SKY VALLEY CHRONICLE PREPARES TO FILE FEDERAL CYBERSTALKING CHARGES
November 30, 2012
(MONROE, WA) -- SkyValleyChronicle.com and it’s parent company are preparing to file at the earliest possible date documents and evidence designed to result in federal, or at the very least state cyberstalking charges being filed against at least one and possibly more individuals in Washington State that operate a rumor and accusation filled Internet blog and Twitter account, both of which are maintained almost exclusively, according to those who have monitored them over time, as vicious cyber-attack platforms against individuals, companies and institutions.
One of these platforms is allowed to continue to operate unhindered and unchallenged in this perpetual cyber-stalk mode by a well known, national Internet service provider.
The Chronicle is looking at the possibility of incorporating such action into a class action on behalf of various individuals who believe they have been stalked and harmed over an extended period of time by the same cyberstalker.
Cyberstalking is a federal crime that involves the use of interstate wire transfer and comes into play under state anti-stalking laws, slander laws, and harassment laws.
Cyberstalking is use of the Internet or other electronic means to stalk or harass an individual, a group of individuals, or an organization.
It may include the making of false accusations or statements of fact (as in defamation), monitoring, making threats, identity theft, damage to data or equipment, the solicitation of minors for sex, or gathering information that may be used to harass others.
Cyberstalking is different from offline stalking in that it occurs through the use of electronic communications technology, however it sometimes leads to offline stalking or is accompanied by it.
Both are criminal offenses.
A January 2009 U.S. Department of Justice report found that 23% of stalking victims suffered some form of cyberstalking, and 6% suffered electronic monitoring such as spyware, bugging or video surveillance. (Bureau of Stalking Statistics, Stalking Victimization in the United States)
Either type of action may or may not be accompanied by a credible threat of serious harm. But both types can cause psychological damage, and each can potentially lead to an assault or even murder.
In a recent Massachusetts case a 24-year old ex-boyfriend of a young woman decided to take out his anger out on her in a series of emails.
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.
In a local Puget Sound case this week, former Washington basketball player Doug Wrenn was convicted on Tuesday of harassing an ex-girlfriend. He was found guilty of four counts of cyberstalking and four counts of telephone harassment during a stipulated bench trial.
Wrenn, who has been in jail since his April 16 arrest, was sentenced to the time he has already served.
David Buss, a psychology professor at the University of Texas at Austin, told the Houston Chronicle last month that, “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."
CYBERSTALKERS ARE OFTEN DISTURBED INDIVIDUALS
Cyberstalking shares important characteristics with offline stalking. Many stalkers - online or off – are often mentally unstable individuals who exhibit stark anti-social behaviors such as deep anger management issues, pathological obsessions, narcissistic personality disorders and/or various sociopathic tendencies of one degree or another according to various published reports.
Such individuals are often motivated by a desire to control their victims - and inflict intense pain during the control - since in their personal lives they are often powerless or have little power in personal or business relationships.
Cyberstalkers derive great pleasure from the feeling of power they get during the stalking process and inflicting pain and emotional distress upon others.
Such victims may be individuals, groups, businesses, public institutions or all four at the same time.
Cyberstalking is also a continuous process, consisting of a series of actions that cumulatively constitute a form of severe and damaging mental assault in which the perpetrator repeatedly, unwontedly, and disruptively breaks into the life-world of the victim or victims - with whom he or she often has no relationship - in order to inflict severe emotional and/or economic distress through such things as defamation, threats, the spreading of lies and untruths, rumors and innuendo and tortiuous interference with business relationships.
A cyberstalker may be an online stranger or a person whom the target knows. A cyberstalker may be anonymous and may solicit involvement of other people in the stalking process, online or offline, who do not even know the target.
Such persons who aid and abet the cyberstalker are themselves culpable. A cyberstalking conviction can result in a number of penalties including a restraining order, probation, or jail time.
NEWSPAPER HAS BEEN TARGETED BY CYBERSTALKER SINCE SUMMER
The Sky Valley Chronicle, and individuals associated with the newspaper have been the victims of a cyberstalker or a cyberstalker aided by others since the end of August 2012.
Since that time we have been carefully and meticulously gathering evidence to move forward in building a case for criminal prosecution and possibly civil action as well.
Some of our people have become extremely fearful for their lives over the past few months as the person we believe is behind the month-in, month-out stalking campaign has stated in the past that the individual owns or has a gun or carries a gun.
Since we do not know what this person is capable of, and we do suspect some mental issues are involved here, we have taken life-preserving precautions until this matter is resolved.
Needless to say the person or persons behind this coordinated campaign has caused undue and severe emotional and even physical distress to individuals at the Chronicle through this relentless cyberstalking campaign in all its permutations and colors.
The Chronicle has for months been gathering evidence that includes, but is not limited to, email threats, audio tapes of phone calls made by cyberstalkers to the paper’s advertising clients -- calls intended to damage our business with said clients and harm the reputations of workers and owners of the company - numerous downloaded web pages of blog and Twitter postings of defamatory and untrue accusations and statements, outright lies and the vile, untrue accusation that a person in our company is anti-Semitic.
We believe the totality of the evidence over time, including statements from our clients and other materials, will show beyond a reasonable doubt that a cyberstalker, possibly aided by others has been, and is now actively engaged in a targeted, coordinated campaign of ugly, mean-spirited, Internet cyberstalking designed to inflict severe emotional pain and distress and damage the good names and reputations of people associated with the Sky Valley Chronicle and its corporate ownership as well as to harm the paper's financial position through attempts to turn our clients against us and pull their advertising by spreading lies and falsehoods.
To their credit and our unending gratitude not one of our fine clients who was contacted by the cyberstalker has decided to pull their advertising.
Indeed, they have agreed to assist us in the prosecution of this individual or individuals. They understand what has been going on.
If you have knowledge of the activities of this cyberstalker we request that you contact us and come forward at this time.
Should you be a person who was duped into helping the cyberstalker, not understating the full ramifications of what you were getting into or the risks you were assuming – meaning possible criminal prosecution and a conviction that may follow you forever and harm your future employment prospects and the potential of civil action which could place your marital assets at risk – we urge you to contact us with what information you have in this matter as we have no desire to file charges or seek civil remedies against persons who were duped into helping another engage in cyberstalking, not fully understanding what they were getting themselves into.