Sunday, June 28, 2009

An Online Predator of a Different Sort!

My Roommate, The Diamond Thief

He found me on Craigslist. I found him on America's Most Wanted.

By Brian Boucher
Seeking roommate for one-bedroom in Washington Heights. It's a bit small for two but I have to catch up on some bills. Two friendly cats, but we keep clean because I'm a little allergic myself. A little more than half of the $950 rent gets you the privacy of the bedroom.

It was August 2003. I'd only recently found work, nearly a year after losing my job organizing school tours at an art museum, and my fiancee had just moved out of our apartment. It was a small, sunny place on the fourth floor of an old building, high enough on a hill that you could even see a little of New Jersey from the right angle.

We'd moved up there when she landed a medical residency at Columbia University Medical Center, but we'd split six months before the wedding. Without a job, I'd run up a ton of debt, and I urgently needed extra income to make rent, so I figured I'd lease out my bedroom and crash in the living room. I tried to pretend it was darkly funny, but really it just felt pathetic.

I got a flood of responses. A panicking female college student from the Midwest offered three months' rent sight unseen, but she couldn't meet me in person. An asshole with the e-mail handle of "elitist1" got impatient when I didn't answer his questions fast enough. I fell for a blue-eyed, tongue-pierced vegan the moment I opened the door to her, but she wasn't interested in the room, or me.

John "Don" Williams was enthusiastic about the apartment, at least. A middle-aged ghostwriter from California who'd lived all over, he turned up at my door in cargo pants and long sleeves despite the summer heat and talked with a slight southern drawl. He was punctual, which I liked. And he greeted my two cats warmly, which I also liked. "I've looked at a lot of apartments, and this is definitely the best arrangement I've seen," he said. I was flattered, though he must have seen some real squalor. We played with the cats and chatted about pets. The two of us - a ghostwriter and an aspiring art critic - could compare notes on the writing life, we agreed. He moved in on August 21.

At first Don struck me as the perfect roommate. He was uncommonly neat and clean. To keep cat hair from coming into his room, he rolled up a towel and push-pinned it to the bottom of the door. He was often out, and when home, he stayed in his room without a peep for hours on end. Sometimes he would emerge from his room when I had imagined myself alone in the apartment and had been blasting music, talking on the phone, or listening to public radio while cooking dinner. He hardly ever had guests and was frequently gone for days at a time. I wasn't thrilled with his unannounced comings and goings, but I let it go.

If anything, Don seemed boring, either putting his head down or making dull small talk as he passed through the living room. When he did speak, it was mainly to praise the beautiful women of New York. He had female guests a couple of times and alluded to several girlfriends. Despite a ring on his finger, he wasn't married, and in fact, "the ring doesn’t seem to discourage women who are interested," he said. I hadn't dated in a while, I mentioned, but there were some situations I hoped might develop into something. “But it's like film," he advised. "It isn’t going to develop unless you bring it into the store to get developed."

Four months into Don's stay, with cash coming in on time each month, all was going smoothly enough, until the morning of December 13, when I got home after a long night out to find his room in total chaos. It had been ransacked. His clothes, toiletries, and magazines were strewn about the bed and floors. The closet door hung from one hinge off a busted frame. His locked red Swiss Army luggage lay slashed open on the floor, the cats sleeping happily among the jumbled contents. My stuff was untouched, but I was horrified.

I called 911, but the cops were useless. "Talk to your roommate about it when you see him," they said.

Who knew when that might be? At this point, I hadn't seen Don for well over a month. In mid-November, I'd e-mailed to ask whether he'd be back anytime soon. Had he taken the business trip to London that he'd mentioned? No, he replied. His younger sister had been in a car accident, and he was in Seattle visiting her. I hadn't heard from him since. I e-mailed him repeatedly and got no answer.

I started to wonder about my lodger and what he might be hiding in his room. The break-in seemed too calculated and selective to be the work of a common thief, who might have simply stolen Don's luggage or my computer. Even the cash I'd stowed in my sock drawer was untouched. My fantasies turned paranoid. Was Don a spy - or an Al Qaeda operative who'd turned my apartment into his base? Had the injured-sister story been a ploy to gain my sympathy? Or maybe the accident was real but had been caused by some other agent to distract Don long enough to retrieve something from his suitcases.

Unable to reach Don and thoroughly spooked, I changed the locks, packed his few things into a closet, and moved back into the bedroom, convinced he'd never return. He did. On Christmas Eve, he called when I was in the middle of tree-trimming at my parents’ home in New Jersey. He told me that his ailing sister had died and he was back in New York but couldn't get into the apartment. At first I was petrified just to hear his voice, but as we spoke, I started to relax. Maybe I was insane and he was a normal guy - a possibility I'd consider over and over in the ensuing months. I told him about the break-in and said I'd meet him at the apartment at three the following afternoon.

I got there two hours early. Mortified at having assumed he skipped town when he'd actually had a family tragedy, I wanted to make it seem as though I had never moved back in. Back out of the closet came his luggage, and I scattered things around to make it look convincingly ransacked. Back on the windowsill went the action figures he had kept there. His plastic storage containers, just about his only furniture, went back against the wall where I'd found them. I reset the clock. I held my breath.

The doorbell rang at three o'clock, and there he was. He seemed tired and sad, as you might expect, and at the same time he seemed obsessed with trying to solve the crime. He searched through the room, sat among the wreckage looking closely at his scattered belongings, and even joked about the perpetrator's clumsy closet break-in. Strangely, despite the damage, little had been stolen - old cell phones, a little cash, a printer, and some marijuana, according to Don. (The drugs surprised me. I'd only seen him drink a beer once, and he'd said one was his limit.)

I imagined the invasion as retaliation for his womanizing. One of Don's lady visitors had an on-again-off-again ex-con boyfriend - was he the culprit? "It doesn’t make sense," Don said. "That guy, I've seen him around, and if he did this, he would have made it worth his while."

Don advanced his own theory: "Three people had the keys," he said. "I didn't do it, my sixth sense tells me you weren't involved, and that leaves one person." He suspected our eccentric next-door neighbor, Lev, a deeply indebted Lithuanian jazz pianist and self-published science-fiction novelist who fed the cats whenever I went away. "You know, he grew up in the Soviet Union," Don said, "so you don't know who he might have been involved with." I just listened. It was ridiculous, but his explanation did have a certain Occam’s-razor appeal.

