Girl, 12, gets probation in cyber-stalking case

Reuters News
Posted: Jul 13, 2011 6:08 PM
Girl, 12, gets probation in cyber-stalking case

By Laura L. Myers

SEATTLE (Reuters) - A 12-year-old Seattle area girl was convicted on Wednesday of posting sexually explicit material on a schoolmate's Facebook page and sentenced to six months probation after making a tearful apology in court.

The middle school student was also ordered to perform 20 hours of community service under a deferred disposition in which the case will be dismissed if she successfully completes probation.

"If I could just go back, I would change everything. I'm sorry," she said in a shaking, barely audible voice before her sentence was handed down.

The seventh-grader was convicted by the judge of felony computer trespassing and cyber-stalking, a misdemeanor, after a hearing in front of a King County Juvenile Court judge.

The girl and her 11-year-old friend, who live in the Seattle suburb of Issaquah, were accused of using the victim's computer address to send out instant messages and solicitations for sex using her name.

Prosecutors say the two girls also gained access to the victim's Facebook account, posting lewd photos that included one of the victim with a bloodied knife superimposed on her head and describing her as a "slut."

According to court documents, the three Issaquah Middle School classmates were friends but had had a "falling out."

The 11-year-old defendant's case was sent to the juvenile court's diversion committee, which was expected to order her to complete community service.

The case against her will also be dismissed if she completes the requirements of the diversion committee, prosecutors said.

The two girls were believed to be the youngest defendants to be charged with computer trespassing and cyber-stalking in King County.

During the 30-minute hearing, the victim's stepfather, Jonathan Knight, told the court that the incidents caused "psychological damage" to the victim.

(Editing by Dan Whitcomb and Jerry Norton)