Couple Charged With Sexual Assault Wins Internet Defamation Lawsuit

A Texas couple, Mark Lesher, 63, and his wife, Rhonda, 50, were accused by a woman of sexual assault. Mark Lesher is a prominent attorney, and Rhonda was running a successful day spa. The accusation included a man who works on the Lesher’s ranch.   Before they stood trial in January 2009, there was a steady stream of attacks on the Web forum Topix.com.   The comments accused the couple of murder, encouraging pedophilia, drug abuse and other crimes that materially attack their characters.

In January 2009, the couple and their ranch hand were found not guilty on all charges.

Three years ago, the couple filed a 365-page lawsuit naming 178 pseudonyms used to post what they considered the most defamatory messages. They posted the lawsuit on Topix and served the company a subpoena to obtain the IP addresses. A Texas judge ordered Topix to turn over the identifying information about the anonymous posters. The Internet Protocol (IP) addresses led to a couple that owned a business, and accused the Lesher’s of sexual assault in 2008.

In July 2009, the Leshers filed an amended petition in the District Court of Tarrant County, Texas naming Shannon Coyel, the couple’s accuser; her husband Gerald Covel and his brother, James Coyel. Also named as a defendant was Apache Truck & Van Parts of Kennedale, Texas and two of its employers, Charlie and Pat Doescher.

mark-and-rhonda-lesher

Mark and Rhonda Lesher stand on the steps of Collin County Courthouse in McKinney, Texas, shortly after their acquittal of sexual assault charges Jan. 16, 2009.

On Friday, a jury awarded the Leshers a judgment of $13.78 million.

Mark and Rhonda Lesher stand on the steps of Collin County Courthouse in McKinney, Texas, shortly after their acquittal of sexual assault charges Jan. 16, 2009. On Friday, the couple were awarded

The Gazette reported a malicious prosecution suit is pending that names as defendants the Coyels and Red River County District Attorney Val Varley, who unsuccessfully prosecuted the sexual assault case against the Leshers. That suit accuses them of conspiring to convict the Leshers of a crime they did not commit. The newspaper reports that a jury trial is scheduled for August.

Ryan Calo, who teaches privacy law at Stanford Law School and is joining the faculty at the University of Washington School of Law, said

“Defamation is one area of law in which a jury or court have to figure out how much damage has been done. It’s not a car accident where you can calculate medical bills and how much work was lost after an injury. There’s something more ephemeral in a reputation.”

There is a difference between free speech, which states an opinion, and accusations stated as fact that have no basis in fact and causes harm to the personal lives of others.

There’s more on this story and other internet defamation stories on ABC News.

If You Have Been Notified By Twitter That Your Account Information Has Been Subpoenaed, You Might Want to Read This.

It came to my attention that on Friday, Twitter sent email notifications to people advising them that their account information has been subpoenaed.  The case involves the parents of Kendrick Johnson and the Bell’s. Kendrick’s parents filed a lawsuit accusing the Bell’s of wrongful death and a cover-up. The Bell’s responded with a counter-suit accusing the Johnson’s of defamation.

On October 23, 2015, CNN reported that the Department of Justice filed two motions in that case. One motion was to intervene and the other motion requests the court to stay discovery, including the subpoena issued to Twitter, for 180 days. Hearing on the motions is pending. It would be premature for Twitter to do anything until those motions are ruled on by the court.

CNN did not include copies of the DOJ’s motions, nor the subpoena in its article for the information to be public.

The subpoena requests the account information for approximately 23 individuals.

If anyone has been notified by Twitter that their account information has been subpoenaed, please conduct a Google search of your Twitter handle and “BGI.” You might be surprised at the results. Take screen shots and make sure that you retain the URL where it is found.

We might very well come to find that every person named in the subpoena has been harassed by a certain group of people long before they took interest in the death of Kendrick Johnson.

Posted on 11/02/2015, in Cases, Cyberharassment and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 38 Comments.

  1. Oh Snap!! Karma, it’s spelled HA HA HA HA HA

    Liked by 3 people

  2. yahtzeebutterfly

    Good thing that the DOJ has filled those two motions.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hey Yahtzee! Yes it is.

      Like

    • yahtzeebutterfly

      Well, the judge denied the DOJ’s motion:

      Valdosta Daily Times ‏@TheVDT 1h1 hour ago
      BREAKING: Superior Court Judge denies DOJ motions to intervene and stay discovery in the $100 million #KendrickJohnson lawsuit.

      Like

  3. WOW! What a mess. This is some serious scary crap to say the least!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. crustyolemothman

    Xena, As you know this article is only the tip of the iceberg!

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Honestly, the nut needs his ass kicked! Absolutely out of control . What a mess for your writer.

    Liked by 5 people

  6. scrodriguez

    Xena,

    Very good read here Good job it is my opinion that there is only one way he would know about those accounts being Subpoenaed before the account holders knew. I mean he was tweeting directly to each account that was noticed, in other words his knowledge of the notice was too specific to be a fluke.