Don proposed that we mount surveillance Webcams in the apartment (I refused) and called in the help of his family. He brought over a woman he called his sister and had me relate the story of finding the crime scene. ("’m sorry for your loss," I told her. "It's been a hard time," she replied.) He also told me he'd sent some items to his brother-in-law in D.C., "a Fed," he said, "so if there are any fingerprints on them, we'll find out."

It occurred to me I'd touched all his stuff when I moved back into the bedroom. What if he found out? To clear my conscience, I confessed. "You handled pretty much everything in there," he said, as if asking for confirmation of something he already knew. "I found your prints, too."

"Strong work," I said, shocked but trying to play it cool. "How did you get them in the first place?"

"Oh, well, you know, you could always just take an empty out of the recycling bin or something."

Don's familiarity with law-enforcement techniques might have alarmed me, but I was too embarrassed about my stunt to think clearly - and his anger over the incident only fueled my guilt. When I asked him for compensation after he inadvertently damaged an artwork of mine, Don retorted that it should be balanced against the losses he'd sustained in the break-in, which, as he saw it, happened on my watch. "And when you told me about it, you were just, like, 'Hey, here's what happened, sorry.' My reaction would have been, 'What can I do?' Because if I see you have a problem, I'm going to try to help you. That’s just the way I was raised."

Stung by the insult, I told him he needed to move out. I didn't understand why he'd want to stay, I said hotly, "when this whole arrangement is obviously broken." But he didn't react, and in the end, I backed down. Maybe he was right. Perhaps I had been selfish and insensitive. Over my objections, he installed a lock on the bedroom door and left his radio playing WNYC around the clock to discourage intruders. I complained to friends. "He sounds crazy," they said. When I griped to Don about the lock, he made me out to be the lunatic. "You said it wasn’t a good idea," he argued. "You didn’t say to take it off." Once again, I gave up. I needed the money.

In June 2004, Don was missing again, and he had been gone for weeks. E-mails I sent him began to bounce back, and his cell phone was not taking calls. June 21, rent day, came and went. I let two more weeks pass before changing the locks. I then broke into my own bedroom, turned off the radio, and, for the second time, angrily set about packing up the possessions he had left behind.

In his bed, I discovered a laptop and a bulging manila folder that seemed innocuous enough, though I couldn't help but look inside. There, to my total shock, were scraps of torn-up pre-approved credit-card offers I’d received in the mail and tossed in the trash. That wasn't all. On a sheet of notebook paper, he'd scribbled the names, addresses, and phone numbers of my family members; my mother's maiden name; the date my parents had married; and the name and address of a contractor I was working for, apparently copied from a pay stub. He even had the name and number of a woman I'd met at a party. Equally alarming were notes on my credit-card information, along with my sign-in names and passwords to various Websites.

In an instant, I felt like an idiot, a sucker, the Jersey boy I am. Why had I trusted this stranger? I burned with shame and anger as I pictured him listening for me to leave for work in the morning so he could methodically search my trash and boot up my computer. A ghostwriter? What a moron I'd been. I'd never seen him write a word. But who was he? I searched everything in the room. A letter from JetBlue addressed to a Brandall Platt confirmed a flight to Oakland, California, in November 2003, the time of one of his previous absences. There were photocopies of Social Security cards and California driver's licenses of a Charles Brown and an Andre Holmes and others. From the photocopies, I couldn’t tell whether the pictures were of my roommate. I found nothing bearing the name "Don" had given me: John Williams.

His bike was gone, but a bunch of withered bananas suggested his absence was unplanned. Had Don been in an accident? A detective from the local precinct suggested I contact local hospitals. When that didn't work, he said he'd start checking jails. I called my banks and credit-card companies. Thank God there were no unauthorized charges and no new cards in my name.

I searched the closet, where I spotted a classic composition book that looked like a diary. Seething over how he'd invaded my privacy, I tore it open, looking for revelations amid his cramped scribblings, rife with misspellings and sentence fragments. On one page, Don had mapped out a movie of his life story: "He learned to drive at eight, he could do anything with his hands, and throughout his life, he could become invisible . . . " "Met with Spike Lee today," read one entry. "He’s really interested in the story, and wants me to send him the articles." His journal said he once met Danny Glover by chance in the street and tried to sell him his story as well. He had even cast the big-screen version of his life: He was to be portrayed by Denzel Washington. Laurence Fishburne would appear as his brother. Angela Bassett would take on the role of his wife, and, of course, Halle Berry ("the sexiest woman in the world") would be his girlfriend.

The diary also contained transcriptions of text-message exchanges with real girlfriends - "u have hurt me 2 many times," one wrote - and vague laments over his kids: "I don’t even know who I am anymore . . . all I know is I'm the father of three beautiful, innocent children. . . . My babies, my babies . . . your dada cries every day." Apparently, he also had reason to fear the police: "I'm only now just starting to get over being afraid every time someone looks at me twice in the street . . . every time a cop looks at me . . . thinking they know." Know what?

I was becoming frantic. Craving more answers, I turned to his laptop, handing it over to a systems-administrator friend to circumvent his password protection by installing a new operating system. The sign-in name added yet another entry to the growing list of pseudonyms: Dino Smith. There, among various pictures of Don and his family, flyers for a business venture offering tours of the Bay Area in a Hummer, and a poster offering his services as a "personnel assistant," was the following diary entry, dated April 27, 2003:

I’m @ location 4. It's been how many days now? Lets count from the 14th-15-16-17-18-19-20-21-22-23-24-25-26-27 -- 13 days today, dam, two weeks tomorrow . . . how the hell do I prove I was not there? When I truly was not there? Who the hells going to believe me. I can"t even get up on the witness stand, When those fuckers are going to do everything they can not to lose this case . . . I won't sit up in jail for who knows how long and I know I've been set up by those no good fucking cops that I know don't like me.

My hands started to shake. Had I been harboring a fugitive? Don had struck me as creepy, but I wasn't prepared for this. My heart raced as I wondered what crime the cops could possibly want him for. I thought about the break-in, his absences, the dead sister, the fingerprinting . . . but what did it all add up to? Was he a victim of circumstance - or a serial killer? Was I his next target? I became obsessed with getting answers. Then I searched the most obvious place of all: Google. I typed in the name “Dino Smith,” and a couple of clicks later, there it was. His mug shot, on the America's Most Wanted Website. He was a suspect in the biggest jewel heist in San Francisco history. I gaped at the screen in disbelief, then ran in circles, howling obscenities: "Fuck fuck fucking shit fuck fucker! Holy FUCK!"

