(AUSTRALIA) An international romance, spanning the Pacific Ocean, that started with a click of a mouse has finished with a knock at the door.
Police, following a request from an Illinois sheriff, this week went to a Rockhampton man's home to stop his cyber affair with a woman from Peoria, USA. The man indicated he'd not long discovered from a third party their online relationship was on the blink.
However, the woman had complained to her local sheriff about harassing messages.
A police spokesman said the US sheriff contacted officers at the Rockhampton station on Wednesday night with the visit made to the man's home the next morning.
“He has stated he was unaware the online relationship was over until he was notified by a third party,” the police spokesman said. “He was still liaising with the young lady in the US before that."
“She was receiving this as harassment.”
He said the man agreed to stop all contact with the woman.
CQUniversity's Dean of Information and Communication Technology professor Mark Looi said online relationships were becoming increasingly common as more people went online.
Professor Looi said he was aware of other cases where authorities had warned someone after an on-line relationship went sour. However, he said he'd not heard of anyone being charged in these types of circumstances.
Any offence on the internet that originated out of Queensland was dealt with under the Queensland legislation.
Harassment complaints are generally covered under the Telecommunications Act, which has a provision that the internet not be used for this purpose.
Professor Looi said anyone who felt they were being harassed online should contact the service provider if the abuse was of a lower level. He said if they felt worried they should inform police.