Governor cracks down on cyber stalking

September 30, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
The governor approved legislation that closes a loophole in the law and allows once elusive, on line stalkers, to be prosecuted.

Spending time online suddenly feels safer for Morgan Dillingham. The new law means anyone who encourages a third party to harass or threaten someone else via the internet could be guilty of a misdemeanor.

"They were all crude messages asking for sex," said Morgan Dillingham, a cyber victim.

Someone took pictures off Morgan's MySpace page and re-posted them on Craigslist, as sex ads. They even included the then 17-year-old's cell phone number. In 12 hours, 60 men contacted her, looking for sex.

"He even put one with my home address, luckily that one got pulled, but if it hadn't there could've been a lot more dire consequences," said Morgan.

This all started a year and a half ago when Morgan was a senior at Monte Vista High School in Danville. The one responsible for posting the ads on line was a fellow classmate and former friend.

"It made me sick to my stomach and I immediately called the police and asked what can we do and they said there's really not a lot we can do," said Kathy Dillingham, Morgan's mother.

Nothing could be done because the class mate wasn't actually contacting or harassing Morgan himself.

"It'd be like the case of a murder for hire, the person that actually pays the money can't say, 'I didn't do it,' so in this case, we think it's a big loop hole, and this kind of thing happens a lot more than you think," said Assemblyman Guy Houston (R) of San Ramon.

That's why Assemblyman Houston got involved. He authored the bill after a constituent told him what happened to Morgan.

Now, Morgan only uses a face book account for social networking and access to her page, is limited.


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