Saturday, October 29, 2011

Jailed for Running a 'Vicious' Internet Smear Campaign

Lonely Facebook Friend Pictures, Images and Photos

A teenager who posted a death threat on Facebook, yesterday became the first person in Britain to be jailed for bullying on a social networking site.

Keeley Houghton, 18, said she would kill Emily Moore, whom she had bullied for four years since they were at school together.

On her personal page, Houghton wrote of her victim: 'Keeley is going to murder the bitch. She is an actress. What a ******* liberty. Emily ****head Moore.'

Two days before she made the threat, Houghton had intimidated Emily, who is also 18, after spotting her in a pub.

Sara Stock, prosecuting, told Worcester magistrates: 'When Emily was sitting on her own the defendant came over and sat next to her and asked her, "Are you Emily Moore? Can I have a huggle?" Emily told the defendant to leave her alone otherwise she would call the police. Keeley then told her, "I'll give you something to ring the police about".'

Yesterday, jobless Houghton sobbed as she was sentenced to three months in a young offenders' institution after pleading guilty to harassment.

She was also given a restraining order banning her from contacting Emily in person, via the internet or in any other manner for five years.

People have previously been jailed for harassment and stalking on social networking sites but she is thought to be the first to be jailed for bullying via the internet.

Houghton, of Malvern, Worcestershire, had two previous convictions relating to her vendetta against Emily, the court heard.

In 2005 she was convicted of assaulting her as she walked home from school. Houghton was subsequently expelled from school. Two years later she was convicted of causing criminal damage to Emily's home after kicking her front door.

District Judge Bruce Morgan said: 'Since Emily Moore was 14 you have waged compelling threats and violent abuse towards her.

'Bullies are by their nature cowards, in school and society. On this day you did an act of gratuitous nastiness to satisfy your own twisted nature.'

The court heard that Houghton had told police she wrote the death threats while she was drunk late at night.

But when officers examined internet records they discovered Houghton wrote the comments at 4pm on July 12 and kept them on her Facebook page for 24 hours.

Last month, an inquest heard how a schoolgirl took a fatal overdose of painkillers after bullies waged a hate campaign against her on Bebo.

Megan Gillan, 15, of Macclesfield, Cheshire, swallowed the tablets to avoid a science exam after classmates posted spiteful messages on the social networking site.

She was found dead in bed by her parents after she failed to come down for breakfast on the day of the exam.

Her death prompted the Archbishop of Westminster, Vincent Nichols, to criticise such sites, saying they encouraged teenagers to build 'transient relationships' that can leave them traumatised when they collapse.

The archbishop, who was appointed to the post in April, said the sites encouraged young people to put too much emphasis on the number of friends they have rather than on the quality of their relationships.

Emma Jane Cross, from campaign group Beatbullying, said yesterday: 'The sentencing of an 18-year-old girl for cyber bullying is the first of its kind in the UK and sets an important precedent.

'Cyber bullying is a worrying and fast growing trend which can be more harmful than typical schoolyard bullying.'

Drama on Facebook
Facebook is used by tens of millions of people across the world, but the way some users use the site has led to various dramas.

Last week, a picture surfaced of an alleged Facebook sacking, after an employee ranted about her boss online. He promptly replied, reminding her she had added him as a 'friend' before promptly firing her.

Meanwhile term 'Facebook Rage' is entering our language, often defined as feeling anger when a relationship breaks down and a former partner begins posting updates about their love-life.

It has also been used to describe users, convinced their other half is cheating, who spend hours stalking their partner online in a bid the find further proof to fuel their suspicions, deliberately searching for incriminating evidence.

Facebook was also in the dock a fortnight ago after a judge banned a gang of thugs from posting menacing photographs of themselves online.

In a landmark ruling, nine men pictured making gun gestures on social networking websites will be locked up if such images appear again.

Judge Clement Goldstone QC issued the ban while sentencing members of the Fallowfield Mad Dogs gang for affray. He was shown pictures of them pulling gun poses and talking about 'preparing for war' on a networking site.

Teacher Sonya McNally, 35, from Grimsby, is also currently suspended on full pay since calling her 13-year-old pupils ‘bad’ in a private conversation on the social networking site.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Facebook Threats Trial Begins

by Peter Hall

(PENNSYLVANIA, USA) Anthony Douglas Elonis' alleged Facebook threats to attack Dorney Park, kill his wife and slaughter a class of kindergartners scared some and terrified others, a federal prosecutor said Tuesday.

