his family or household, or his property;

    (3) conveys, in a manner reasonably likely to alarm the person receiving the report, a false report, which is known by the conveyor to be false, that another person has suffered death or serious bodily injury;

    (4) causes the telephone of another to ring repeatedly or makes repeated telephone communications anonymously or in a manner reasonably likely to harass, annoy, alarm, abuse, torment, embarrass, or offend another;

    (5) makes a telephone call and intentionally fails to hang up or disengage the connection;

    (6) knowingly permits a telephone under the person's control to be used by another to commit an offense under this section; or

    (7) sends repeated electronic communications in a manner reasonably likely to harass, annoy, alarm, abuse, torment, embarrass, or offend another.

    (b) In this section:

    (1) "Electronic communication" means a transfer of signs, signals, writing, images, sounds, data, or intelligence of any nature transmitted in whole or in part by a wire, radio, electromagnetic, photoelectronic, or photo-optical system. The term includes:

    (A) a communication initiated by electronic mail, instant message, network call, or facsimile machine; and

    (B) a communication made to a pager.

    (2) "Family" and "household" have the meaning assigned by Chapter 71, Family Code.

    (3) "Obscene" means containing a patently offensive description of or a solicitation to commit an ultimate sex act, including sexual intercourse, masturbation, cunnilingus, fellatio, or anilingus, or a description of an excretory function.

    (c) An offense under this section is a Class B misdemeanor, except that the offense is a Class A misdemeanor if the actor has previously been convicted under this section.

    Acts 1973, 63rd Leg., p. 883, ch. 399, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1974. Amended by Acts 1983, 68th Leg., p. 2204, ch. 411, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1983; Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 10, Sec. 1, eff. March 19, 1993; Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 900, Sec. 1.01, eff. Sept. 1, 1994; Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 657, Sec. 1, eff. June 14, 1995; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 62, Sec. 15.02(d), eff. Sept. 1, 1999; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1222, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2001.

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    Re: Online Harassment Law Texas

    Thanks, SBM, for posting this.
    The more I am around people, the more I like my dog !!

    http://www.asdupdates.com/wordpress

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    Re: Online Harassment Law Texas

    You are welcome. I think another fascinating case will be in the local and national media soon. I can't wait to report on that one. Stay tuned!

    Soapboxmom

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    Re: Online Harassment Law Texas

    Spurs announcer arrested for 'online spoofing'

    Thu Sep 02,2010 11:45 AM ET By Rick Chandler

    In one of the first cases of its kind in Texas, a San Antonio sports promoter who also worked as an announcer for the Spurs, Rampage and Missions has been thrown in the hoosegow for using a fake Twitter account to badger a television reporter. No, not Erin Andrews. From the San Antonio Express-News:
    Mike Lavender, 36, has been charged with one count of online harassment-spoofing, an addition to the state's penal code that one legislator said is intended to protect people against anonymous online attackers.
    Hear that, Out of Bounds commenters? The law is coming for you.

    Lavender was released Saturday from Bexar County Jail after posting $3,500 bail. Police say he used the Twitter handle @SkanksInSA411 in June to harass a 33-year-old reporter -- the newspaper is withholding her name -- by claiming that she was having an affair with a married man.
    Texas' House Bill 2003, which took effect last September, makes it illegal to send anonymous e-mails, texts or instant messages or communicate through social networking sites if the intent is to harm, defraud or intimidate another person.
    In January, a man south of Houston was arrested after a fraudulent dating site account was set up for a woman. The next month, a Houston woman was charged with online harassment after a job posting was created on craigslist.com under the guise of her former employer.
    Other states also are grappling with the issue. The California Legislature passed a bill last month that would make it a misdemeanor to impersonate another person with criminal intent. The online impersonation must be of an actual person and both credible and without the other person's consent. It awaits the governor's signature.
    So, I guess, all you sports bloggers out there who post anonymously ... see you on visitors day!
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    More dirtballs are getting popped! You never know who might be next!!!

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    And, There's a Lawyer for That!!!!

