As reported in national news, a former Rutgers student has been sentenced in connection with a cyberharassment related death. The student's roommate committed suicide after the student posted webcam footage of his roommate with another man. The student was charged with bias intimidation and invasion of privacy and was convicted by a jury in March. The Judge sentenced him to thirty (30) days imprisonment followed by three (3) years of probation, three hundred (300) hours of community service, counseling and a $10,000.00 fine. The maximum penalties included ten (10) years imprisonment. The Judge also recommended that the man be allowed to remain in the United States. He was born in India and faces possible deportation.
Pursuant to Rhode Island General Laws 11-52-4.2, cyberharassment is defined as whoever transmits any communication by computer or other electronic device to any person or causes any person to be contacted for the sole purpose of harassing that person or his or her family. For the purpose of this section, "harassing" means any knowing and willful course of conduct directed at a specific person which seriously alarms, annoys, or bothers the person, and which serves no legitimate purpose. The course of conduct must be of a kind that would cause a reasonable person to suffer substantial emotional distress, or be in fear of bodily injury. "Course of conduct" means a pattern of conduct composed of a series of acts over a period of time, evidencing a continuity of purpose. Constitutionally protected activity is not included within the meaning of "course of conduct."
The penalties if convicted include a fine of not more than five hundred dollars ($500), by imprisonment for not more than one year, or both. Rhode Island law also provides for the victim of cyberharassment/cyberbullying to bring a civil action. Pursuant to R.I.G.L. 11-52-6, any person injured as a result of a violation of this chapter may bring a civil action against the violator for compensatory damages, punitive damages, court costs, and any other relief that the court deems appropriate, including reasonable attorneys' fees.
If you or a family member has been charged with cyberharassment, cyberstalking or other Internet crimes, please allow Attorney Robert H. Humphrey's reputation, experience and skill to successfully guide you through the legal process. Please contact Attorney Robert H. Humphrey, Esq., at 401-816-5862 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.