Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Harassment Pushed Victim to File Lawsuit


(MASSACHUSETTS) - Even after hundreds of empty boxes arrived in the mail and she was warned that firecrackers would explode on her lawn, Laurie A. Narey shied away from taking court action.

"It's not something I'm comfortable with," she said. "I'm a private person."

Eventually, however, the harassment was too much. She was getting e-mails and telephone calls blaming her for Phoebe Prince's suicide. Even the boxes she never ordered would be labeled "Phoebe Died" and "Phoebe's Killed." Someone had mistakenly linked her online to Kayla Narey, one of the six former South Hadley High School students charged in connection with Prince. It got to the point that Laurie Narey had to move out of her Lathrop Street house and stay with her father for awhile.

This week, Narey filed a civil suit against Cody M. Nallett of 122 Carew St. in Chicopee, claiming that Nallett initiated the harassment by incorrectly posting Facebook messages saying she was Kayla Narey's mother and that the defendant lived at her house.

"Her mom's laurie ... so when ya'll start calling make sure to say hi," Nallett wrote, according to the suit. In another posting, Nallett allegedly recommended calling Narey after 2 a.m. Nallett spread the word to local television and radio stations, one of which posted the false information on its Web site, Narey said. Even after Narey got through to Nallett on the Internet, Nallett wouldn't back off.

"I told her she had the wrong information," Narey said. "She said everything she did was right. She took no responsibility."

Nallett, who is being sued for libel, injurious falsehood and both negligent and intentional infliction of emotional distress, could not be reached for comment.

Narey, 47, said Friday she wanted to find another way to solve the problem before going to a lawyer.

"I decided to press charges because this went on month after month," she said. "I was able to make the decision I believe was right. This is about accountability, saying, 'Hey, you can't do this to people.'"

Narey is not the only person who has been flailing in the riptide of emotions resulting from Prince's death. Since the 15-year-old freshman hanged herself on Jan. 14, school officials and the defendants charged in her case have been subject to online humiliation and even death threats.

Laurie Narey said she is a distant relation of Kayla Narey, but Kayla has never lived at her house.

"People feel because I'm related to her I deserve this," she said. "We're talking about an action somebody has taken against me. It has nothing to do with who I'm related to."

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