• Facebook bully goes to jail

    Date: 08.24.09 | by Judge Tom.

    England has cracked down on cyberbullies.  Believed to be the first person jailed for threatening messages on a social networking site, Keeley Houghton, 18, was sentenced in August, 2009 to three months in a young offenders’ institution.  She pleaded guilty to online harassment of Emily Moore, also 18.

    keeleyhoughtonswnsengland

    SWNS

    This wasn’t the first time Keeley had a run in with Emily. In 2005 she was convicted of assaulting Emily as she walked home from school.  Keeley was expelled from school and two years later she was convicted of criminal damage for kicking Emily’s front door.

    Then in July, 2009, Keeley threatened Emily at a pub. Two days later, she wrote on her Facebook page “Keeley is going to murder the bitch.”  In sentencing Keeley, the judge stated “Bullies are by their nature cowards, in school and society. The evil, odious effects of being bullied stay with you for life.” 

    Keeley was also ordered to have no contact, including by Internet, with Emily for the next five years.

    Update:  Keeley was released after spending six weeks locked up. She stated that “It was just a horrible experience and the first night I was in there I didn’t sleep as I didn’t know what to expect.” About her post to Emily, she said “I do feel bad for writing that . . .I would have been very upset if I had seen a comment like that about me.”

    Find out more about Internet freedom of speech and the possible consequences for certain online comments.

    Judge Tom

    This post was written by Judge Tom. Judge Tom is the founder and moderator of AsktheJudge.info. He is a retired juvenile judge and spent 23 years on the bench. He has written several books for lawyers and judges as well as teens and parents including the recently published 'Teen Cyberbullying Investigated' (Free Spirit Publishing). When he's not answering teens' questions, Judge Tom can be found hiking, traveling and reading.

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    • julie
      Tue, 25 Aug 2009 at 06:17

      how long was keeley jailed for? & other than the no contact order, did she receive any consequences?

      Judge Tom’s response:
      Keeley was sent to jail for three months with no other sentencing terms reported, other than the 5-year no-contact order.