But when a jury weighs the evidence against Elonis, it won't have to consider whether he intended to threaten those people, but rather that he knew it could be perceived as a threat.

Testimony in Elonis' trial on five counts of making threats under the federal cyber stalking law began Monday, with FBI Special Agent Denise Stevens explaining how Elonis attracted the agency's attention.

Elonis, 28, was arrested in December after authorities executed a search warrant at his parents' home on Schwab Avenue, Lower Saucon Township.

Shortly after Elonis was fired in October 2010 from his job at Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom in South Whitehall Township for making a Facebook post that his co-workers perceived as threatening, the park's chief of security, Daniel Hall, contacted the FBI.

He was concerned, Stevens said, about Elonis' subsequent Facebook messages under the user name Tone Dougie describing himself as a nuclear bomb, and warning that his employers had "[expletive] with the timer."

Another message, which included a "disclaimer" that the words were fictitious lyrics and an exercise of the constitutional right to free expression, described Elonis' fantasy of a pair of twin-engine Cessna aircraft crashing into the amusement park in an apparent reference to the 9/11 World Trade Center attack.

Questioned by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sherri A. Stephan, Stevens said the disclaimer, and similar language in a post Elonis made about killing his estranged wife, did little to ease her worries.

"To me, it made them almost more threatening," Stevens said.

Stevens read each of Elonis' messages from Facebook screen shots displayed on TV screens for the jurors.

In a Nov. 6 post about his wife, Elonis wrote it was illegal, under the terms of a protection-from-abuse order, to say he wanted to kill her. He noted it was also illegal to describe the best way to launch a mortar attack on her home.

In a Nov. 15 post, Elonis wrote: "Fold up your PFA and put it in your pocket. Is it thick enough to stop a bullet?" It ended with a declaration that he had enough explosives to "take care of the State Police and the Sheriff's Department."

The next day, Elonis wrote, "That's it, I've had about enough. I'm checking out and making a name for myself. Enough elementary schools in a ten mile radius to initiate the most heinous school shooting ever imagined. And hell hath no fury like a crazy man in a Kindergarten class. The only question is which one?"

Stevens, who had been monitoring Elonis' Facebook posts, alerted the Lower Saucon police and surrounding school districts, she said.

In his opening argument, Elonis' attorney Benjamin Cooper asked the jury of seven women and five men to consider the context of Elonis' writing. He had recently lost his job and his wife had filed for divorce and taken away their two children.

"Mr. Elonis felt the impact of all that and he wrote about it in this medium called Facebook," Cooper said, noting that rap music contains similar violent imagery.

In an August court filing asking U.S. District Judge Lawrence Stengel to throw out the charges against Elonis, Cooper argued they are unconstitutional because they criminalize speech protected by the First Amendment.

He argued that Elonis' Facebook posts don't fall into one of the narrow exceptions to constitutionally protected speech called "true threats," in which the writer intends to place the victim in fear of bodily harm or death.

Rather, they were crude lyrical expressions of his frustration about life.

In response, Stephan wrote that the federal law prohibiting the transmission of threats -- the cyber stalking law -- doesn't require the government prove that a writer intended to make a threat, only that he knowingly made a statement that made the recipient fearful.

In a ruling from the bench Monday, Stengel agreed.

The trial is scheduled to continue Wednesday with testimony from Elonis' wife and Dorney Park employees.

original article found here

Monday, October 24, 2011

Please Sign the Petition for a National Marriage Database

Sign the Petition for a National Marriage Database

Bigamy (and Dating Site Fraud, Married Cyberpaths and Internet Con Persons) would become a crime of the past if there were a National Database of Marriages and Divorce.

Donna Layne Roberts, victim of the notorious "Don Juan of Con"--William Michael Barber--has begun a petition asking Congress to support this request and pass a law that will require All marriages and ALL divorces to be entered into a National Database.

Bigamy is a serious social and criminal problem that is overlooked, laughed at, and enabled by the way in which applications for marriage licenses are haphazardly given to applicants in the United States. (And despite claims to the contrary, 'background checks for married people' are not done on Dating Sites because there IS NO NATIONAL MARRIAGE DATABASE AND NO REAL WAY TO CHECK!!)