    Posted On: June 8, 2010 by Michael J. Brown </STRONG>
    Federal Internet Crimes Are Often Prosecuted in Texas Federal Courts

    Five Common Types of Internet Crimes
    Internet crimes run the gamut from dizzyingly technical phishing attacks to salacious matters involving pornography and online sex.
    This article will examine Five common types of online crimes.
    1. Fraud schemes
    According to the Internet Crime Complaint Center (also known as the IC3), the biggest web fraud crime (44%+ of fraud cases) is auction fraud. This involves duping victims through services like eBay. Other kinds of fraud include:
    o Confidence fraud
    o Online bank fraud
    o Credit card fraud
    o Failure to deliver merchandise
    2. Sexual/pornographic Internet crimes
    Possessing, distributing or producing sexual images of children under the age of 18 can be punished swiftly and brutally. Prosecutorial crackdowns do catch legitimate offenders; however, innocent people who make small errors in judgment and wind up in possession of illegally obscene material can get caught up in the net as well.
    3. Identity theft-related Internet crimes
    Spam and scam artists siphon tens of millions of dollars from web users annually. One popular crime is called spoofing (a.k.a. phishing). In this crime, a person sends a fake e-mail that appears to be from a legitimate business to trick the victim into giving away personal information, such as a Social Security or credit card number.
    Hacking is another kind of identity fraud. A malicious user breaks into a computer system and uses the unauthorized access to commit further crimes, such as stealing from an online bank account.
    4. Cyberstalking/harassment
    Cyberstalking can be considered legally equivalent to real world stalking -- and can be punished accordingly. The following could constitute cyberstalking:
    o Sending unwanted e-mails to a person
    o Impersonating someone in a forum or chat room
    o Spreading lies or rumors about someone on the web
    Online harassment is a sister crime. The following could constitute harassment:
    o Sending repeated annoying emails to someone
    o Threatening someone physically in an e-mail or chat room
    5. Online investment fraud
    Online fraud crimes can get very creative. A famous example is the Nigerian Letter Scam. The scam artist e-mails a victim, claiming to be a foreign businessperson or benefactor (e.g. a high-up in the Nigerian government). The rich foreigner is in desperate need of a small amount of cash to get out of a jam. The victim is encouraged to send that cash to an overseas bank account -- in exchange for a promise (never delivered, of course) of a big reward later on. Thousands of variations on the Nigerian letter scam exist.
    If you or a loved one has been arrested for an internet crime (or any other federal crime), you may need experienced legal counsel to craft a savvy defense.
    I am board certified in criminal law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. I has tried over 150 criminal cases -- in both federal and state courts. As a former prosecutor and FBI agent, as an experienced Federal Criminal Lawyer, I understand how prosecutors and judges think, and I use this perspective to develop powerful and surprising strategies for my clients.
    Please read my website at West Texas Criminal Defense Lawyer - Snyder Texas Crime Defense Attorney - Abilene, Lubbock, Midland TX Criminal Lawyer to learn more about my credentials and philosophy.
    Don’t let those burning questions keep you up at night. Get good answers and peace of mind - contact me at 325/574-2000.




    Posted by Michael J. Brown | Permalink | Email This Post
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Too bad this guy isn't near Dallas. You never know when someone around here might need this guy!!!

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    Re: Online Harassment Law Texas

    Cyberstalkers watch out! This lady is working tirelessly to help victims like me. I can't wait to join her in the very public fight to see cyber criminals prosecuted and dragged out into the light of day and fully exposed!

