[Post by Venkat Balasubramani]
State v Kucharski, 2013 Il App (2d) 120270 (Mar. 29, 2013):
Steven and the victim were in a relationship. Because the victim was “kind of computer illiterate,” Steven set up a MySpace account for her. After the relationship ended, Steven accessed the victim’s MySpace page. He posted a slew of offensive things about the victim, for example:
I’m a slut with no education. I’m gonna end up with 2 different baby daddys and I can’t even get a GED. Worst of all my dad buys my boyfriends blow jobs . . .
He also posted the victim’s name and phone number with a note saying “call me.” Finally, Steven posted a photo of the victim in a thong (that he had taken during the course of their relationship and retained, despite the victim’s request that he return or delete it).
When the victim became aware of these changes, she called Steven, who started “giggling and laughing” and said that “she deserved it.” Steven, who continued to access the page despite the victim having repeatedly changed the password, “essentially deleted” the page.
The authorities investigated and determined that the email address associated with the account was Steven’s and that the page was accessed via an IP addressed associated with Steven’s father. He was charged with: (1) attempted identity theft (720 ILCS 5/16G); (2) two separate counts of harassment through electronic communications (720 ILCS 135/1-2(a)(1) and (a)(2)); and (3) unlawful use of encryption (720 ILCS 5/17-52.5(b)(1)).
The defendant tried to poke holes in the State’s case saying that the investigator did not verify who at Steven’s household had actually accessed the page or for that matter who else had computers who resided in the same house who could have accessed the page. Steven’s father testified, implying that it could have been Steven’s younger brother who accessed the page. The trial court found the victim’s testimony credible and convicted on all of the counts. At the defendant’s request, the trial court dismissed the first count, but sentenced the defendant for violations of the remaining counts.
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