Florida Man Guilty of Cyberstalking Charges Against Women
Stalking someone has become easier than ever. You don’t need to even be in the same vicinity of the person you intend to stalk. You can even stalk someone many states away or even across the world thanks to the internet.
This is called cyberstalking and it is against the law. A person typically can face a misdemeanor charge, but sometimes felony charges can result from such actions.
A Florida man has pled guilty to two counts of cyberstalking after harassing an Idaho woman and her sisters via a computer. The 25-year-old man, from Cross City, Florida, is accused of sending crime scene photos to an Idaho woman, who survived a violent attack in Texas in 1999. The perpetrator in that attack entered a bedroom and slit the throats of two girls. One was killed, while the other survived. The assailant was later convicted.
Beginning in November 2016, the Florida man began sending photos of that horrific crime scene to the surviving woman and her sisters, who now live in Idaho. The man did not know the women. However, he was able to research facts about the murder online. He then created various Facebook accounts with the sole purpose of harassing and intimidating the women. He also threatened to rape and kill them.
The Boise Police Department and the FBI investigated the case. On December 11, 2019, the man was indicted in Boise. His sentencing is set for April 8 in Boise. He faces up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
What is Cyberstalking?
Under Florida law, Florida Statutes 784.048, cyberstalk means to communicate words, language or images at a specific person through the use of email or other forms of electronic communication. It can also include accessing a person’s online accounts, such as social media accounts, without their permission. If these actions serve no legitimate purpose and cause a person to suffer substantial emotional distress, then a person can be charged with the crime of cyberstalking. But what exactly is classified as substantial emotional distress? It is defined as being greater than usual levels of unhappiness or nervousness that a person commonly experiences in day-to-day living.
Minor cases will result in a first-degree misdemeanor, which could result in up to one year in jail. When the harassment results in credible threats, the charge can be elevated to aggravated cyberstalking. This is a third-degree felony that can result in five years in prison.
Reports of cyberstalking have increased in Florida over the past few years. With the use of electronics and social media on the rise, people are engaging in this crime at high rates.
Contact a Legal Professional for Help
The internet makes it easy for people to find information about virtually anyone. However, harassing a person through technological means is considered cyberstalking, which can quickly become a serious crime.
This crime can lead to felony charges if the actions are severe enough. Protect yourself with Florida computer & internet crime lawyer Gilbert A. Schaffnit. He can find the best course of action to reduce or eliminate your charges. To schedule a free consultation, call (352) 505-1799 or fill out the online form.