    Jayne Hitchcock
    President, WHOA
    Jayne A. Hitchcock is an author and internationally recognized cyber crime expert. She volunteers with the U.S. Department of Justice Office for Victims of Crime, the National Center for Victims of Crime, and numerous law enforcement agencies worldwide. Additionally, she has worked tirelessly with our legislators in the drafting and passing of many of this country's Internet laws. As president of two all-volunteer organizations, WHOA (Working to Halt Online Abuse) at haltabuse.org and WHOA-KTD (Kids/Teens Division) at haltabusektd.org, Jayne continues a mission to educate adults and children in safety online. Jayne's speaking schedule on cyber crime and cyber safety has included middle and high schools, universities and colleges. She also lectures at libraries, for staff and the public, and presents law enforcement training seminars for local, county, state, military and federal agencies. She has traveled throughout the United States and Canada and as far as London and Sookmyong University in Seoul, Korea, for speaking engagements and workshops. She has been featured on America’s Most Wanted, 48 Hours, Primetime, Good Morning America, The Montel Williams Show, Cosmpolitan magazine and numerous local, national and international newscasts, and was selected by Lifetime TV as their “Champion for Change.” Jayne's eighth book is Net Crimes and Misdemeanors 2nd edition. Video Professor purchased the rights to this book to become a 3-CD lesson, now available. Jayne is also on the editorial board of the International Journal of Cyber Crimes and Criminal Justice (IJCCCJ) at cybercrimejournal.co.nr and Centre for Cyber Victim Counseling (CCVC) at http://www.cybervictims.edu.tf/. She is a member of several organizations, including Operations Security Professionals Society, Sisters In Crime, National Writers Union, Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance, National Rifle Association (Life Member), The American Legion and the 3rd Marine Division Association (Life Member).
    Anyone involved in the slam site against me might want to take drastic action to get their names off of that despicable sight before any media coverage or action by law enforcement is taken. I will devote every moment possible to seeing that kind of criminal activity is prosecuted and widely publicized! I have the reporters ready to move on that sordid little story!

    Soapboxmom

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    Re: Online Harassment Law Texas

    Technology

    Google Ordered to Reveal Identity of 'Stalker'


    Published October 22, 2010
    | Associated Press

    AP Photo/Carla Franklin
    New York business consultant Carla Franklin (shown here) successfully petitioned a New York court to order Google to reveal the identity of the person who posted disparaging online comments and unauthorized videos of her that she sees as defamatory.


    NEW YORK – A business consultant who wants to know who's been anonymously disparaging and fixating on her online has gotten a court to force Google to tell her.
    As she joined a growing number of people who have persuaded courts to unmask troublesome cyber ciphers, Carla Franklin said Wednesday she hoped her case would help others combat similar problems.

    "The Internet cannot become a safe haven for harassers and stalkers," she said in an e-mail.

    Google Inc. declined to comment. The Mountain View, Calif.-based online giant says it doesn't discuss individual cases to protect users' privacy, but it follows applicable laws.
    A Manhattan court ruling issued Tuesday gives the company a couple of weeks to provide Franklin with identity and contact information for the person or people who posted denigrating comments and unauthorized videos of her, beginning last year.

    The videos, posted on Google-owned YouTube, were clips from an innocuous student film in which she had appeared years before, coupled with personal information about her to create an unsettling online shrine, she said. Franklin did some modeling and acting before becoming a consultant to nonprofit organizations.

    The comments, made though another YouTube channel, featured a sexual slur and were posted alongside videos she made for Columbia Business School while earning a master's degree there, she said.

    The postings were humiliating, creepy and potentially hurtful to Franklin's professional prospects, she and her lawyer have said.

    Franklin said in a blog post of her own this month that she believes she knows who's responsible, but she went to court last summer to get proof so she could potentially pursue further legal action. Her court case didn't involve Columbia.

    While anonymous commentary became an instant tradition and valued aspect of the Internet, it's also become a scourge for people and businesses who have found themselves bullied and besmirched by shadowy critics. And it's become an issue for courts trying to weigh self-expression rights against defamation and other legal claims.
    "There's a tension there — there's a First Amendment right to be able to speak anonymously, but there's no First Amendment right to violate the law," said Bennet G. Kelley, a Santa Monica, Calif., attorney who specializes in Internet law.

    "People think: 'It's the Internet. I can do whatever I want,'" he said, but "the law applies, online and offline."

    Still, enforcing it can be a challenge. While a number of states have laws against cyberharassment or cyberstalking, it can be difficult for authorities to go after suspects who can easily change aliases and may be in another jurisdiction.
    Prosecutions do happen, including the recent trial of a New York man accused of using phony online identities to harass and discredit his scholar father's adversaries in a heated academic debate over the origins of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

    The son, Raphael Golb, was convicted last month of identity theft and other charges. He said his pseudonymous e-mails and blog posts amounted to academic whistle-blowing and satire, not crime; he plans to appeal.

