For weeks, two of 12-year-old Leslie Cote's former friends at Issaquah Middle School supposedly opened and posted on a fake Facebook page under her name, filling it full of explicit photos and propositions for sex. At one point the spiteful girls allegedly started instant-messaging young boys and telling them to come to Leslie's house for sex. The girl's parents think it's a blatant case of cyberstalking. Prosecutors don't seem to know what to make of it.
KING-5 reports that Leslie, her mom Tara Cote, and stepfather Jon Knight were granted a temporary restraining order by King County Superior Court for their daughter against the two other girls, aged 11 and 12, after convincing the court that the bullying had become unbearable.
"It was unbelievable," said Leslie's stepfather, Jon Knight. "They were asking boys if they want to have oral sex, giving out the phone number and address of where Leslie lives for the boys to come over."
Despite the restraining order, police and prosecutors say they're not sure if any laws were actually broken. They tell KING-5 that in order to prove cyberstalking in court, a pattern of threats and bullying has to be established.
This, however, doesn't seem to square with the law, which states:
(1) A person is guilty of cyberstalking if he or she, with intent to harass, intimidate, torment, or embarrass any other person, and under circumstances not constituting telephone harassment, makes an electronic communication to such other person or a third party:
(a) Using any lewd, lascivious, indecent, or obscene words, images, or language, or suggesting the commission of any lewd or lascivious act;
So according to the law a single act of the kind what the girl's tormentors pulled would constitute cyberstalking.
Not to say proving cases against 12-year-old girls isn't difficult, or even necessary. But that's an issue with the specific case, not with the law itself, as the prosecutors seem to be implying.