Newport Cyberharassment Arrest

As reported in the October 10, 2013 edition of the Providence Journal, a Newport man has been charged with cyberharassment and extortion by the Rhode Island State Police. The man is scheduled to be arraigned in Washington County.

Pursuant to Rhode Island General Laws 11-52-4.2, cyberharassment or cyberstalking 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 for a first offense include a misdemeanor conviction, punishable by a fine of not more than five hundred dollars ($500), by imprisonment for not more than one year, or both. The penalties for a second or subsequent offense include a felony conviction punishable by imprisonment for not more than two (2) years, by a fine of not more than six thousand dollars ($6,000), or both.

Cyberharassment or cyberstalking can also be charged as a domestic violence crime. In such cases, additional penalties of domestic violence counseling and a no-contact order would be imposed.

Pursuant to R.I.G.L. 11-42-2, extortion or blackmail is defined as whoever, verbally or by a written or printed communication, maliciously threatens to accuse another of a crime or offense or by a verbal or written communication maliciously threatens any injury to the person, reputation, property, or financial condition of another, or threatens to engage in other criminal conduct with intent to extort money or any unlawful pecuniary advantage, or with intent to compel any person to do any act against his or her will, or to prohibit any person from carrying out a duty imposed by law.

This is a felony charge, punishable by imprisonment in the adult correctional institutions for not more than fifteen (15) years or by a fine of not more than twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000), or both.

If you or a family member has been charged with cyberharassment, assault or other domestic violence charges, please allow Attorney Robert H. Humphrey to successfully guide you through the legal process. Please contact Attorney Robert H. Humphrey, Esq., at 401-816-5862 or e-mail him at

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