Teenage girl jailed for fb bullying

Nikki - posted on 09/27/2011 ( 18 moms have responded )

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http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2009/aug/21...



A teenager who posted death threats on Facebook has become the first person in Britain to be jailed for bullying on a social networking site.



Keeley Houghton, 18, of Malvern, Worcestershire, has been sentenced to three months in a young offenders' institution after she posted a message saying that she would kill Emily Moore. She pleaded guilty to harassment.



On 12 July, Houghton updated her status on Facebook to read: "Keeley is going to murder the bitch. She is an actress. What a fucking liberty. Emily Fuckhead Moore."



Moore, also 18, had been victimised by Houghton for four years, the court heard, and had previously suffered a physical assault as well as damage to her home.



Worcester magistrates court heard how two days before the threat was made, Moore was in The Vaults pub in Malvern when she saw Houghton staring at her. Sara Stock, prosecuting, said: "Later when Emily was sitting on her own the defendant came over and sat next to her and asked her: 'Are you Emily Moore? Can I have a huggle?' Emily told the defendant to leave her alone otherwise she would call the police. Keeley then told her: 'I'll give you something to ring the police about.' "



Houghton wept throughout the 15-minute hearing. The court was told she had two previous convictions in connection with Moore. In 2005 she was convicted of assaulting her as she walked home from school and was subsequently expelled from school. Two years later she was convicted of causing criminal damage after kicking Moore's front door.



District judge Bruce Morgan told her: "Bullies are by their nature cowards, in school and society. The evil, odious effects of being bullied stay with you for life. On this day you did an act of gratuitous nastiness to satisfy your own twisted nature."



Houghton, who is unemployed, was also issued with a restraining order banning her from contacting Moore.



The court heard how she told police that she wrote the death threats while she was drunk late at night and had no memory of it. But when police examined internet records they discovered Houghton wrote the comments at 4pm on 12 July and kept them on her Facebook page for 24 hours.



At an earlier hearing Houghton defended herself and told magistrates: "I'm here for trying to apologise. She threatened to call the police and all I was doing was saying sorry."



Edward Gaynor-Smith, defending, told the court Houghton now "fully admitted her involvement" in the case.



The Metropolitan police has hired a consultancy to help monitor social networking sites for evidence of crime.



Do you agree with the sentence? Would you like to see tougher penalties for internet bullying where you live? Do you believe our laws (globally) have not caught up with technology?

MOST HELPFUL POSTS

Stifler's - posted on 09/27/2011

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the term bullying pisses me off. it's harassment and stalking and it doesn't need a special term for different aged people.

Krista - posted on 09/28/2011

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Emma makes a good point. Our society still sometimes looks at bullying as a normal, if unfortunate, part of childhood. But were these adults, it would be a clear-cut case of harassment.

Good for the little bitch -- I wish she'd gotten longer.

Stifler's - posted on 09/28/2011

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But now that it's 'bullying', since the term is so juvenile it sparks debate whether or not people need to harden up. And whether people should be charged for it. When their actions all along have been harassment of other students or people.

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[deleted account]

Good. Violence in any form is wrong and even if its over the internet, a threat is still a threat.

JuLeah - posted on 09/28/2011

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I am glad she was help accountable. I don't think jail time will 'fix' her though and more then it fixes anyone. She need a check up from the neck up. What kind of person does this? A mental person .... she is going to target another when she gets out and start again if they don't get her help

Firebird - posted on 09/28/2011

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Bullshit she was trying to apologize. After all she did to this poor girl, I think 3 months is a slap on the wrist. Definitely better than nothing though.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 09/28/2011

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I think she should have been sentenced to longer. Especially since this was not her first offense on this poor girl. I hope she gets a taste of bullying when she is doing her time.

Kellie - posted on 09/28/2011

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I agree but disagree, I totally see what you mean, but in this case it's clear no one should 'harden up' and this is extreme bullying/harassment/victimisation/stalking/terrorising the list just goes on and on.

I don't think in this day and age with the huge problem and issues bullying is creating anyone minimises what the term bullying means and no one (aside from assholes) would think a victim of bullying would need to harden up and that using the term bullying as opposed to anything listed opens it up for debate o makes it a juvenile thing.

Kellie - posted on 09/28/2011

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It doesn't really matter what term you call it, it all means the same thing.

Ez - posted on 09/27/2011

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It's about time.

Yes, I agree with her getting a custodial sentence. Yes, more needs to be done here in Aus. To vulnerable teenagers, they are not just words on a computer. It's sad that so many kids have been driven to suicide before the authorities have taken a stand.

Kellie - posted on 09/27/2011

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Yes I agree. You can't make Harassing or threatening phone calls, why should you be able to use a social media site to do it.

Yes definitely, there have been numerous cases of young girls committing or trying to commit suicide because of bullying via Facebook.

The Laws have probably not (in regards to this type of offence) caught up with technology and those that make the laws need to step up I think.

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