I scanned the Web for more clues, cringing at each revelation. According to the Los Angeles Times, one night in April 2003, Dino, his brother Devin "Troy" Smith, and accomplices allegedly broke into a vacant restaurant adjoining Lang Antique & Estate Jewelry, burrowed through the wall, disabled the motion detectors, and hid in the bathroom overnight. When the employees arrived in the morning, the thieves forced them to empty the safes at gunpoint, then tied them up. The robbers hauled away $6 million to $10 million worth of diamonds and other jewelry in garbage bags. Four months after the heist, "Don" the ghostwriter moved in with me.

He'd been eluding the cops for fourteen months when he was captured on June 4, just a few days after I had last seen him. The police finally caught up with him outside the A subway station at Howard Beach - JFK Airport, where they had followed a girlfriend who'd flown in from the West Coast to visit him.

Dino and his brother had served time before. They were a notorious crime duo despised by cops and prosecutors for their slick arrogance and flamboyance. Known for his acrobatic robbery style, Dino reportedly escaped the police by using a handcuff key he'd hidden in the seam of his underwear. Between them, Dino and Troy had generated 20,000 pages' worth of court documents, according to the L.A. Times.

In 1990, the brothers were arrested, and later convicted, for a foiled plot to kidnap and rob Lawrence Lin, also known as Dr. Winkie, the eccentric owner of the San Francisco nightclub DV8. (Wearing body armor and carrying semi-automatic rifles at the time of their arrest, the two improbably told cops they were on the way to protect Lin.) They were also convicted for a 1989 robbery in which they stole $400,000 worth of jewelry from the home of Victoria Magana, the widow of a Nicaraguan drug lord. This time, they told police she staged the theft herself to avoid payment on a $500,000 drug debt.

All told, Dino had 47 years to serve, and Troy 42. But they were sprung after less than a decade when both convictions were overturned, one because of attorney misconduct, the other thanks to police misconduct.

After their 1998 release, the brothers tried - and failed - to go straight. A brief stint as seamen for merchant ships at the Port of Oakland ended badly when the Coast Guard realized they'd lied about their criminal past on the applications, the Times reported. Troy fell deep into debt, and his marriage was falling apart. His wife claimed he had punched her in the face and had allegedly threatened that if she tried to leave, "I'll make what O.J. did to Nicole look like a paper cut," according to the paper.

What, then, might Troy have in mind for me? After all, he was still at large. Could Dino have given him my personal information? Could Troy be living as Brian Boucher at this very moment? I was so scared I called 911, convinced that he was on his way to find me. The cops looked around the apartment, twirling their batons as I tried to explain. "If you see the brother, call the police," they said, and left.

I had better luck with the San Francisco police the following day. "We’ve really been hoping for a phone call like this," said Dan Gardner, a robbery inspector for the SFPD. One evening just before the Republican National Convention, four men arrived at my apartment: the towering Gardner and his partner, along with two New York detectives. "So where’d ya find da jewels?" one of them cracked.

They donned rubber gloves and went to work, tearing outlets and switch plates from the wall, fondling the futon. One mentioned a Manhattan Mini Storage locker of Dino's containing power tools and a concrete saw. I asked if they thought I'd hear from Dino again. "Look," Gardner told me, "I don't want to scare you, but they did catch him trying to escape from Rikers Island once already while he's been in custody."

In May 2005, I received a call from Jerry Coleman, a San Francisco assistant district attorney who asked me to come testify in the trial. Weeks later, I sat by myself in a San Francisco courtroom. The sole observer was a woman I'd seen in pictures from Dino's computer, and it struck me that she and Dino had the same features. She had to be his mother.

A door opened and in walked Dino, looking sharp in tan pants and a black polo. No orange jumpsuit, no cuffs. The room fell silent. I hadn't seen him in almost a year, and I couldn't take my eyes off him. He sat and arranged his files, then turned to me and nodded hello with a nervous look of forced ease. "Hey, roomie. How funny seeing you here," he seemed to say.

As they swore me in, I was afraid the microphone on the witness stand would pick up the sound of my heart pounding. "Sir, in the events you've described, would you say you were acting as an agent of the police?" Dino’s lawyer asked.

Huh? I leaned into the microphone. "No, sir." Maybe this wouldn’t be so hard.

Dino frequently shook his head, seemingly disgusted at the state's flimsy case against him, and furiously took notes as I enumerated the identifying information he had collected on me.

The defense attorney tried to undermine the legitimacy of the computer evidence, on the basis that I'd left it with a friend to work on overnight. "So you don’t know what your friend did, by your own personal knowledge?"

"I guess that’s true."

"No further questions, your honor."

On June 3, 2005, based in part on evidence found on the computer he left behind, the jury convicted Dino Loren Smith, 55, on eight of eleven counts of robbery, false imprisonment, burglary, and conspiracy. On November 10, he was sentenced to 23 years in prison. He is now under processing at San Quentin, while authorities decide where to send him.

I still haven't figured out who ransacked Dino's room that time. Was it a would-be accomplice who'd been cut out of the jewelry-store job? Somebody who'd heard Dino bragging in the street? Was it Dino himself, trying to see how I'd react? Who knows? Nothing was what it seemed with my ex-roommate - the dead sister in Seattle never existed; the one he brought to the apartment was actually his wife.

An even bigger mystery concerns Troy, who's still on the lam despite the FBI's $50,000 reward. Every so often, I see a guy in the street who resembles his mug shot and I'm spooked into thinking it's him. I tell myself I'm just being crazy, but then I've said that before.

I've since moved out of the place where I lived with Dino, into an upper-Manhattan apartment that I share with a financial planner, a dance teacher, and their 5-year-old son. I found them on Craigslist.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Facebooking Your Boss - Good or Bad?

Faceook Pictures, Images and Photos

by Michelle Wilding

Facebook is blurring the boundaries between work and private life and sometimes the consequences are at the employee's expense, writes Michelle Wilding.

Maria's nightmare began after a long weekend when she logged on to check her emails only to find: "The boss added you as a friend on Facebook" staring at her through her inbox screen.

Above this was a message notification sent via Facebook candidly asking why she denied accepting her boss as a friend. Maria had not even been online for almost 36 hours. Having no choice, she bit the bullet and accepted her boss as a Facebook friend.

