Feeds

US man on Net stalking rap

Harassed ex, now faces jail

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Security for virtualized datacentres

A South Carolina man has become the first person to be charged under US laws prohibiting Internet stalking.

Robert James Murphy, 38, of Columbia, South Carolina, denied 26 counts of using his computer to "to annoy, abuse, threaten and harass" Joelle Ligon, a 35 year-old Seattle woman, at a US District Court hearing last week. Conviction of each of the charges is punishable by up to two years in prison. Murphy was released on bail of $50,000 pending further hearings.

His prosecution is the first to rely on a 1997 amendment to federal telecommunications law outlawing cyber-harassment, AP reports. The law criminalises sending obscene email in the same way earlier regulations punished individuals who made threatening or abusive phone calls.

Ligon, then resident in Salt Lake City, Utah, dated Murphy between the ages of 15 and 22. The seven-year relationship broke up 13 years ago.

Prosecutors charge that Murphy sent "obscene and sexually explicit messages and pictures" to Ligon and her co-workers from 1998 onwards. These messages continued even when Ligon moved job or state. Ligon ignored these email for four years before approaching police, who allegedly tracked these messages back to Murphy.

Last week Ligon came face to face with Murphy for the first time since 1991. "He didn't give me any eye contact," Ligon said after the hearing. "He has been a faceless entity to me. I wanted to see him, and I wanted him to know that I was looking at him."

Murphy's trial is due to begin on 6 July. ®

Related stories

Ex-magistrate faces jail over obscene email blizzard
Internet stalker jailed
State senator drafts Google opt-out Bill
Google touts stalking service
RIAA 'encouraging stalkers, molesters' telco

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Bono apologises for iTunes album dump
Megalomania, generosity and FEAR of irrelevance drove group to Apple deal
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
'Cowardly, venomous trolls' threatened with TWO-YEAR sentences for menacing posts
UK government: 'Taking a stand against a baying cyber-mob'
Arab States make play for greater government control of the internet
Nerds told to get lost in last-minute power grab bid at UN meeting
Zippy one-liners, broken promises: Doctor Who on the Orient Express
Series finally hits stride, but Clara's U-turn is baffling
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.