For example, if you apply for a marriage license, no background checking is done, and you are "at your word" to provide honest answers on the marriage application. A man or woman who is already married, could easily go tomorrow and get married and no checking would be performed. Furthermore, there is no centralized database for jurisdictions to check to see whether or not a person is being truthful on their application.

Even a bigamous marriage that takes place in the same jurisdiction can occur. For example, Julia Bish Judah Hunt White McGovern, married two men in Las Vegas. The marriages even appear in the Clark County, NV marriage database. No checking was done to see if serial Bigamist Julia Bish-Judah-Hunt-White-McGovern obtained a divorce, therefore, she was married Judah while still married to Randy Bish and was free to marry Hunt while still married to Bish and Judah.

Bigamy is classified as a felony in most states, yet rarely do bigamists ever spend a night in jail and many get off with fines less than what most of us get for reckless driving tickets. It is cheaper to be a bigamist than get a divorce. What is wrong with this picture? Not only do bigamists dish out emotional abuse to their victims, but they ruin them financially as well. (Married people who troll the dating sites cause considerable emotional, mental and financial damage to their spouses, their families and the innocents they meet and romance who have no idea they are dealing with someone with a spouse & possibly children.)

Please sign the petition today and help ensure that the prevalent crimes of bigamy, fraud, embezzlement, and identity theft will be harder to commit against the people of this country, and the sanctity of both religious and civil unions will be protected.

Cross posted from this site. We fully support this petition at EOPC - it would also end Dating Site Frauds and Married Cyberpaths preying on the innocent. We ask that our readers sign it and pass it on to everyone they know!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Serious Jail Time for Cyber Harassers

New Mexico is taking another look at cyberstalking with legislation that could mean serious prison time for those who use the Internet to harass someone.

Albuquerque Mayor Martin Chavez and two state lawmakers are proposing a new state law that would bump up cyberstalking to a felony and would force cyberstalkers to register as sex offenders.

APD Chief Ray Schultz said it's time to make laws tougher to stop predators in cyberspace, who have managed to operate from behind bars.

"One of those loop holes is the fact that somebody in jail can cyberstalk from jail via electronic means and there's no way for that to be successfully prosecuted," he said.

Mayor Chavez unveiled new legislation Thursday that will make it a sex crime to cyberstalk an adult--a fourth-degree felony.

"Right now, stalking an adult is a misdemeanor in New Mexico," Chavez said.

Last year, a Sandia Labs worker was sentenced to two years under federal law after using her work computer to stalk the lead sing of the rock band "Linkin Park" in 2006.

Children are already protected from being stalked electronically in New Mexico, but the mayor said that isn't enough. He wants all convicted cyberstalkers to register as sex offenders.

"I think any legislator would be hard pressed to say anyone convicted of stalking a child online ought to be able to proceed in anonymity in the future. They need to register like all the other creeps," Chavez said.

The FBI said it will have a new, state-of-the-art computer forensics lab in Albuquerque next year that police departments will be able to use to enforce local laws and track cyberstalkers.


Monday, October 17, 2011


Just to remind all of us how COMPULSIVE these predators are, Ed Hicks aka - Charles Hicks aka Charles Greene aka Billy Matthews, who was indicted for bigamy and got out of jail just a short while back is back online looking for new victims... er partners. (and still lying about his age too - he's actually 64!)

Hicks was the very first cyberpath we ever reported on and is the epitome of why this site was started. EOPC spent most of our first few months online reporting on this man and the fight to bring him to justice... yet 6 years later this alleged sociopath hasn't learned a thing.

From our friends at FIGHT BIGAMY, who got this comment (October 2011):
He's out again. Now going by the name of Billy Matthews. I too met him through an on-line dating site and found out accidentally who he really was. Luckilly for me, no damage done that I am aware of. Told me almost word for word every comment posted about him. Thank goodness for the internet.


If this isn't PROOF to STAY OFF ONLINE DATING! Be sure to report him to the dating site(s) he is on if you run into him. This time he was on a CHRISTIAN DATING SITE called "Love & Seek." By now he probably has another new name and is on a new website. Jail time hasn't deterred him one bit.

