It seems like just about everyone these days has a social networking page like Myspace. It's supposed to be a fun way to meet people, keep in touch with friends, or just a place to express who you are. But for one 15 year-old from the east, Myspace has become a nightmare.
Ashae Sykes of Dare County discovered someone had created a myspace page using her photos and names, even including sexually explicit figures on her face. The page talked about her family and said inappropriate things about her.
Sykes contacted the first person who posted the fake profile and it was removed. She was devastated when she saw the second one.
Sykes uncle Robert Flowers says he's concerned about the emotional impact. "I can't even imagine what she goes through and the way she handled it, she's been pretty strong because I would probably go crazy."
Dare County District Attorney Frank Parrish says he has dealt with similar cyber cases, but was unaware of this one. He says that detectives should be able to track where the page came from and then prosecute.
According to NC Attorney General Roy Cooper's office, there is a law that is meant to combat similar internet crimes. It states it is a misdemeanor to "Electronically mail or electronically communicate to another and to knowingly make any false statements concerning death, injury, indecent conduct of the person electronically mailed with the intent to abuse, annoy, terrify, threaten, harass, or embarrass."
Parrish says as a class 2 misdemeanor if convicted that person can face up to a $1,000 dollar fine and 60 days in jail.
So far there's been no such luck in Sykes case. She says she hopes that people become more aware of this growing problem and that in the future there's more protection for teenagers like her. "I just hope that someone can do something about it so it won't happen to anyone else"
There is a bill currently pending in the North Carolina General Assembly, Senate Bill 46, titled "Internet Libel," to further deal with such crimes. For more on that bill just click the related link below.