Woman gets one year in jail for posing as ex-boyfriend and sending threats to herself
Digital harassment is scary and dangerous, which is why this story is pretty unsettling. In Orange County, Nevada, a woman posed as her ex-boyfriend on Facebook and was sentenced to one year in jail for sending threats to herself. Las Vegas resident Stephani Renae Lawson, 25, created an account under her ex-boyfriend’s name and basically harassed herself with this fake Facebook account. She then had her ex arrested because of the fake threats. Between September and December last year, he was arrested four times for death threats, stalking her, and violating a restraining order. Before her ex’s hearing, she logged in and sent even more messages and threats using the fake account.
After investigating her claims, the Las Vegas sheriff’s department convicted her of one felony count of false imprisonment by menace, violence, fraud or deceit and one felony count of perjury. After she took the stand at her ex’s hearing last May, prosecutors thought something looked odd about her complaints. “One of my DA colleagues looked at it and said it doesn’t look right, and that triggered in our mind maybe we need to look into this further. Fortunately, we were able to uncover the truth and hold her accountable,” Deputy District Attorney Mark Geller told City News Service.
She used her own devices, and T-Mobile, her service provider, had records that helped them put all of the pieces together.
Um, everyone, can we not do this? She really messed with this man, who is only identified as John Doe by the authorities, and his entire life. Because of fake threats, the complaint against him was upgraded two times, along with his bail. It eventually hit $200,000, and his grandparents put their house up for bail. His grandmother died before his name was cleared, so this is a big bundle of fuckery all around. Lawson will have to pay restitution and serve two years of probation in addition to her one year jail sentence.
At one point, according to police reports, she told cops, “I invited him over to talk about this kid and he dragged me into the car against my will, drove me down the street, stopped and then let me go.” I mean, that is a major allegation.
On one hand, it’s nice to know that Orange County officials took her complaints seriously. It can be hard to prosecute digital harassment and to get police to take women seriously about stalking claims. Which is why it’s so terrible that a woman would go this far to get revenge on her ex — whatever the reason for a breakup (besides real abuse), putting someone in jail is not the answer. It also leads to officials not trusting women who are actually being stalked and harassed on social media.
Let’s all hope Lawson gets the help she needs in jail so this doesn’t happen again.