Stealing an Identity to Make a Fake Facebook Page for Anonymous Sex Isn’t Stalking, Except Maybe in Indiana
A 23-year-old man who worked at a church in Wabash, Indiana, has been charged with felony stalking and misdemeanor harrassment.
MSNBC all but convicts him in its coverage, and complains that because he hasn’t been charged with a sexual crime, his Internet use will not be restricted. Bad journalism aside, when he appears in court to answer these charges on August 20th, there’s a good chance the charges will be tossed from court.
The man, who will undoubetedly soon to be named, used the identities of two women from his church to set up fake Facebook profiles and have online sex with other men while pretending to be the women. This went on for several years, and interestingly was discovered by the women’s pastor, who was researching his parishoners online. OK, so bad journalism and icky church dynamics aside, there’s still more.
Law professor Susan Brenner notes in her blog CYB3RCRIM3 that this offense really doesn’t seem to be stalking. He impersonated people; he didn’t stalk them. Nor did he harrass, tresspass, or attempt to violate their privacy in any conventional sense. He infact wanted to escape their notice. Brenner wisely suggests that impersonation should be criminalized. Unfortunately, not everything icky is stalking.
Forecast: lots of state and local anti-impersonation legislation most likely named after the young women involved in this case.