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July 15, 2011

"12-Year-Old Sentenced for Cyberstalking Classmate"

The title of this post is the headline of this ABC News piece reporting on a case showing that some kids today are now getting their cyber-criminal careers started very early.  Here is the start of the piece:

A 12-year-old Washington girl was sentenced on Wednesday to probation and community service for a cyberstalking incident in which she and another 11-year-old girl doctored a classmate's Facebook account with explicit photos and solicitations for sex.

But the mother of the victim, also 12, said she has "mixed feelings" about the sentencing of the girls who hacked her daughter's Facebook page, and she isn't satisfied with the judge's ruling. "We wrote a letter to the judge and we requested that she have no access to social media for the full term of her probation. The judge felt that it would be fine for her to be on with parental supervision," said Tara Cote, of Issaquah, Wash.

The 12-year-old, who pleaded guilty and whose name has not been released, was charged with Cyberstalking and Computer Trespass First Degree. She was sentenced to six months of probation and 20 hours of community service, along with mandatory adult supervision of all computer usage, according to the King County Prosecuting Attorney's Office.

Cote said she wants the tween to have cyber bullying-specific therapy. "Both girls went online and used social media to do damage and used it as a weapon? Regular therapy will not tell you how to not abuse the Internet," said Cote.

In my view, these kind of modern technology crimes call out for a kind of modern technology shaming sanction: perhaps judges can and should be able to require defendants in these kinds of cases (at least when they are adults) to have some kind of scarlet mark on their social media pages so that others know they do not play nice with technology.

July 15, 2011 at 08:15 AM | Permalink


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Here's a similar example of insanity:

3 girls busted for illegal lemonade stand
'We were not aware of how the lemonade was made, who made the lemonade, of what the lemonade was made with,' says police chief in Midway, Ga.


Posted by: James | Jul 15, 2011 12:37:06 PM

"But the mother of the victim, also 12. . ."

They grow up so fast.

Posted by: C.A.J. | Jul 15, 2011 2:41:46 PM

"If the conditions of the sentence are met, the charges will be dismissed."

So the price for this kind of outrageous behavior is 20 hours of your time if you're caught, and, I suppose no permanent record or even newspaper mention of your name. If her time is worth $5/hour, and a 25% probability of being caught, that comes to a price of $25. Not bad for the amount of trauma one can cause a victim.

Posted by: Eric Rasmusen | Jul 15, 2011 7:29:05 PM

I can not see the point of doing more than this to a 12 year old. Probation and small fine depending on how severe the actions. HOWEVER, I support more severe fines for Parents who allow their child unrestricted access the internet.

Posted by: anon2 | Jul 15, 2011 9:15:49 PM

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