    Some people end up going to court themselves to stop being trashed online. In one high-profile case, Vogue cover model Liskula Cohen successfully sued Google in a New York court last year to get the name of a blogger who had made derogatory remarks about Cohen's hygiene and sexual habits.

    Cohen said the comments on the site were defamatory. The blogger, ultimately identified by court order as Rosemary Port, said her privacy was violated, and she had a right to her opinions.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The scum behind www.heatherdobrott.com can rest assured their nefarious work will lead to them being exposed. There are thousands of pages of court documents to go up for the first time and be restored online that will be posted very soon. I believe those furthering justice should be able to remain anonymous, but those crossing the line into that type of material need to be brought to justice. Sadly, families, churches and friends of those responsible will pay a steep price for that as all this ridiculous fighting online.

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    Re: Online Harassment Law Texas

    Online crime brings real jail time
    By Ron Maloney
    The Gazette-Enterprise Published October 20, 2010
    SEGUIN — About 15 years ago, Amanda Lombard and Carey Duley dated.

    It didn’t work out, and Lombard moved on. Duley, on the other hand, apparently never quite got over her.

    And as a result, he began serving six months in county jail Tuesday for harassing Lombard over the Internet.

    Duley contacted Lombard through the MySpace.com Internet social networking website about a year ago, asking to “friend” her.

    She wasn’t aware who he was and agreed.

    What followed was a hell in which Duley spread lies and obscenities about her over the Internet.

    In a one-day harassment trial prosecuted by County Attorney Elizabeth Murray-Kolb’s office before County Court-at-Law 2 Judge Frank Follis, Lombard described the effect Duley’s return had on her life — threatening her job and her relationship with her boyfriend.

    The story resonated with a jury of five women and one man who deliberated less than five minutes before returning a guilty verdict and another 20 minutes or so before assessing the maximum punishment allowed for the offense under Texas law: six months in county jail.

    Duley, represented by New Braunfels attorney Tom Clark, was tried under the state’s harassment statutes because the offense occurred before Chapter 33 of the Texas Penal Code was updated a few months ago to reflect online harassment, spoofing, internet impersonation and various crimes of the cyber age — raising the offenses from class B misdemeanors to as much as a third-degree felony, depending on the circumstances.

    Lombard lives in Austin and works at Dell Inc. She’s a singer in a rock band, and has a page on MySpace.

    Because of her musical avocation, Lombard’s MySpace page gets quite a bit of traffic, and when someone asked to “friend” her on MySpace, she said she at first didn’t think anything of it.

    “He used my band’s name and the name of my old band,” Lombard said.

    The victim said the so-called “friend” sent her obscene e-mails and contacted every man who had been listed on the site as one of Lombard’s friends — including her boyfriend and her superiors at Dell — to rant about her and tell lies in an attempt to wreck her relationships in the workplace — and in her home.

    “He sent e-mails to my boyfriend saying I was cheating on him. I saw his MySpace page, and he had written down extremely vulgar things about me,” Lombard said. “He was sending e-mails to all the males on my friends list, including employers and colleagues.”

    Lombard was mortified when her supervisor at Dell told her he’d been contacted.

    For a long while, she didn’t know who was harassing her. When she found out, she became even more frightened.

    “I didn’t know what he was capable of to lash out like that 15 years later,” she said. “I cried.”

    She also took screen shots of the offensive references on Duley’s website, made copies of his e-mails and went to Detective Darren Webster and the Austin Police Department’s High Tech Crimes unit.

    “I had no idea the Austin Police Department had a cyber crimes unit,” Lombard said.

    Webster sought subpoenas of Duley’s MySpace and Yahoo accounts, and found him, living in Guadalupe County just outside New Braunfels.

    Assistant County Attorney Joe Buitron, who prosecuted Duley with colleague Jonathan Michell, said Lombard’s efforts to document the case aided in a prosecution of Duley.

