Thursday, August 27, 2009
Felony Charges for Fake Internet Posting & Harassment
(MISSOURI) A St. Peters mom faces felony charges for allegedly making a fake posting on Craigslist.
It will be a landmark case.
She's the first person charged with a felony under a new Missouri internet harassment law.
Forty-year-old Elizabeth Thrasher is accused of making a sexually suggestive ad in the "casual encounters" section of Craigslist to embarrass a 17-year-old girl.
The girl is the daughter of a woman who is now dating Thrasher's ex-husband.
The ad contained the 17-year-old's picture, cell phone number and place of employment. After it went online, the girl started receiving calls, texts and even pornography from men responding to the ad.
Prosecutors say this is harassment and it falls under a new law written in response to the suicide death of 13-year-old Megan Meier.
Meier received disturbing MySpace messages from an adult writing from a fake account.
In this case, Thrasher is over 21 and the victim is under 17, so it qualifies as a felony.
But Thrasher's lawyer says the charge does not fit the crime.
He says the new law is poorly written and doesn't apply in this case.
"The statute is very poorly crafted," says Thrasher's lawyer, Mike Kielty. "And the behavior in this case that's alleged to be criminal is anything but."
"The fact that someone went on another website and created a fake post in someone's name, I think that's exactly what this statue was written for," says St. Charles County Prosecutor Jack Banas.
Thrasher is due in court again at the end of the month. She posted bond so she is not in custody. Her lawyer says she plans to plead not guilty.