Wednesday, August 05, 2009

"He Put Nude Photos of Me on MySpace!"

By Diana Hefley

(U.S.A.)An Eastern Washington man accused of firing off nearly 100 harassing text messages to a Stanwood teen and posting naked pictures of the girl on MySpace is now charged with a felony.

Prosecutors charged the Selah man, 18, earlier this week with cyberstalking after a 15-year-old girl complained that the man sent her threatening text messages after she broke off their long-distance relationship.

Police also learned that the man created a MySpace page and posted nude photographs of the girl on the site. The girl had sent the photographs to him from her cell phone — a practice referred to as “sexting.”

“There is no such thing as privacy over the airwaves or Internet. If you send it, you lose all control over what someone does with it later,” said Snohomish County deputy prosecutor Mark Roe, who leads the special assault unit.

Photographs a person sends to a current love interest can easily be distributed to someone else, he said.

Prosecutors have seen an increase in people using text messages to harass victims, including sending sexually explicit images.

State legislators five years ago enacted a law against cyberstalking to address harassment, intimidation and public embarrassment using electronic devices, such as e-mail and cell phones. Lawmakers were moved to action after learning of a Seattle woman whose ex-boyfriend relentlessly sent e-mails loaded with lies about her to her friends and co-workers.

Federal anti-cyberstalking laws were enacted in 2006.

Arlington police began investigating the Selah man in March. The teen told investigators the man was someone she was friends with in grade-school and they began communicating on MySpace. A few months later the girl told the man she didn’t want to be his girlfriend because he lived too far away.

The man began barraging the girl with threatening text messages. court papers said. He threatened to hunt the girl down and told her he had dreams of killing her.

He sent about 90 text messages over five days, Snohomish County deputy prosecutor Laura Twitchell wrote. Police later viewed the MySpace page he created that featured nude photos of the girl.

The man allegedly told investigators he sent the girl naked pictures of himself. He also told police he had naked pictures of at least three other minors on his computer, Twitchell wrote.

He also told investigators he sent text messages to scare the girl, court papers said.


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