Victim’s Crusade Leads to Cyberstalking Law in Washington


When Washington Gov. Gary Locke signed a bill yesterday making cyberstalking a crime, it was a victory for Joelle Ligon, who had made passage of the law a personal crusade.

Ligon, who endured years of sexual harassment, threats, mind games and public humiliation, was frustrated by not getting help from the police, reports the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Investigators told her there was no state law against Internet harassment unless physical threats were made.

That changed yesterday because of Ligon’s campaign.

“The system works,” Ligon said. This link is a backgrounder on the harassment by her high school sweetheart:

The new law makes cyberstalking a gross misdemeanor punishable by up to one year behind bars, a $5,000 fine or both. It becomes a felony if the perpetrator has a prior harassment conviction or makes a death threat.

The law defines cyberstalking as use of lewd, lascivious, indecent or obscene language over the Internet or by e-mail with the intent to harass, intimidate, torment or embarrass someone or threatens to inflict injury on a person or property.


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