    “She was obviously appalled, and she kept screen shots of the MySpace page and provided everything we needed for a prosecution,” Buitron said. “She’d kept everything he sent her. I’m very impressed with what Amanda did, and we’re very impressed with the work of Detective Webster.”

    Buitron prepared the witness information, while Michell did the legal research involved in making the case.

    What Michell learned was Duley’s offense occurred just before Texas toughened up its cyber crime laws — making many of them, including certain cyber harassment offenses, felonies.

    “We used to have to file them under the harassment laws because the penal code was written without consideration of the age we live in or the technology we have access to every day,” Buitron said. “Even though this took place a few months before the current law was in place, we were able to fit in into the framework of the old law.”

    Tuesday’s trial was the first for Buitron involving Internet harassment.

    “We’re very satisfied with the outcome,” Buitron said.

    Lombard said she appreciated Webster, Buitron, Michell and the jury, who she thanked on their way out of court, after she watched deputies haul Duley away in chains.

    She said she believed the verdict sent out an important message in a time when cyber bullying — some of it resulting in such a level of despair in victims that they’ve been reported to have committed suicide — is gaining more and more attention.

    “These people think they can hide behind a computer and nothing’s going to happen to them, and this shows that’s not true,” Lombard said. “I’m very grateful for the police, the prosecutors, this court and the jury. You don’t have to hide — these people can be brought to justice.”

    First Assistant County Attorney Robert Etlinger, who supervises Buitron and Michell for Murray-Kolb, said victims of bullying and harassment can count on that.

    “The message to those who take part in this kind of behavior is well will find you, and you’ll be sitting in the courtroom in the defendant’s box,” Etlinger said.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    More stories like this to come!

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    Re: Online Harassment Law Texas

    Online harassment leads to arrest

    Woman posts ads for rough sex, selling drugs

    Updated: Thursday, 14 Oct 2010, 9:48 PM CDT
    Published : Thursday, 14 Oct 2010, 3:05 PM CDT
    AUSTIN (KXAN) - Jessica Davenport told police it started as a prank, but investigators said she broke the law when she posted fake ads about another woman on Craigslist.
    Davenport, 21, is charged with online harassment, a third-degree felony. In an arrest affidavit, she admitted to posting an advertisement about her boyfriend's ex-girlfriend in which she seeks out rough sex. The ad included the victim's cell phone number and the street where she lived.
    Additional ads posted on Sept. 23 used the victim's phone number and advertised the selling of drug paraphernalia and sex toys.
    The victim contacted police when she received a disturbing call on her cell phone in response to the Craigslist ads. She had also received several graphic text messages.
    Police said Davenport also used the cell phone number of the victim's 9-year-old daughter in one of the ads.
    The victim told police she now fears for her safety and the safety of her daughter.
    Davenport said her boyfriend had been having problems with the victim, but the ads were only meant as a joke. She told police she wanted the woman to receive the off-color phone calls .
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Ouch! Just like the pranksters behind www.heatherdobrott.com, it was all considered a joke until.......

    Soapboxmom

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    Re: Online Harassment Law Texas

    Ex-student accused of fake online profile

    Pasadena High principal found account this year

    By JESSICA FAZ
    HOUSTON CHRONICLE


    March 25, 2011, 7:44Pm

    A 19-year-old Pasadena High School graduate accused of creating a fake Facebook page under the name of his former high school principal and posting sexually inappropriate comments on it was arrested this week on online harassment charges, officials said.
    According to court documents, Nestor Rivera Jr. created the false Facebook profile and posted comments. Authorities tracked the Internet address to his Pasadena home.
    The principal of Pasadena High School, Joe Saavedra, discovered the fake Facebook page in January, one month after the page was launched, said Candice Ahlfinger, spokeswoman for the Pasadena Independent School District.
    Rivera allegedly conducted a conversation between the fake profile and his own Facebook account in which he claimed to have had sex with Saavedra's wife.
    The principal told police he was disturbed by the graphic and explicit nature of the comments.
    He also confirmed he did not give his permission for the account to be created on his behalf.
    Rivera was charged with online harassment, a third-degree felony. He was released on bond Thursday. If convicted, he could face as many as 10 years in prison.
    "As an educator, Mr. Saavedra conducts himself as a role model," Ahlfinger said. "The inappropriateness and threatening nature of the comments could damage his reputation within the community."
    At the time of the investigation, the fake profile had about 45 current and former students listed as friends.
    jessica.faz@chron.com
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Sounds like the nut harassing me on Twitter and Heather Dobrott aka Soapboxmom. What could me more perverted than posting endlessly to oneself and discussing whose pictures "it" gets turned on by????