These cyberpaths spend their LIVES doing this and they will never stop. Hicks is a serial abuser and bigamist. He is probably already juggling multiple women for sex, money or just for fun. Hicks will tell you he's:
  • retired from the Federal Government (no. he was fired in disgrace.);
  • he's just looking for "love" or "companionship" or "in love with love", and
  • that all the news stories about him (well-researched with legal backup and filed in the courts in at least 2 states, convicted in Virginia and given jail time) are lies planted by his ex-wives or ex-girlfriends
  • calls you "HONEY" all the time because he usually has about 3 women on the go at any one time and can't always remember your name.

This very bad man, just like another bigamist, con man - William Barber - and here's proof Hicks will never stop. Cyberpathy is compulsive and even jail does not deter these men from getting online and doing it all over.



Sunday, October 16, 2011

Posed as Rock Star on Facebook - Really a Murderer

by Andy Dolan

She met him on Facebook, and was impressed enough to cross the Atlantic to meet him. But Maricar Benedicto’s naive trust was repaid in the most horrific way.

The man who lured her to the UK, David Russell, took her to a forest and persuaded the 19-year-old to wear a blindfold, saying he had a gift for her.

Russell then stood behind her and slit her throat. The terrified teenager tried to escape but the 20-year-old McDonald’s worker stabbed her several times, hit her in the face with a log and headbutted her. Miraculously, she survived.

At Northampton Crown Court, Russell admitted kidnap and attempted murder and was jailed for life. The court was told he had posed as tattooed rocker Oliver Sykes, lead singer in the Sheffield-based metal band Bring Me The Horizon, currently touring the Americas.

Prosecuting, Christopher Donnellan QC said that the day before Miss Benedicto arrived from California last April, Russell had searched the internet for ‘how to kill someone with bare hands’, ‘how to cut skin with a knife’ and ‘the best knife to kill’.

After meeting Miss Benedicto at the town’s railway station, Russell took her to a nearby forest, claiming it held special childhood memories.

Mr Donnellan said: ‘He asked her to sit down on a fallen tree trunk and said he was going to blindfold her. He said she would get a surprise or a present. He stood behind her, blindfolded her, asked her to put her head back, and her arms up. She did so with her palms up, entirely trusting him.

‘Although she did not see any implement because of the blindfold, the next thing she felt was her neck being sliced.’ The court heard that as Russell did it, he shouted: ‘Why won’t you die? You’ve ruined my life. It’s all your fault.’

The court was told she jumped up and the blindfold fell off. She began to run away ‘but he caught up and stabbed her in the back’. A serrated breadknife was found at the scene.

He stopped the attack only when Miss Benedicto told him she had given his name and address to immigration on arrival in the UK. He ran home, where he took a suspected overdose, while she staggered to a nearby house for help.

The pair had met on Facebook last year and ‘engaged in conversations using pseudonyms’. She went by the alias Ruby Townsend. They chatted online using Skype and Miss Benedicto knew Russell was not who he initially claimed to be before she flew to Britain.

Steven Crouch, defending, said Russell was ‘borderline autistic’ but had never offended before. ‘He is a troubled young man, very young, who committed an act in bizarre circumstances, never to be repeated.’

Jailing him on Tuesday, Judge Charles Wide QC said Russell was ‘exceptionally dangerous’ and must serve at least 17-and-a-half years in jail before being considered for release.

He added: ‘The features of this case are truly horrifying. When she was able to escape, you intended to kill her and must have come very close.’

original article found here

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Arrested for Cyberstalking His Ex

by Bob Byrne

(Pennsylvania, USA) Police have charged Anthony Ciccarone with three counts related to alleged cyberstalking after an investigation spurred by complaints from his ex-wife.

According to police, the woman complained to police, alleging that her daily activities were being monitored. While investigating the complaints police say they uncovered evidence that the suspect had "made comments to others that he had been monitoring his ex-wife's activities."

Police say they had the ex-wife's computer examined for evidence and uncovered a "Web Watcher" program that works by recording all activities on a computer without the user being aware that it is there. According to a Tredyffrin Police news release the Web Watcher program also logs every key stroke, capturing emails and internet activities.

The investigation led police to get a search warrant and an arrest warrant for Anthony Ciccarone. He was arrested last week. A $7,500 cash bail was set in the case, which the defendant posted.

original article here

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Burglars Use Twitter & Facebook to Scope Out Targets

by Andy Bloxham

With many users posting constant updates, the sites can unwittingly provide the thieves with information about recent high-value purchases such as televisions as well as the dates and times when they are out.