Facebook now boasts 108.3 million users, reports Nielsen Online. As the world's most popular social networking site, it's not too comforting to know online bullying tactics from your boss are enough to knock down your safeguarded Facebook page that was once locked by private settings.

Unfortunately, former service operator Maria was cornered: she was vulnerable to her "unscrupulous service manager" at one of Australia's leading supermarket chains. Maria says she was fearful, vexed and defenceless when her boss began using her online information to manipulate her work life.

It started with inappropriate innuendos regarding Facebook photos. More seriously, Maria's work hours were exploited and she received abusive confrontations and phone calls questioning her availability and every move.
"My boss was a gossiping, domineering, contriving megalomaniac and her behaviour dramatically intensified when she used Facebook to pry," Maria says.

"I'm a student, so it's very rare to have a night out. If plans came up, she would purposely make me work. If I needed money, she'd take advantage of that need and cancel my shifts, stripping me of my dignity.

"I don't know where she got off. She was worse than Stephanie from The Bold And The Beautiful. She played with employee lives like we were her toys. It upset me so much I finally stood up for myself and quit. I feel like I got my freedom back and can breathe again."

Maria notes one occasion when she RSVPed on Facebook to attend the Future Music Festival with workmates. Unexpectedly she was rostered on the early morning shift the next day, something she believes was calculated.

"As a senior, I was told I wasn't allowed to work weekends . . . Then, all of a sudden, the weekend Future is on I was put on first thing the next morning. I found it interesting that my boss could bend the 'no seniors on weekends' rule when it suited her," she says.

The executive director of UNSW's Cyberspace Law and Policy Centre, David Vaile, says Maria's case is a useful example of how personal information stored on a Facebook page can be abused, noting the consequences of posting personal information online aren't necessarily clear because it's relatively new technology.

"Privacy law has a gaping black hole that does not protect employee privacy and Facebook is outside of that," Vaile says.

"I think it's an abuse of the boss's prerogative to threaten and use their power over their employee's contract to require access to their Facebook page. On the other hand, there is no idea that Facebook is safe for anyone. Maybe Facebook is required by law to let police have access to a person's page."

A range of legal and business reputation risks attached to Facebook concerns Vaile. He says the risks are serious and users should think twice before signing up or sharing private information on Facebook.

"Cyber stalking, harassment, defamation, breach of duty, damage to reputation of workplace: the inherent reliability of that, in the same way that it's sort of a dangerous and cheap temptation for individuals and also businesses, employers and universities, is a data mine for tragedy," Vaile says.

Maria's isn't the only case of employer Facebook abuse. Former discount retail employee Grace Leasa, 19, was shocked when her then boss made a derogatory remark on her page.
After a quarrel with a friend, she updated her Facebook status to: "Grace just can't do it any more." To which her boss commented: "You Pussy."

"I was just surprised because at work he'd act like a friend to the other employees but he'd never been like that with me before," Leasa says.

"It was sort of degrading because I don't even talk to this guy."

Another element through which businesses can intimidate and keep track of their employees is on Facebook groups. Cosmetic retail representative Lucy (not her real name) received two requests to join her work group before she "reluctantly" accepted. The 20-year-old says she was pressured to attend optional work meetings via the group's listing and experienced online bullying.

"I received updates on meetings and events," she says.

"I felt the need to put 'maybe attending' due to university commitments. If I put 'not attending' I would be encouraged by phone to attend. It was pretty much like they were looking into my personal life. But now that I've left the group, I feel liberated.

"I also didn't want to be a part of the group so Facebook users could check up on where I work. That's another invasion of privacy."

Not all Facebook employer-employee relationships are troublesome. Doughnut shop worker Kimberley Driver, 20, says she never thinks twice about writing on her Facebook page because she gets along with her boss.

"It would suck if my boss was different," Driver says.

"It's your profile to express what you're feeling and what you want to say. You shouldn't have to be restricted or toned down by anyone."

One major problem many users are oblivious of is that their profile is automatically set to be on public view.

Media arts production student Chris Noble, 21, found that out the hard way. He signed up to Facebook 10 months ago and couldn't figure out why random people were contacting him.

"I couldn't believe that. I thought [my Facebook profile] was set to private mode. I felt vulnerable and annoyed that anyone, complete strangers, could view my page and information and I had no idea that it was my duty to change the default settings from public viewing to private. It's ridiculous," Noble says.

At the end of the day, if you're going to use Facebook, make sure your profile settings are appropriate. Take advantage of friend category lists such as family, colleagues, friends and acquaintances to filter your relationships and content.

And if your boss does decide to add you on Facebook, it's not career suicide if you place them on limited profile, where certain parts of your profile content become restricted to them.

After all, do you really want them seeing a photo of you in a bikini or Speedos roaming freely on the beach?

Let's face it: Facebook was designed as a personal platform for social communication - and for some people, that means leaving work relationships at the office.


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Jeffrey Grob: 3 Years in Federal Prison for Cyberstalking

A Missouri man was sentenced Friday to three years and one month in federal prison for cyberstalking.

Jeffrey Grob, 28, pleaded guilty in March to sending threatening e-mails to his former girlfriend. Prosecutors say Grob sent the e-mails from October through December 2007.

The e-mails included death threats, and some included pictures of dead women. An Oct. 15, 2007, e-mail said: "I hope you die!!" One on Nov. 24 read: "I'm going to slit your throat. If you ever come back to Montana again I am going to slit your throat." Another e-mail included a picture of a dismembered woman and said: "This will be you."


Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Emotional Cost of Infidelity

By Pam Gerhardt

Nearly four years ago Linda Shafer, divorced and living alone with her dog in Oklahoma City, logged onto her computer after a long day of social work and entered the world of Internet chat rooms. One man sparked her interest. They started a private conversation.

"This wasn't the usual 'how much do you weigh' or 'what color is your hair?' " says Shafer, a social worker with the federal government. "This was different."

As it turned out, he lived close by. After a few weeks of intense, personal dialogue, he suggested they meet for lunch. He was married with children.
"This was the stupid part," says Shafer, her voice soft, kind, a voice that troubled families--her clients--can trust. "I thought it would be harmless just to meet a married man for lunch. Well, I met him."
Shafer didn't know it at the time, but she had already entered stage three of an extramarital affair that would last 3 1/2 years, bringing her moments of bliss, hours of sorrow.

