Cyberbullying in Missouri is basically when someone takes repeated action in order to control another person. With the widespread use of the Internet in the United States, a new form of bullying has emerged called “cyberbullying.” “‘Cyberbullying’ is when a child, preteen or teen is tormented, threatened, harassed, humiliated, embarrassed or otherwise targeted by another child, preteen or teen using the Internet, interactive and digital technologies, or mobile phones.” Stop Cyberbullying, What Is Cyberbullying, Exactly?, http://www.stopcyberbullying.org/what_is_cyberbullying_exactly.html (last visited Jan. 14, 2011). While typical cases of cyberbullying focus on young people, adults can also be involved in such behavior. In fact, Missouri Revised Statute §595.090 prohibits both adults and juveniles from committing such acts, and punishes the former more harshly.
Recently, two girls from Florida were charged with a felony for allegedly creating multiple fake Facebook pages for a classmate and then placing obscene photo shopped images on the pages. While Florida’s law is not identical to Missouri’s, it shows that prosecutors around the country are becoming more willing to charge individuals who harass others by means of the internet and social media. There have been several prosecutions of alleged cyberbullying in Missouri since then-Governor Blunt signed the new law in 2008. However, the case law at this time is still too thin to know how hard of a line prosecutors and courts will take in enforcing acts of cyberbullying.
Henderson & Waterkotte, P.C. has experience representing individuals charged with harassment and attorney Mick Henderson has been published in the Missouri Law Review after writing extensively on the subject. If you or a loved one has been charged with harassment or cyberbullying, call our firm for a free consultation. A lawyer is available to talk with you 24/7.