    Soapboxmom

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    Re: Online Harassment Law Texas

    Teacher's Aide in Trouble, Facebook Harrassment

    DA says charge is pretty new

    Updated: Thursday, 28 Apr 2011, 7:16 PM CDT


    Published : Thursday, 28 Apr 2011, 6:04 PM CDT

    HOUSTON - A Facebook page has cost a teacher's aide her job. Lily Dinh Chau is also facing a charge of online harassment.


    Authorities say the 26-year-old created a Facebook page using the identity of a coworker at Westfield High School: teacher Adriana Cedillo.
    == Teacher’s Personal Info Compromised ==
    "The defendant actually created an entire fake Facebook page for the complainant and then posted on that page pictures, financial information, personal information and information about the complainants residence," described Donna Hawkins with the Harris County District Attorney's office.



    Last month, a Pasadena teen was charged in a similar crime . He was accused of setting up a fake page with information from his former high school principal.
    == Charge Carries 10 Years, $10K Fine ==
    Hawkins told us this charge is pretty new.
    "This online harassment is a 3rd-degree felony and exposes someone up to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. It is a relatively new charge. The reason for that is there were problems associated with people finding out that other people had taken their identity and used that in an online profile."
    According to the probable cause document, Chau admitted to creating the page around April 21 from her home computer. She did it because of "the personal conflicts at work."
    For it to constitute online harassment, the law stipulates there must be intent to cause harm. In this case, just the fact that so much personal information was included could be enough.
    == Online Harassment is Serious Business ==
    Also, because so many people are online, that puts the crime in a whole different category.
    "When you're dealing with Facebook, MySpace or things like that, millions of people can see what you've done to this person. It may have a greater impact on somebody's life than just the regular telephone harassment," said FOX 26 Legal Analyst Chris Tritico.
    Chau posted bond Thursday afternoon and was released. When we caught up with her at her home, she refused to give a comment simply saying she didn't want to be on the news.
    Read more (non-mobile):
    > Facebook Account Lands Teen in Trouble







    Read more: Teacher's Aide in Trouble, Facebook Harrassment
    __________________________________________________ _________________
    Texas is enforcing that law. I have been in touch with the Collin County DAs office and www.heatherdobrott.com could land people in some truly hot water. What a great news article that will make!

    Soapboxmom

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    Re: Online Harassment Law Texas

    Online revenge can now mean felony conviction

    11 1share0share0share18
    Posted on 25 Aug 2011 at 10:12pm
    Chad West and Laura Martin


    Local officials stepping up enforcement of new Internet harassment law targeting those who harass, impersonate others online