Nearly all affairs--yes, even yours--follow very specific patterns. They generally fall into four stages, according to several family researchers.

Stage One
: You develop a close emotional bond. This is the talking stage. For Shafer, it occurred on the Internet. For others, it happens at work or in the neighborhood. You get to know each other, about each other. There's a spark.

Stage Two: You keep it a secret. You don't tell your spouse or your friends that you are attracted emotionally to this person. "You know you're in deep when you decide to keep the relationship secret," says Florida psychologist Debbie Layton-Tholl. "Fantasy and secrets are very powerful. They fuel the fire."

Stage Three: You have lunch, play tennis. This is the dating phase, though you might not know it. You start seeing each other, doing things together. You might tell yourself this is just a colleague, just a friend.

Stage Four: Well. You know.

At that point you are engaged in an intense sexual and emotional liaison. Sometimes extramarital affairs lead to new marriages. Other times, they are roller-coaster relationships that last only months, or a few years. And then there are affairs that become lifelong relationships. Think of CBS correspondent Charles Kuralt, whose 30-year romance was exposed posthumously, shocking fans of his television program, "Sunday Morning."

According to researchers and eyewitnesses, thousands of people have life-changing affairs and use nearly identical language to describe the passion, betrayal and pain associated with them. "No one ever made me feel like that before." "I wanted to kill myself." "If I had to choose one person to live with me on a deserted island, it would be him." Or "her."

Family therapists and affair survivors -- or casualties, depending on how the affair turns out--urge people to acknowledge the prevalence of affairs and to start talking openly about them. Only such honesty, they believe, will help illuminate the psychodynamics of these relationships and help people understand--and perhaps avoid--the pain that they can cause.

"Extramarital affairs are one of the most taboo subjects in our culture," says Janis Abrahms Spring, author of "After the Affair" (HarperCollins, 1997) and a supervisor at Yale University. They are "so extraordinarily traumatizing," she says. "And yet we talk about them only when we are making jokes."

The Fall
We just slide into it," explains Baltimore psychologist Shirley Glass, who specializes in couples and extramaritial affairs. "Often, the attraction begins at work. Women have become more involved in previously male-dominated professions. They work closely, seeing each other at their best. A friendship develops. If you are not careful, the friendship becomes too intimate and eventually sexualized. The chemistry intensifies. Sparks fly."
Maybe you even fall in love.

Stage One is the innocent prelude during which the emotional connection is formed. A former police officer in upstate New York who had an eight-month affair says he didn't see it coming. It was early in his marriage, before he became a police officer, and he was working evenings, managing a fast-food restaurant.
"One of the workers and I just developed this friendship," he says in a telephone interview, the sounds of his two kids, chattering in the background. He moves to a different phone and explains: "It wasn't about hopping into bed with someone. We talked for four months before anything sexual happened."
But inevitably, the relationship moved through the stages. One night after closing, he and the woman were talking passionately about personal issues, as usual. She asked him to help her fix a light in the men's bathroom. "I was in there, and suddenly the door opened and she came in and closed the door and kissed me," he says. "I kissed her back."

Meanwhile, he kept the relationship a secret. His wife eventually found out about it after finding a note in his pants pocket. Standard movie-script fare.

It's a common plot, a cliche scenario played out in movies, novels and government hallways. Fumbled kisses. Groping in Nissan Altimas. Steamy Comfort Inns. Shafer, the social worker, met her lover in a hotel room for three years. "I'm in my mid forties, and we would make out in the car like we were 16," she says. "There's a certain high to that."

But there is the larger human element that muddies up the script, and the very real and devastating pain that often follows. Even when the affair marks the beginning of a new, healthier, long-term relationship, it comes at a price. Someone, somewhere in an extramarital affair, always loses.

Yet affairs often feel like love. "You get very close emotionally and physically very quickly, but it's a fake closeness," says Shafer. "For him, it was out of sight, out of mind. For me, the day after was always the hardest."

Often these relationships are stormy. Shafer broke off the relationship several times. One breakup lasted seven months. The final breakup came more than three years after she connected with him on the Internet. She reached the point where he disgusted her. The final straw came one day after he had taken a shower. "He said, 'I think I still smell like you,' and it just made me sick to my stomach," she recalls. "That was it. I had had it." He left, and that was the last time she saw him.
Shafer says the deception hurt the most. "The relationship can never go anywhere. You're making a banquet out of crumbs." She discounted the possibility that the affair would lead to marriage. "Even if a person gets divorced, the new relationship is still based on a lie," she says.

"I knew what I was getting into," she continues. "But I didn't get out of it without getting hurt." Near the end, it was clear to her that he was seeing someone new, another affair. "At times I feel like I still love him, but what do I love?"
The Allure of the Secret
Statistics on the frequency of affairs don't add up. People lie, even in anonymous polls. Also, general polls are often not reliable: an 18-year-old who says he's never had an affair isn't saying much.

The percentage of those who say they have had affairs ranges from 25 percent to 75 percent of all males and 15 percent to 60 percent of women. Pyschologist Layton-Tholl, who specializes in Internet research and has interviewed 3,600 people who have had affairs, says the current acceptable statistic is roughly half of all men and women--including the persons victimized by the deception--get involved in extramarital affairs. Abrahms Spring, who has worked with couples for more than 25 years, says affairs affect one of every 2.7 couples.

But enough math. The point is, most people will have some exposure to infidelity. Maybe it will be you, your spouse, a sibling, a friend, a parent (the dreaded box of love letters in the attic) or someone admired from afar, like, say, Kuralt. His long-term relationship came to light after his death when the "other woman" pressed her claim for the Montana house she had shared with him for so many years. They had spent Christmases together, gone on vacation together.

Kuralt is hardly the only one. Famous names recently in the media: Franklin D. Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, Marion Barry, Thomas Jefferson, Prince Charles, French President Francois Mitterand (whose mistress stood beside his wife at his funeral), Gary Hart, Frank Gifford, Bill Cosby, poet James Dickey, writer John Cheever, Martin Luther King, television evangelist Jim Bakker (whatever happened to Tammy?) and Rep. Bob Livingston.