    Also in reading this the defamation described here is similar to what also happened to Denise Souriall when they took a docket sheet and ran with it even while that docket sheet clearly stated the case was dismissed. they dont care about wheather or not they are being truthful. their motives are clear their intentions are clear and honestly I do hope the DOJ stops this nonsense from happening. this is clearly an attack designed to silence people this is a violation of their 1st amendment rights.

    Liked by 5 people

    • Santiago,

      this is clearly an attack designed to silence people this is a violation of their 1st amendment rights.

      It’s not simply an act to violate the 1st amendment rights of others. It’s a civil rights violation because the conspirators and/or co-conspirators do it because of their perception on race. Race is their motivation. People who are not minorities might not realize that the culprits term them “white guilt idiots.” In their ideologies, non-minorities who support equality are race traitors. Had people known about and read the blog that laid out the plan on how to destroy the “BGI”, they would know that.

      Remember that in 2012-2013, the same people who are now boasting about people being sued by the Bell’s, attacked Blacks on the internet, and accused others (whose race they do not know) of being Black. Since late 2013, they switched their method to attack non-Blacks, and I personally think they do that because so many non-Blacks think it is mere internet harassment and do not take them seriously.

      Liked by 3 people

      • scrodriguez

        Good job making the connection I mean the question really is how did he become aware days before anybody got noticed and he was tweeting it to those specific accounts I have screen shots saved in the event they are needed

        Liked by 2 people

        • I also question why he is saying that people are being sued by the Bells, when the subpoena was issued in a case that only names the Johnson’s? How does he know what the Bells are doing or going to do, and why are they using discovery in that particular case to conduct a fishing expedition to sue others rather than outright filing suit? I wonder too if the Bell’s like him putting their business out on the internet?

          Liked by 2 people

          • scrodriguez

            Thats another interesting point you make and if what he says about them being sued turns out to be true than this would mean there is a direct connection between the bells and the accuser.

            Like

  7. I can’t imagine what this couple Mr. and Mrs. Lesher, and their coworker went through by actually having to go to court to defend themselves from completely bogus charges which could ruin their lives They deserve the settlement award. I am grateful that they are suing the prosecutor for malicious prosecution. The prosecutor could not have much to work with when she took them to court.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Hey Gronda! The lawsuit for malicious prosecution has not been filed. It’s Texas, and I’m not sure of their laws, but in other states prosecutors are immune from such lawsuits. Those bringing forth the allegation, witnesses for the prosecution if they flat-out lied, and sometimes detectives, are allowed to be sued.

      The Lesher’s endured much agony, and being professional people, must have suffered extensive damages because of the defamation. Since he is a lawyer, he no doubt knew each element to prove and had the evidence to support it. I’m happy for them.

      Liked by 1 person

    • scrodriguez

      I can tell you this from experience; being wrongfully accused of something is stressful in itself then having to fork out expenses to hire an attorney to fend off the nonsense only adds to it. I was wrongfully accused by the person who was out there posting on twitter to people informing them their accounts were subpoenaed. I have been in and out of court with him this entire year and have had 3 different cases involving him last year.

      it’s one thing for someone to lie about you. it’s another for them to lie about you then put it on paper and lie about you to the court and try to use those lies to inflict damages upon you. once I proved my case, rather than him to just back off and take the high road he targeted my wife and her job and began to threaten to cause problems with her employer.

      From there I had no choice but to ask the court for a restraining order but that only paved the way for him to proceed with delay and stalling tactics which eventually were stamped out by the trial court and the order was granted.

      But even then he has not stopped. the man kept doing this to us but at this stage he had a court order against him and he has not given a damn about the court’s order. he simply believes because he filed an appeal he can do what he wants.

      it escalated to the point in which he cherry picked ex parte documents and used those documents as a means to mischaracterize the facts of the case for the purposes of harassment and defamation and to inflict emotion distress, knowing that what he was saying or implying about me was NOT true.

      it got to the point which he reached out to his friend and forwarded court documents he purchased for her to post on her blog of which he is a co contributor to continue. Once I forwarded the court’s order to the hosting company the stuff was removed. this only enraged them as they intend to inflict emotional distress upon their victims they prefer to keep it there.

      But that didn’t stop him. he sought out the assistance of others and it got to the point where I had no choice but to ask the court to make this stop. in doing so he retaliated like no other and the retaliation included threats to “Put my wife’s name and career on blast if I didnt back off” he then carried out that threat and sent this nonsense to my wifes employer.

      Identity theft, he sought the assistance of a stranger who didn’t know anything about me or the case or really about that group and this man went and purchased a domain using my true name which per california law is identity theft and or online impersonation.

      The page created with the domain name was cluttered with my photos pictures of my wife her work profile from the university she teaches at and a ton of records posted of which about 80% were not even me they were grabbing anything that had a name that matched mine and basically making it appear as if I was some mass convicted criminal.

