Rhode Island Teen Facing 'Domestic Violence' Charges For 'Inappropriate' Facebook Message Sent To A Girl He Met
from the don't-be-a-jerk-online dept
Police say the 15-year-old Barrington boy met a 16-year-old girl while taking classes this summer and they started to talk through Facebook.There are a whole series of issues here. While the text of the messages hasn't been revealed, the fact that the judgment is based on the girl "feeling uncomfortable" leaves open a wide range of possible abuses. If I feel "uncomfortable" about comments on Techdirt, can I really have the police investigate and potentially send someone to jail because of it? Even the RI representative who wrote the law says that this use is "not what she envisioned." However, she then says it's okay because "the law might stop it from happening to someone else."
But police say the 16-year-old felt uncomfortable when the messages started getting inappropriate.
Police started the investigation in July and now they've charged the minor with cyber stalking, which is now punishable under the domestic violence prevention act.
Really? Stop what exactly? A boy sending a message to a girl that makes her feel uncomfortable? That's called "most of high school" for some boys. And since there's no clear way to determine what is and what is not appropriate here, do we really want to be charging kids under things like domestic violence laws just because they go too far in a Facebook message? I'm not saying that the kid shouldn't be dealt with in some way if the messages really are "inappropriate," but can't they be dealt with in other ways? Block him on Facebook or have parents punish him. Involving the police and charges? Seems "inappropriate."