    DAVID TAFFET | Staff Writer
    taffet@dallasvoice.com
    Dallas police and the Dallas County District Attorney’s office have begin stepping up enforcement of a 2009 Internet harassment law that makes it a felony to impersonate, imitate or otherwise harass others in e-mails, instant messaging programs and commercial social networking sites.
    And some gay men who use online dating and social media sites are getting caught in the crosshairs.
    “Word is getting out about the law,” Dallas LGBT police liaison Laura Martin said, adding that she’s spoken to a number of people who have been harassed with phone calls, Internet posts and fake Facebook pages.
    “It usually happens when a relationship ends,” Martin said, “[when] someone is seeking revenge.”
    She said that usually the person filing the complaint just wants the harassment to stop. And when she’s made calls to the person, Martin said, it usually does stop.
    But with the new Texas Penal Code 33.07, those using such sites to harass someone could be charged with a felony.
    Since the beginning of July, criminal defense attorney Chad West said he has signed four new clients charged under the law. Three of them are gay.
    The cases are varied. One involves harassment through a Facebook page; another is a “text message situation,” West said.
    West said one of his clients had been dating a closeted man for years. When the closeted man broke off the relationship, the two remained in touch for awhile, but then the closeted man wanted to cut off all communication.
    West said his client told him his feelings had been hurt by his ex’s actions and then “one night he did something stupid.”
    On Craigslist, the client posted his ex’s first name, last initial and cell phone number with a picture of someone else. Within minutes the ex began receiving calls.
    After talking to one of the callers, the victim found the page on Craigslist, printed it off and filed a complaint with the police who tracked the IP address.
    West’s client, with nothing prior on his record other than speeding tickets, was arrested and charged with a third degree felony. If convicted, he faces two to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
    In another case, one man was impersonating his boyfriend online. Using the victim’s passwords, he signed onto dating sites such as Manhunt to find out if the victim was cheating on him.
    Cheating is not a crime. Impersonating someone else online in Texas is. And that man has now been charged with a felony.
    Manhunt does what it can to prevent that sort of situation, Manhunt CEO Adam Segel said. A button on profiles allows a member to report fake or malicious profiles.
    “Whenever Manhunt receives reports of harassment between users, we investigate to the best of our ability and take whatever steps are necessary to rectify the situation,” Segel said.
    “This may include suspension or deletion of the offending user’s account,” he explained.
    Segel said that Manhunt always cooperates with the police once officers have obtained a subpoena, but those instances are rare. “Fortunately this isn’t something we hear about very often,” he said.
    West has spoken to the victims in all of the cases he represents. He said that all of them just want this to go away and that none seem interested in appearing in court to testify about intimate details of their lives.
    And that’s the best hope West’s clients have.
    Defending the charge is difficult when police have hard computer evidence of where the harassment originated and when a victim is willing to testify, West said.
    The Craigslist case is furthest along and may be reduced to a Class A misdemeanor, but that still carries the possibility of up to a year in jail and a $4,000 fine. Probation or deferred adjudication are possibilities as well. Even if dismissed, the legal fees can mount quickly.
    West said one of the victims he spoke to isn’t interested in putting his ex in jail but wants him to get counseling. A judge could set that as a condition of the probation or deferred adjudication.
    Katherine Robinson is an assistant Dallas district attorney who prosecutes Internet crimes. She said that her office looks at cases like these very carefully, but because the law is still new, she hasn’t seen any cases come to trial.
    Robinson said the Texas law was prompted by a 2006 cyber-bullying case in Missouri.
    Megan Meier, 13, took her own life after being told online that the world would be better off without her by “Josh,” a boy who friended her on MySpace.
    “Josh” turned out to be Lori Drew, an adult woman. Megan was one of her daughter’s classmates.
    However, Drew had not violated any criminal law at the time. She was charged and acquitted of violating the terms and conditions of MySpace under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.
    Robinson said that after that case, legislatures started enacting stricter Internet harassment laws.
    “That case hit home how devastating it can be,” Robinson said.
    Assistant District Attorney Rick Watson has handled two cases under the Internet harassment law.
    “I talk to the victim, balance what they want and make sure the public is safe,” he said.
    In one case, a high school student created a Facebook page with another student’s information and made threatening remarks.
    The student received four years probation but only after a psych evaluation to make sure he was not a danger.
    Watson said the student thought he was pulling a prank, and had no idea he would be charged with a felony.
    Watson said that although charges may be reduced, they’re not likely to be dismissed.
    West warned that although these cases may eventually be pled to misdemeanors, the arrest and associated costs can be enormous. He said that the potential is a felony conviction and with all the attention placed on bullying last fall, Internet harassment is being taken seriously by law enforcement in Dallas.
    And Dallas County is not the only place police are pursuing these cases. Of West’s four clients, only two are in Dallas. One is in Denton and another is in Collin County.
    ____________
    TEXAS PENAL CODE
    Sec. 33.07. ONLINE HARASSMENT.
    (a) A person commits an offense if the person uses the name or persona of another person to create a web page on or to post one or more messages on a commercial social networking site:
    (1) Without obtaining the other person’s consent; and
    (2) With the intent to harm, defraud, intimidate, or threaten any person.
    (b) A person commits an offense if the person sends an electronic mail, instant message, text message, or similar communication that references a name, domain address, phone number, or other item of identifying information belonging to any person:
    (1) without obtaining the other person’s consent;
    (2) with the intent to cause a recipient of the communication to reasonably believe that the other person authorized or transmitted the communication; and
    (3) with the intent to harm or defraud any person.
    (c) An offense under Subsection (a) is a felony of the third degree. An offense under Subsection (b) is a Class A misdemeanor, except that the offense is a felony of the third degree if the actor commits the offense with the intent to solicit a response by emergency personnel.
    (d) If conduct that constitutes an offense under this section also constitutes an offense under any other law, the actor may be prosecuted under this section, the other law, or both.
    (e) It is a defense to prosecution under this section that the actor is any of the following entities or that the actor’s conduct consisted solely of action taken as an employee of any of the following entities:
    (1) a commercial social networking site;
    (2) an Internet service provider;
    (3) an interactive computer service, as defined by 47 U.S.C. Section 230;
    (4) a telecommunications provider, as defined by Section 51.002, Utilities Code; or
    (5) a video service provider or cable service provider, as defined by Section 66.002, Utilities Code.
    (f) In this section:
    (1) “Commercial social networking site” means any business, organization, or other similar entity operating a website that permits persons to become registered users for the purpose of establishing personal relationships with other users through direct or real-time communication with other users or the creation of web pages or profiles available to the public or to other users. The term does not include an electronic mail program or a message board program.
    (2) “Identifying information” has the meaning assigned by Section 32.51.
    __________________________________________________ ____________
    Great to see them stepping up enforcement. Heather Dobrott aka Soapboxmom could be the next case prosecuted. I am doing everything in my power to see that happen.