      The morning of our first hearing threats where made to my children, and since filing this back in January he has stalled and delayed this process intentionally for the purposes of inflicting financial harm knowing that each time we have to appear it cost us attorney expenses.

      We have been in court once a month since Feb of 2015 and believe me every single tactic in the book has been played its been frustrating to deal with but I know in the end the evidence will speak for itself.

      His intentions are clear he intends to inflict as much emotional and financial distress as he can possibly muster up even if it means hurting others who have never even bumped into him on social media eg: my wife and children. He has made it very clear if he can not use his extortion tactics to get me to back off of the legal proceedings he will target the ones I love to use that as a means to extort me into backing down.

      Not gonna happen I will protect my family and myself at all cost

      Liked by 3 people

      • Two sides to a story

        It’s a shame that the wheels of karma grind so slowly and that you and your family have had to endure so much, but take comfort in the fact that karma is inexorable. The offender will definitely be hit by a tidal wave of all the stuff he’s set in motion and it looks like it won’t be that much longer. The last laugh will be yours, I’m sure!

        Liked by 2 people

  8. Department of Justice attorney James Bennett said that the federal investigation has expanded into investigating possible obstruction and grand jury witness tampering.

    http://m.valdostadailytimes.com/news/local_news/judge-denies-doj-motions-in-kj-lawsuit/article_98fc532b-057e-55ad-a67f-7b582ebd52c3.html?mode=jqm

    Like

  9. yahtzeebutterfly

    “Prosecutors oppose sequestering Freddie Gray jurors”

    http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/freddie-gray/bs-md-ci-gray-jury-sequester-disagree-20151102-story.html

    Excerpt:

    Prosecutors now accuse defense attorneys of filing the sequester request as a way to force a change of venue.

    “Forcing jurors to stay in a hotel at night for the duration of the trial would create such hardship that entire categories of otherwise qualified citizens would be unable to serve — single parents with children at home, caregivers with elderly or disabled relatives at home, single persons with a pet at home,” prosecutors wrote. “The few people who would remain after [the jury selection process] could hardly be called a fair cross-section of the community.”

    Like

    • Having the jury sequestered in Zimmerman’s trial limited the prosecution, including that they could not put on a rebuttal case. Judge Nelson stated several times that she had a sequestered jury in response to legal counsel wanting to continue. Housing and feeding people on days when there’s no trial is costly.

      Reading what the prosecutors said in what you posted and how it plays on selecting jurors is so true.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. yahtzeebutterfly

    “Defense asks court to block discussion of Freddie Gray’s arrest in first officer’s trial”
    http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/freddie-gray/in-depth/bs-md-ci-gray-filing-20151027-story.html

    Excerpt:

    Defense attorneys for Officer William Porter, the first Baltimore cop scheduled to be tried in the death of Freddie Gray, have asked the court to block prosecutors from discussing the circumstances surrounding Gray’s arrest by other officers.

    Because Porter was not involved in Gray’s arrest and the state does not contend that he was, the attorneys wrote in their latest filing in the case, Judge Barry Williams should “order the preclusion of any and all reference to or argument about Freddie Gray’s initial detention not being supported by reasonable suspicion, Mr. Gray’s arrest not being supported by probable cause, or Mr. Gray’s arrest not being otherwise legally justified.”

    Porter’s attorneys also filed a separate motion asking Williams to block prosecutors from mentioning “any and all testimony and evidence concerning information not personally known” by Porter at the time of his interactions with Gray, which came at later points along Gray’s transport in a police van, where prosecutors say he suffered a severe and ultimately fatal spinal cord injury.

    The filings represent the latest shift in what had been a unified defense among all six officers charged in Gray’s arrest and death toward individual defenses suited to each officer and the portions of Gray’s arrest and transport in which they were involved.

    Like

  11. yahtzeebutterfly

    HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — A small-town police officer who fatally shot an unarmed motorist in the back as he lay face down on the ground was acquitted Thursday at her murder trial.

    A Dauphin County jury acquitted Hummelstown Officer Lisa Mearkle of third-degree murder and voluntary and involuntary manslaughter charges in a shooting captured by a camera attached to her stun gun.

    The video, which was played to jurors, showed Mearkle shocking 59-year-old David Kassick after he fled from a traffic stop before shooting him twice in the back as he lay face down in the snow in February.

    Warning…graphic video (just released to public after the verdict) of the shooting:

    (Published Nov. 5, 2015)

    News video:
    “Not Guilty: Jury clears officer who killed unarmed man”

    (Published Nov. 5, 2015)

    Like

    • I’d like to know how anyone can see that video and take her word over what they see with their eyes. I suppose that religious cultists caught on to that human nature a long time ago — that if someone gives the appearance of authority, that they can make you doubt what you see.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. yahtzeebutterfly

    Xena, I meant for the last 3 of my posts to be on your open discussion page. (I am sorry.)

    Like

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