What is it about affairs? What is it about passion--defined literally as "suffering"? Why do people risk everything for that stolen kiss, sweaty palms, rapid heart rate? Why do writers dramatize the suffering in popular mythology? Remember "Bridges of Madison County," "The English Patient," "Gone With the Wind," and the this year's Academy Award winner for Best Picture, "Shakespeare In Love."
"It's a drug," says Shafer of Oklahoma. "It's a fix. You can't wait until the next time. It's very addicting. You feel you can't live without it."
Florida researcher Layton-Tholl focuses specifically on the allure of secret relationships. People who keep them report far greater arousal, passion and obsession than with nonsecret relationships. (Not unlike the very early days of perfectly legitimate relationships, before you tell your friends and family that you are "in love.")

The signs and symptoms are familiar. People "in love" fantasize, pine, obsess. They lose sleep and weight. "I've talked to men who 15 years after the affair still wonder what she's doing," says Layton-Tholl.

How interesting that they reach such romantic heights only out of context from their daily lives. But is it love?

In "After the Affair," Abrahms Spring draws distinctions between romantic love and mature love. "Romantic love is an intense but unwarranted attachment that you, the unfaithful partner, may feel toward your lover," she explains. You think the love must be real because the chemistry between you is so explosive. You are willing to sacrifice so much for this passion. "The blind spot behind this feeling--what you fail to see," she writes, "is that your so-called grand passion may have more to do with your unmet needs than with who this other person really is."

Love also experiences changes on a physiological level. In the throes of romantic love, people experience a high from natural amphetamine-like chemicals such as dopamine and norepinephrine. "In the next stage of love," she writes, "the brain releases endorphines--natural painkillers that soothe and create a sense of security and calm."

On the cognitive side, a perceptual distortion takes place. "You idealize the other person, assigning him or her more positive attributes than any one person could actually possess," continues Abrahms Spring. "At the same time, you're likely to paint your partner in equally distorted, but negative terms, as a foil for your lover."

Personal Trauma
Falling in love is obviously not confined to infidelity. Most contemporary marriages start out with romantic love. But, therapists say, couples have to grow up and understand that "feelings of love are neither steady nor constant but travel in natural cycles," as Abrahms Spring puts it. "If your relationship doesn't live up to your ideas about love, the problem may be not with your relationship but with your ideas," she writes.

Falling out of love with a spouse--and in love with someone else often rekindles that early experience of romantic love. It's why lovers say "He (or she) made me feel young again."

But sooner or later, lovers in an extramarital affair have to confront the dynamic nature of their relationship and move on to a deeper bond. Or sever the connection.

Just why people have affairs has no single answer. Each case is different. Researchers point to a combination of issues in the individual and in the marriage. Personal issues run the gamut of pop psychology from low self-esteem to midlife crises in which people question everything at work and at home.

Marital problems may stem from getting married very young or having a job that takes a spouse away from home--emotionally as well as physically.

With so many different factors, researchers resist a cookie-cutter formula to explain infidelity. Nor do they use such labels as "bad marriage" or "weakness of character."
"It's a mistake to think that only people with personal weaknesses have affairs," explains Peggy Vaughan, co-author with her psychologist husband of six books on extramarital affairs, including "The Monogamy Myth" (Newmarket Press, 1998) and "Beyond Affairs" (out of print), in which the Vaughans detail the husband's 17 affairs over a period of seven years and describe how they rebuilt their marriage. "It's far more complicated than that," she says.
Another factor involves societal attitudes not only about celebrities who have affairs but also about sex. "As a society, we give a lot of lip service to--but actually undermine -- monogamy," says Vaughan. "We learn at a very early age to associate sex with deception and secrecy. By not talking to our teens about sex, for example, we show them to keep it secret," she says. That sets up an expectation, she argues, that sexual fulfillment can only be attained in secret relationships.

Secrecy, many researchers maintain, is the enemy of monogamy. Abrahms Spring notes how difficult it is even for patients to talk about infidelity and how many of them try to hide affairs in the initial phase of therapy.

"My focus is extramarital affairs. Obviously, that's why they come to me," she says, laughing softly at the irony. "But it takes them several sessions before they can speak of it."

The Aftermath
The former police officer and his wife tried to repair the marriage, had another baby. A few years later, the wife had a short affair with someone she met on the Internet, then another. Eventually she left him.
"I cried for hours on the couch. I couldn't move," he says. "My wife never recovered from my affair. Years would go by and I wouldn't hear anything about it, then suddenly all this anger would come out."
Affairs rock your world. Life is never the same again. All parties involved experience a profound sense of loss and pain. The old status quo is gone. The future is uncertain.

"After finding out, the hurt partner experiences the most basic loss of self," says Abrahms Spring. "You feel alien in your own skin. Your most basic assumptions about the order of the universe have been turned upside down. It's devastating."

The person confessing to an infidelity experiences the full gamut: guilt, self-loathing. Often there is also relief. Leading a double life can become increasingly difficult for people engaged in affairs. Getting the truth out relieves them of carrying the burden of betrayal alone. To some therapists, honesty is essential, too, if the couple is to stay married and lay down a new framework for their relationship. Some people are glad that the affair is over and want to reestablish their marriage. "They're just so thankful to be with one person again in one place," explains Abrahms Spring. "They want to forgive and move forward."

The betrayed spouse may also find relief. Even if the affair seems to come out of the blue, the underlying causes of infidelity have probably been present for some time. Vaughan says she experienced relief when her husband told her the truth about his numerous affairs. "It was like a storm that flattens everything and allows fresh air to come through," she says. "The years of knowing subconsciously that something was wrong was much more painful that the two or so years it took us to recover."

Still the aftermath was hard. Vaughan has described how it took her almost a decade to rebuild her sense of self even though she and her husband had successfully reestablished their marriage in a couple of years. All in all, they've been married 43 years.

The "other" person, meanwhile, faces a whole different set of issues. How do you rebuild your life without the affair. At first there is profound aloneness and confusion. "She's not in the Bahamas or running around in mink," says Florida researcher Layton-Tholl. "She's at home, waiting for him to call, to explain himself and the promises he made."

All parties in extramarital affairs often report thoughts of suicide, according to family therapists. As Abrahms Spring writes in her book: "What people want to kill is not themselves but the pain."

Secrecy may be what sustains the affair while it is going on, but it also exacerbates the pain when it is over. Suddenly, there is no one to talk to. The loved one is gone. Unlike a death or divorce that prompts support from family and friends, the breakup of an affair goes largely unnoticed.