    Soapboxmom

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    Re: Online Harassment Law Texas

    Star Local News > Allen American > News > Allen realtor pleads guilty to Facebook harassment of ex-employee
    Allen realtor pleads guilty to Facebook harassment of ex-employee


    By Conner Hammett, chammett@acnpapers.com


    Published: Wednesday, December 14, 2011 1:57 PM CST
    An Allen realtor pleaded guilty Thursday to a felony harassment charge after hacking into an ex-employee's Facebook account and using it to send insulting messages to her friends.



    James Patrick Delagarza, 41, owns First Premier Realty, a real estate agency that sells homes in Allen, Anna, Frisco, Garland, McKinney and Plano. He was sentenced to six years of probation and fined $2,000 after pleading guilty to one count of online harassment.

    The victim, Jessica Smith of Princeton, complained of the harassment to the Collin County Sheriff's Office in July 2010. According to Delagarza's arrest affidavit, Smith told investigators an unknown person hacked into her email and changed her Facebook password without her knowledge. The person then posted comments on her friend's Facebook pages that were "inappropriate and embarrassing," the affidavit said.


    In a later discussion with investigators, Smith said she determined the harasser to be Delagarza. Smith ended her employment with Delagarza's agency the day she filed her complaint after "being constantly being disrespected by Mr. Delagarza" and "working under a hostile work environment," the affidavit said.

    By the time Smith returned home from her last day of employment, she was unable to log into Facebook and subsequently discovered her Yahoo! email password had also been changed.

    Investigators obtained a log of all IP addresses that signed into Smith's email account the day of the hacking. Another court order was then issued to Verizon Internet Services for the subscriber information if an IP address that appeared different from the others used that day to log into the account.

    The IP address was identified as belonging to Delagarza, and a search warrant was executed at his residence on Aug. 26. Officers said they found Delagarza attempting to conceal his computer under his desk when they served the warrant at his Allen home.

    The arrest affidavit does not specify how Delagarza hacked into Smith's account, though it says others suggested to Smith it may have been done using a software that records keystrokes entered on company computers.

    In 2004, Delagarza was featured by CNN Money Magazine's "Millionaires in the Making" series. Attempts to contact him via his home, work and cell numbers were unsuccessful.
    Scammers better beware. The authorities can find the jokers out there causing mischief. This guy has ruined his reputation and his business.

    Soapboxmom

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