Cyberharasser Sentenced to Two Years Probation

power-point-cybercrime-13-638This case, although several years old, captured my attention because of the perpetrator’s employment with the Department of Defense.   That is an agency unsuccessfully used by some known harassers to give false reports against activists, bloggers and others.

Here is the story …

Lori Stewart of Urbana, Illinois opened a blog titled “This Just In.” She shared gentle stories about gardening, her military family, and vacation photos.  In 2006, Lori founded the non-profit organization Toys for Troops.   It was soon afterwards when someone using the handle “JoeBob” began sending her vulgar comments.

Lori’s son was in the military, so JoeBob referred to Lori’s son as an “inbred half-retarded son” and said he hoped he took a bayonet in the gut.  JoeBob also sent comments that were anti-Semitic and homophobic.  

The News Gazette reports;

“Initially, it started out as a bunch of nasty comments from him. I didn’t know who he was. I thought he was some young punk kid. He was posting anonymously. Mostly, I thought he was a royal pain in the … But then he began attacking anyone I talked about,” she said.

That included a sister with cancer, her mother with Alzheimer’s, her son in Iraq. The comments, some of which Stewart shared with followers on her blog in July, could charitably be described as obscene.

“I didn’t want to invite attacks on other people I loved so I shut down the comments,” she said.

Lori disabled comments on her blog and began using a private Facebook account to communicate with readers.  Apparently, that made JoeBob angry.  He created a fake email address, purporting to be Lori, and sent emails to her friends and family that were full of homophobic slurs and anti-Semitic.  JoeBob also impersonated Lori by posting rude comments on blogs using her name.   JoeBob also signed Lori up for white supremacist websites and subscribed her to porn sites.  Lori said she was terrified.

Many of Lori’s blog followers and personal friends knew that Lori had been targeted by the cyberstalker, but others did not.  In early 2013, Lori heard from about a dozen people in quick succession that they had received mean-spirited messages purporting to have come from her.  Lori turned to the police, who told her “there’s really not going to be much you can do about this. You have a public blog, there is such a thing as freedom of speech.”  Lori did convince one officer to file a report so she could have a case number to work with.

Also in early 2013, WDWS radio personality Elizabeth Hess began receiving obscene and threatening e-mails at work.   Champaign police detective Patrick Simons was assigned to the case.  Champaign County sheriff’s investigator Jody Ferry then took interest in Lori’s case.  He said that he found Lori’s case different from other cases of cyberharassment for several reasons, among them:

There was no personal relationship between Lori and JoeBob, such as a break-up making him angry.  They did not know each other.  JoeBob was very racist and sexist.  He was also relentless in his attacks.

Investigator Ferry collected IP addresses from Elizabeth and Lori for where the messages were coming from.  He sent subpoenas to the ISP’s and identified the perpetrator.

robin-king

Robin B. King

JoeBob was not some young guy sitting in his mom’s basement.  His real name is Robin B. King, who in 2013, was 55-years old.  King lived in Bella Villa., Mo., a small suburb south of St. Louis, and was employed with the Department of Defense out of the St. Louis area.

A warrant was issued for King’s arrest charging him with four counts of harassment by electronic communication, a Class 4 felony.  His bond was set at $250,000.   The counts filed against King allege Stewart, Hess, and two others, Benjamin Beaupre and Sarah Boyer, were subjected to obscene electronic comments from King on four occasions each between January and May 2013. Beaupre and Boyer are bloggers who Lori knows.

On September 24, 2013, King was arrested.  Investigator Ferry said that he sent the warrant to a police colleague in St. Louis, who arrested King at work.

On April 14, 2014, King plead guilty and was sentenced to two years of probation.  He did not share any light for his motivation, and his attorney cautioned him to say nothing in order to keep his job with the Department of Defense.

In exchange for his plea and a promise to have no contact with his victims, the state dismissed four more serious felony counts of harassment by electronic communication. King was also ordered to get a mental health evaluation.

Lori Stewart said she believes the laws on this issue are vague and she intends to contact legislators to see if they can be strengthened.

Posted on 09/10/2016, in Cases, Cyberharassment, Trial Videos and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 24 Comments.

