The Internet has made it easier for people in Milwaukee and elsewhere to learn personal information about others. However, the Internet has also carved out new criminal offenses that penalize individuals for wrongly using the Internet. One of these possible criminal offenses is cyberstalking. Recently, a man has been charged with cyberstalking.
A former political campaign intern has been charged with cyberstalking and blackmailing. According to court reports, the man was arrested after police say he used the Internet and text messages to blackmail women. The man allegedly blackmailed the women by stating that he had nude pictures of the women and if they did not provide him with more nude pictures, he would release the pictures to the women’s friends and family members. The man reportedly bragged about wearing an Ellis the Elephant costume to promote a book written by a presidential candidate’s wife.
Cyberstalking laws have been enacted by states such as Wisconsin and are generally defined as stalking a person through the Internet, text messaging, emails and other electronic forms of communication. Some states have also amended their harassment and stalking laws to specifically include harassing through electronic forms of communication. Some states have chosen to enact laws that define improper uses of the Internet or other electronic sources. In Wisconsin, this type of harassment includes intent to abuse, harass, threaten, intimidate or frighten another person.
The Internet is a powerful tool that provides many benefits; however, it may also lead to a criminal offense that a defendant may not have intended. All defendants deserve a fair trial and are entitled to their constitutional rights.
Source: The Huffington Post, “Adam Savadar, GOP Campaign Intern Charged In Sexual Extortion Scheme, Played Ellis The Elephant,” April 24, 2013