Issaquah girls, 11 and 12, charged in Facebook cyberbullying case
April 26, 2011
By Warren Kagarise
NEW — 2:15 p.m. April 26, 2011
Prosecutors charged two preteen Issaquah girls, 11 and 12, with cyberstalking and first-degree computer trespassing Tuesday, after investigators said the girls posted sexually explicit messages and photos on another girl’s Facebook page.
Prosecutors said the girls accessed the Facebook account of a 12-year-old girl, and then posted the explicit material and sent out solicitations for sex, court documents state.
The suspects used the girl’s Facebook password to access the profile, and post the lewd photos and messages.
The 11-year-old told investigators she and the girl targeted in the incident used to be friends, but recently had a “falling out,” court documents state.
The Issaquah Press usually does not name defendants age 12 or younger.
The girl targeted in the incident and her family learned about the explicit material after a mentor to the girl noticed photos on the Facebook page had been changed. The phrase “I’m a slut” had been scrawled across a photo of the girl, court documents state. The girl’s family also found a photo of a woman with “disproportionate breasts,” the documents continue.
The girls all attend Issaquah Middle School. The incident occurred off campus and outside of the school day.
If convicted as charged, the sentence for the girls could be up to 30 days in juvenile detention.
Issaquah police investigators responded to a report of harassment March 18 from the mother of the girl targeted in the Facebook incident. The department completed the investigation and forwarded the case to the Prosecutor’s Office.
In announcing the charges, King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg said children should understand the consequences of their actions on the Internet.
“This case reveals the dark side of social media sites used by young people,” he said in a statement. “Many kids think that on a social media site that their actions will be anonymous and that they are free to use it as weapon to bully, harass and intimidate another person.”
The 12-year-old defendant is due to be arraigned in Juvenile Court on May 10. The 11-year-old girl will have a scheduling conference May 3 in Juvenile Court.
The younger defendant is also scheduled for a capacity hearing May 10. The court will determine whether the 11-year-old understands if her actions wrong and is capable of committing a crime. State law presumes children 8 to 11 are not capable of committing crimes.
“This case demonstrates that assuming the identity of another person on the Internet with the intent to torment them and expose them to the harassment of others is a crime,” Satterberg added.