A few months ago I accepted a friend request from someone in another state whose name I did not recognize, figuring I may know them. I sent a message asking if I knew them after accepting the request, but got no response. After a few months I saw a post of theirs talking about being suicidal, so I attempted to talk them through it, and seemed to be successful, and continued messaging them occasionally. After a while, however, things started to get creepy. Even after I made it clear that I was not available for anything romantic or sexual, this person persisted in trying to get me to 'pretend' things with them of a fetishized nature, including feet and maternal 'affekshuns', saying a child could help them with such things. I again tried to make it clear that they were making me uncomfortable, but this only prompted them to ask for more affection and imply that they would become suicidal/mentally unstable if I did not give them the attention they sought. I decided that this person would only do me harm if I continued contact, so I unfriended them on facebook. They still sent messages, so I blocked them entirely, expecting the problem to be fixed. A few days later, however, they messaged me again on another media site, but this time using harsh and more intense language, insulting me and trying to demean me. I attempted to deal with the situation non-confrontationally hoping they would give up and move on, but have not yet gotten a message back. Several vaguely negative posts have been made talking about a single person, but I do not know if they were about me. If this does not stop, I will be seeking to take legal action, and want to know what to do. If it has any relevance, I am 16 and the person in question is 23, and it has been going on for a month. I've had to deal with the messages when in Kansas where I live, in Missouri, and in Texas where I stay with my mother for a part of the year.
I certainly commend you for doing the right thing here. You appear to be an intelligent, caring, young individual. I agree with my colleague, and suggest you speak to your parents about what is the right decision. But I would also suggest discussing this matter more in-depth.
I believe you have two options: ignore it or confront it.
If you are in fear of danger, you should confront it. Depending on how long this has been going on, it may be possible that he has "solicited sex from a minor over the internet" which is a felony.
If however, you want it to go away -- just keep blocking all contact, delete without even looking at any messages. If that does not work you can file a protection from stalking.
You are doing the right thing here, keep it up.
I think you did the right thing trying to help a person who was contemplating suicide. Even when your kindness boomeranged, on you, you continued to do the right thing by just ignoring them. Usually a bully will find a new person once you cut them off. Unfortunately, this cyber-stalker is still on your case.
As a minor, you have plenty of extra protection available.
First, I suggest you speak to a parent about your problem. While they may not understand all the nuances behind the electronic communications, they will understand that their child needs help. Let them help you.
This is an area where the police can help you and will help you as the stalker is threatening you with bodily harm. File a police report, and do what they tell you to do.
Finally, if the police will not help you, hire an attorney. They can start with a cease and desist letter, and file a lawy suit if needed. A lawyer can get subpoena power to find who this is and make them stop.
Are You Planning on Opening a New E-Commerce Website?
There is much you need to know as you begin your new business. I suggest you do not attempt to write your own legal policies. This is not where your training and background lie, and though you are probably as smart as an attorney, you do not have their experience.
Below is a checklist for legal issues I use for new e-commerce clients.
1. Business entity - Are you going to be a C corp, an LLC or a sole proprietorship?
2. Terms of Service - This is your contract with your visitors and is the most important item for any e-commerce site. A little work here brings big dividends in the future.
4. FTC guidlines - The FTC has been regulating business advertising for almost a century. All of their advertising guidlines apply to e-commerce sites.
5. Domain Name issues? Is your name available. Can you create a Trademark?
6. Trademark - Do you have a brand name free from conflict? Should you start with just common law rights? Should you register the mark, and when?
7. Copyright - If it is on the web, it already belongs to somebody. Did you buy a license for the images you are using? Do you have a DMCA notice on your web site?
8. Do you need a DMCA policy?
9. Web Site security issues?
10. Do you need and have an EIN? You can get that for free.
11. Do you have employees? - If so you need written policies regarding their authority and use of the internet.
12. Do you know the difference between a "browser wrap" and a "click wrap" and which do you need?
When I discuss this list with clients other issues arise. Finally, I always discuss with my clients their need for good accounting services. An accountant's advice as you start up can save you many dollars in tax that you might not save if you wait to speak to an accountant until your first tax return is due.
I hope this list will give you pause to think about those issues for which you might need to seek professional advice.
You may want to discuss your situation with a lawyer in more detail. Most lawyers on Avvo, including myself, offer a free phone consultation.
Andrew M. Jaffe
Attorney at Law
Practice Limited to E-Commerce and Internet Law
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