Yet everyone in the triangle suffers a sense of loss--a loss of self and a loss of love. Researchers believe the great hypocrisy in our culture is that while affairs are so prevalent, most people remain largely unsympathetic and closed to the complexities and pain. They slip into the stereotypes about infidelity and offer pat advice: Leave the no-good two-timer. Or focus on labels: Home wrecker. Or blame themselves: I wasn't sexy enough.

Cliches provide protection. "We don't want to believe that a man could have an affair on a wife who is loving and sensual and kind," says psychologist Glass. "That means it could happen to us."


Saturday, June 20, 2009

Another Internet Hookup Ends in Murder

Investigators believe a 38-year-old man was stabbed to death in his Queens, New York apartment by a man he met on the Internet, police sources said Thursday.

Michael Pecora's nude body was found in his Forest Hills, NY apartment late Wednesday, hours after his sister called his cell phone only to have a stranger answer, the sources said.

The man with Pecora's cell phone was a cab driver, who told the sister he was given the phone earlier in the week by a passenger who said he didn't have any money to pay the fare, sources said.

The passenger gave the cab driver the phone and a watch as payment when he was dropped off in the Bronx.

The panicked sister called police, and detectives interviewed the cabbie, who told them he picked up the mysterious passenger near Pecora's 65th Ave. apartment, sources said.

The building super climbed onto the fire escape and let cops into Pecora's sixth-floor apartment through the window where they found his body sprawled in a hallway near his bedroom. He had been stabbed three times.

"He was a good kid," said Sam Pecora, the victim's father, from his home in Pennsylvania.

Pecora's laptop was missing and the cabbie remembered that the suspicious fare was carrying what resembled a computer. That fueled investigators' belief that the killer met Pecora on the Internet and was trying to cover his tracks, sources said.

The cab is being dusted for prints.

Pecora's friends told investigators he used the Internet to find dates, sources said.

A graduate of the University of Tampa who worked for MasterCard, he was well-liked by neighbors who recalled his friendly demeanor.

"It's an absolute shock," said Roberto Sonabria, who lives on the same floor as Pecora. "It's a family neighborhood [and] he was a nice man."


Friday, June 19, 2009

Australian Police Warn About 'Hate Sites"

By Matt Neal

PEOPLE harassing or threatening others by posting abusive comments on websites can be charged with cyber-stalking - an offence that carries a maximum jail term of 10 years.

That's the message Warrnambool police are sending to the public after concerns about offensive website forums were raised this week.

One particular website, which the press has chosen not to name, has drawn the attention of police after a spate of Warrnambool and south-west people used it to anonymously insult and attack residents. Most of the offenders and victims are believed to be young people, causing police to urge parents to monitor the internet usage of their children.

Detective Sergeant Lee Porter said anyone who felt harassed or threatened by comments posted anonymously on open website forums should contact police.

"People should contact police if they feel they're being subjected to crimes like harassment," Detective Sergeant Porter said.

He said that if it caused people to feel fear, apprehension and intimidation, it could come under the heading of cyber-stalking and people could be charged.

"People have got to be very careful what they put on (these sites)," Detective Sergeant Porter said.

He said that people who posted comments on web forums could also be held in contempt of court.

"Referring to witnesses in a matter that's before a court, or harassing or interfering with witnesses before a court . . . all these things will be vigorously pursued by us," he said.

Detective Sergeant Porter said that aside from cyber-stalking or harassment, people posting insulting comments about others on such websites were also leaving themselves open to civil defamation suits which could cost thousands of dollars in pay-outs.

He said anonymous posters on website forums could be tracked down in the same way police have caught people involved in uploading or downloading child pornography.

"People can be tracked down . . . and they will be dealt with," Detective Sergeant Porter said.

"Police are able to establish who posts these sort of things.

"There are various avenues open to police to track down people who do this.

"They will be charged and prosecuted. If they are committing offences they will be held accountable."

Legally, an act of cyber-stalking is defined as including when a person stalks another person by publishing on the internet or by an email or other electronic communication to any person a statement or other material with the intention of causing physical or mental harm to the victim or of arousing apprehension or fear in the victim for their own safety.


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Another Online Predator Zeroes in on Lonely Woman

SCAM Pictures, Images and Photos

Yet again MORE proof: Stay off all online dating & personals sites. ALL of them are loaded with predators. - Fighter

Carolin Bush wanted companionship, but all the man she met online wanted was financial gain.

And he's still out there on internet dating sites looking for vulnerable women. So the Adrian woman turned to Call 11 for Action problem solver Mika Highsmith hoping to warn others.

Bush thought searching Yahoo Personals would be a good idea.

"Being on the computer, you get to weed out the ones you don't want... you are led to believe," Bush said.

She found someone she thought was the perfect match.

"A cute guy, he had a nice description and he was from Detroit."

But it turns out he actually lives in Nigeria -- and he's not looking for love. It seems what he wants is money.

"He needed me to Western Union him $2,000."

Lucky for Bush, she did her research.

"I googled him the week before and came across things that didn't add up."

She knew his stories were bogus and didn't fall for it -- now she's hoping to save others.

"Check them out before you even meet them. Be smart do your research. Don't give any guy any money. Have the guy wine and dine you. Go slow."

Bush has reported the guy to Yahoo Personals but there's no telling how many sites he's on. So if someone you don't know asks your for money, be smart and don't send it.


Saturday, June 13, 2009

Match.com Sued Again

Yet more reasons to STAY OFF THE ONLINE DATING SITES! - Fighter
Match.com Pictures, Images and Photos

A world-wide dating website Match.com, is being sued by a New York area man for deceptive marketing practices. New York general litigation attorneys representing the plaintiff accused Match of misleading customers with dating prospects who are not actually, paid members of the Internet dating service.

The Brooklyn, NY man claims he was humiliated and disappointed due to unresponsive profiles on Match.com.

The plaintiff, Sean McGinn of Brooklyn, filed the lawsuit against the dating giant, Match.com, on Tuesday. According to New York Federal Court reports, McGinn claims members of the dating Internet website suffer rejection when attempts are made to contact a prospective date and the inquiry remains unanswered. This lack of response leaves members with the sense of humiliation and disappointment.

The lawsuit cites Match.com profiles do not clearly state whether or not the prospective single has a current paying subscription, which is inflicting anxiety, fear of rejection, and further defrauds the consumer of their time and emotional investment. McGinn alleges Match.com’s business practices are deceptive and his suit requests unspecified damages.