Other websites, such as Google Street View, show photographs of individual houses from which the would-be burglars can gauge security and ease of access by looking for alarms and side entrances.

The results were based on the answers of offenders who were convicted of burglary this year. Four out of five of the criminals said social media websites were being used by burglars. However, the same number said a simple home alarm would have deterred them from targeting the property in the first place.

According to the survey, a thief steals an average of £487 from a home on a single visit.

One of the convicted burglars interviewed, Richard Taylor, said: “We’re living in the age of the digital criminal and people are taking advantage of social media to access information about would-be victims. We’ll tell them even when we're going away on holidays. We will let them know that we’re not in. We’re inviting them round to our house.”

Jonathan Lim, an expert at Friedland, the security firm behind the research, said: “Taking simple measures, including cutting back trees and shrubs to remove potential hiding places and installing simple alarm systems are all good, cost-effective deterrents that all homeowners can implement to remove their home from the target list.”

original article here

Friday, October 07, 2011

Breakup then... Cyberstalk?

By Dane Schiller

Soon after a Massachusetts college student dumped her Houston-area fiancé, he sent her email and text messages to find out what happened, maybe win her back.

It didn't work. Things got ugly.

The ex-boyfriend is now accused of unleashing a torrent of hundreds of messages that grew so violent that the woman sought help from the FBI.

"I will tear you limb from limb," read one of the messages, according to copies shared with a magistrate. "I want to watch you suffer" and "I will come for you," read others.

Federal prosecutors accuse Christopher Hlavinka, 24, of using the Internet to cause "substantial emotional distress." He faces up to five years in prison if convicted.

On Tuesday, U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephen Smith ordered Hlavinka, who was first taken into custody in June, to be released to his family pending trial. He also is to be tracked by GPS and largely confined to home and is not allowed to use computers or cell- phones with Web access.

One email can land him back behind bars and facing even more time.

Spotlight on stalking
The case highlights increasing concern about online harassment and stalking.

Hlavinka's former fiancée, identified in court by the initials S.H., was pushed to the edge by the harassment, according to the FBI. She moved multiple times to hide and sought psychological counseling as well as police protection.

FBI Special Agent Ryan McKee testified that Hlavinka mocked a protective order as well as police, and sent personal information about S.H. to her family and associates. "Jail does not scare me," Hlavinka reportedly told her. "Isn't it cute you think you can get protection against me?"

Hlavinka's computer showed he went to Google maps and other sites to research where S.H. and her parents lived, McKee said.

3 motivations
Defense attorney Brian Laviage argued for Hlavinka's conditional release at the hearing, saying his client has no criminal record; no history of physical violence; and that he belonged with his family and getting help rather than in prison.

He said Hlavinka's arrests, first by Fort Bend authorities and then by federal agents, and his time behind bars helped him accept that the relationship is over. He just wants to get on with his life, Laviage said.

David Buss, a psychology professor at the University of Texas at Austin, said by phone that stalkers usually exhibit three major motivations: They either want to get back together with the ex-partner, to interfere with an ex's romantic life, or to exact revenge.

"Cyber-stalking can be especially vicious because the stalkers are sitting behind computers, and so feel that they can stalk with the safety of their own house or work," he said.

original piece can be found here

Monday, October 03, 2011

Facebook Getting Tough with Abusive Trolls

Vicious "trolls" who heap abuse on total strangers on the Internet for fun are being targeted in a Facebook crackdown. Tribute pages honoring the dead, such as soldiers in Afghanistan, have become a recent favorite of the ugly trolls, reports the Telegraph. Facebook users can manually delete abusive messages, but company engineers are now working on new systems that will automatically delete the hurtful slams. Facebook already tracks suspected trolls—those who repeatedly communicate with non-friends, or whose friend requests are often rejected.

Facebook is stepping up some site surveillance in the wake of mounting complaints about cyberbullying and pedophiles stalking users. Britain's Child Exploitation and Online Protection Center has recently initiated a Facebook site that offers advice and links to report cyber abuse. The official in charge of the center has criticized Facebook for refusing to add a "panic button" on each page to report problems.