• Girls charged with cyberstalking classmate

    Date: 01.17.11 | by Judge Tom.

    Once again, what may have started out as a joke  backfired on two Florida teens. In April, 2010, Taylor Wynn (16) and Mckenzie Barker (15) created a fake Facebook account using the name and face of a former friend at school. They photoshopped a woman’s nude body to the page and added sexually explicit comments suggesting that she was willing to perform various sex acts with men in her area code. Their victim suffered weeks of ridicule at school until the page was taken down.

    Following a lengthy investigation that included the FBI, the girls were arrested in January, 2011. Both were charged with felony aggravated stalking that may result in incarceration. After a brief court appearance they were released to their parents and placed in home detention until their next hearing in February.

    Taylor (left) & Mckenzie

    The girls explained that they made the page as a joke because they didn’t like the girl anymore and that it would be funny. Other students at Estero High School knew about it and Facebook showed 181 friends on the site. Investigators also recovered emails and text messages between Wynn and Barker about the incident.

    “I believe the girls thought it was a big joke, unfortunately it’s not. This is a crime,” stated Officer Ryan Bell.

    These charges are believed to be the first use of the “Jeffrey Johnston Stand Up for All Students Act” passed in 2008. Florida’s anti-bullying law is named after Jeffrey who ended his life at age 15 in 2005 following years of bullying.

    Update: In February, 2011, the prosecutor and victim’s parents agreed that the case against the girls should be handled by the Neighborhood Accountability Board (NAB) rather than through the justice system. The Board has the authority to impose community service, a curfew for Taylor and Mckenzie and restrictions on their use of computers. If they comply with the Board’s orders, the case will be closed and they won’t have a record. NAB ”places emphasis on giving the victim and other members of the community the opportunity to confront the offenders and to make them aware of the harm they may have caused.”

    Although resolved and now behind them, this incident will follow them for the rest of their lives. When they or anyone else Googles their names, one of the first things they’ll see are the girls’ mug shots.

    “A bully doesn’t have to be eye to eye to bully someone. Sometimes he or she gets into cyberspace and then there’s no place to hide from their torment,” stated Jeffrey’s mother, Debbie Johnston.

    Rachael Neblett

    Another case of cyberstalking resulted in the passing of 17-year-old Rachael Neblett of Kentucky in 2006. Read her story and about the campaign her parents started to fight cyberbullying.

    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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    3 Comments subscribe to these comments.

    • Askthejudge.info
      Tue, 18 Jan 2011 at 05:43

      2 teens charged under FLA's anti-bullying law after photopshopping a student's face to a nude body & posting on… http://fb.me/T53eXqs2

    • Tom Jones
      Thu, 20 Jan 2011 at 06:04

      These girls are heartless and deserve time in jail.

    • wisemandan
      Thu, 27 Jan 2011 at 08:34

      i do believe bullying is damaging to a persons psyche but if parents just taught the kids to be mentally stable/strong and not be a pansy we would have a lot less suicides
      Dear Dan: Thanks for your comment. In the interest of maintaining a clean site we edited “pansy.”

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