Match.com, owned by IAC/InterActiveCorp, which has a membership following of more than 100 million people since 2000, states the lawsuit lacks merit. Attorneys representing the social media giant assert they will defend the allegations vigorously. According to the dating service, profiles can be made without any charge to the person. Through this profile, prospective members can search the databases for singles and prospective dates, but will be unable to contact anyone or respond to any messages without paying a fee to join the service.

It is clearly stated on the website that looking around, and creating a profile is free to everyone, but you have to hold a paying membership to email, wink, and “enjoy all that Match.com has to offer”.

JusticeNewsFlash.com news for New York general litigation lawyers.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Cyberstalkers Violate Victims with Cutting Edge

By Stephen T. Watson

It can be a GPS device implanted under a car’s dashboard, revealing where the victim is at any time.

Or a video camera hidden in a home and disguised as a baseball cap or a calculator.

Or spyware surreptitiously downloaded onto a computer that provides remote access to e-mail, the user’s schedule and every Web site she visits.

Stalkers today don’t have to lurk outside an office or trail a car to keep track of their target’s every move, because technical advances make it easier for them to harass their victims.

These high-tech tools tell stalkers where their victims are, what they are doing and whom they are talking to, all from a distance and hidden behind an electronic veil of secrecy.

“We’re noticing some folks we work with are starting to say, ‘How did he know that? How did he know I was here?’ ” said Robyn Wiktorski- Reynolds, advocate program coordinator at Crisis Services. “I know it’s happening, and I know it has instilled a lot of fear in people that it could happen [to them]. It’s just the new method of doing it.”

Law enforcement officials, victim advocates and tech experts say they have seen an increase in cases in which stalkers have used old and new technologies to track their victims.

Local police and prosecutors say they have seen a handful of such cases, and a study released this year by the U. S. Department of Justice found that electronic stalking is a serious problem.

“More and more, we’re seeing stalkers using this technology to facilitate the behavior they’ve always engaged in,” said Michelle M. Garcia, director of the Stalking Resource Center at the National Center for Victims of Crime, in Washington, D. C.

Potential victims need to know that stalkers are using these high-tech devices and that they must be careful about what they share online, advocates say.

“It’s a very serious concern, and the problem with so-called stalking technology is that there’s very little that victims can do to identify or stop this covert tracking,” said Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center.

Some of this technology — such as hidden surveillance cameras or tiny audio recording devices — has been used by criminals and police alike for years. Today, however, the devices are smaller and cheaper, and the surveillance software is easier to use and more accessible.

Getting harder to track
A January report from the Bureau of Justice Statistics, an arm of the Justice Department, found that 3.4 million people reported being stalked during a recent 12-month period.

During that time, covering part of 2005 and 2006, one in four victims said they were harassed by e-mail, text message or some other form of cyber-stalking, while one in 13 victims said they were stalked through some form of electronic monitoring.

It’s easy to obscure the origin of a phone call or e-mail, and people can send text messages anonymously through any of a number of Webbased services.

In one case, a young woman received several threatening calls on her cell phone from a man who knew her name, said Edward C. Hempling, director of training at the Erie Community College County Law Enforcement Training Academy.

The calls showed up as “Blocked ID,” Hempling said, and the man didn’t stop when the woman said she would call the police. The man called again, Hempling said, and he threatened an officer when he took the phone.

The investigation into the source of the calls, which is continuing, hasn’t been easy, he added. “It took two weeks for them to get the phone number,” Hempling said. “You increase the level of the technology, you’re increasing the time and the level of expertise required to properly investigate it.”

Global-positioning system technology has made it easier for stalkers to keep track of their victims’ location.

A stalker can implant a GPS device or another tracking device in a car and keep tabs on the position of the vehicle through an Internet connection.

Listening devices are getting easier to hide, cheaper and higher-quality. Newer technology allows users to tap into every file on a cell phone’s subscriber identity module, or SIM, card, the portable memory chip used by most cellular providers.

Also, a cell phone can be hidden in a car or home and programmed so that when stalkers call a phone, they can listen in on whatever conversation is taking place.

Video cameras, too, are getting smaller and easier to hide. They can be made to look like everyday objects and operate over a wireless connection, so the footage can be monitored online.

This month, for example, a West Seneca man was charged with hiding a spy camera in the bedroom of his girlfriend’s teenage daughter so that he could watch and record her dressing and undressing.

The Internet and cutting-edge computer software have opened new opportunities for stalkers interested in illicitly obtaining personal data.

Firms sell information
Spyware, often unintentionally downloaded onto the victim’s computer, can keep track of every Web site a computer user visits, e-mail traffic and instant messaging. Keystroke logging software, once installed, goes further and covertly transmits or keeps a record of everything the victim has typed onto the computer.

“There’s some way you can send e-mail that has a Trojan horse so that I can see where you’re going on your computer,” Amherst Assistant Police Chief Timothy M. Green said.

At a domestic-violence conference held in March at ECC, Jodi Rafkin recalled a woman who was stalked and killed in 1999 outside her office by a former classmate who found out where she worked through one of the companies that obtain and sell such information on demand.

The stalker, Liam Youens, had obsessed over Amy Boyer for years and devoted two Web sites to detailed descriptions of his hatred for her and his intentions to kill her, said Rafkin, a program attorney with the Stalking Resource Center.

Boyer’s family began a crusade to try to shut down such companies, which dig up phone records, as well.

In one pending Niagara County case, a man is accused of putting tracking devices in his estranged wife’s cell phone and in a laptop computer given to their children, said Lisa M. Baehre, an assistant district attorney and head of the office’s Domestic Violence Bureau.

Experts say law enforcement officials need to devote the time and resources for better training in detection, prevention and investigation of electronic stalking.

The conference at ECC’s North Campus was a local step in that direction, but more is needed because the technology is advancing so rapidly and the cases are so complex.

‘A daunting task’
“For the law enforcement side, it’s definitely a daunting task to think that every time you take one step forward, the bad guys take three steps forward,” said Supervisory Special Agent Jeffrey A. Tricoli, head of the cybercrime program with the Buffalo office of the FBI.

Potential victims need to be aware that stalkers can use the Internet and high-tech devices in committing their crimes and that they need to be cautious while using the Web.

“We talk to people about being careful what they put on the computer,” said Laura E. Grube, a coordinator with Child & Family Services Haven House, serving victims of domestic violence,“being careful about what they share on their Facebook page [and] knowing about their privacy settings.”

Original Article