  1. I’ve got Weirdo Stalkers that follow me around on our local website and I’ve always wondered what their motivation is other than they’re Obsessed with me. I swear they must keep a file on me (and a few others) with every little detail of my life they’ve managed to come up with over the years. I know Xena has had problems with that type also, problems that make mine seem small and insignificant, what a bunch of Weirdos. The only thing that I can think of is they don’t have much of a life themselves, so they try to steal someone elses.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Jim,
      If you want, share a link to where you are being stalked.

      Back in 2013 when I saw that the harassment was not going to stop, I reached out to a forensic profiler and a criminal psychologist. We observed for about 6 months and I got a good handle on the harassers’ personalities. You’re right — they don’t have much of a life themselves.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Oh Jim, by the way, harassers are obsessed with people who are confident. That is why most of their harassment centers on re-defining their victims and attacking our intelligence.

      Liked by 4 people

      • There is a group of folks on our local news FB comment boards who pass around and post a ‘note’ about me claiming I spent 32 years in prison on an embezzlement conviction.

        (since I’m 54 y/o with 5 children between the ages of 21 and 35 I’m guessing they took the math course offered at Trump University)

        I used to keep a collection of disparaging memes with my name on them that folks made.

        I am so happy law enforcement is taking cyber threats like this seriously and prosecuting the perpetrators. They are vile hateful filthy despicable people

        Liked by 3 people

        • Mindyme,
          They don’t use common sense. And, at times I think they make up lies just to get a response that tells them more things about ourselves.

          The lapdog surrogate for a harasser from earlier this year on Twitter returned to lying about me last night. That harasser had threatened that he was going to spread rumors about me not supporting justice for Kendrick Johnson to the “KJ23” but he’s using @sofambro90 to do it for him.

          Here’s the funny part. She is referring to a comment posted by someone else on another blog. It’s a public blog. It was posted in November 2013, over 2 years ago. But, she just found out about it. (She wants to be noted for being a strong KJ supporter, but just found out about a blog post from 2013, right?)

          It has nothing to do with me. It’s not my blog; not my comment; and the comment was in discussion of the Ebony article by Fred Rosen. The harasser’s theory is that I knew about the comment before the Bells filed suit against Ebony. Well, since it’s a public blog that anyone can read, and has over 1 thousand followers, the same can be said for a thousand other people.

          But, the main thing is, it’s irrelevant to the lawsuit between the Bells and Ebony magazine. Sofambro90 should ask herself why the harasser uses her to do his dirty work.

          Liked by 2 people

        • Oh, btw Mindyme, do your harassers not know that the average person DOES KNOW that even some homicides don’t carry a 32 year prison sentence, must less embezzlement? They’re too ignorant to realize that they are ignorant.

          Liked by 2 people

          • What’s even funnier to me is the ones most likely to use the word ‘thug’ when the story is about a person of color, have far worse criminal records themselves. They don’t appreciate being outed either, apparently. 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

            • Oh Mindyme, you are so right. They don’t like it when the table is turned. For awhile, they might step up their filth out of retribution, but that’s like drinking poison waiting for the other person to die.

              Liked by 1 person

  2. Cyber-stalkers and harassers (as well as the ones IRL) should get far harsher sentences than this scumbag got.

    They seem to have nothing better to do with their time, so why not spend 5 years in solitary confinement? That might cure them of hassling people and spreading lies…

    Liked by 3 people

    • Sepultura,
      Solitary confinement sounds like what they need to give themselves time to think about their crimes.

      Liked by 2 people

      • If only it would work – sadly, people of that mindset don’t think about their crimes at all. They will justify their abhorrent, unforgiveable actions until the day they die.

        Solitary confinement is what they need, in order to protect others from them. They have no capacity for reflection .

        Liked by 1 person

        • Sepultura,
          I’m currently under attack on Twitter. You are right that they have no capacity for reflection. They have no conscience, no belief in karma and no restraints to what they will do. They are on a mission to destroy their targeted victims using the internet as their weapon and their nasty lies and verbal abuse as ammunition. That is what law enforcement needs to understand so they can effectively enforce the law against harassment.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Agreed. Law enforcement needs to catch up to the 21st century – these crimes have been around since the inception of the Internet, and need to be handled accordingly.

            I refuse to use platforms such as Twitter and Instagram for the reason you stated – I’m sorry that you’re under attack. It sucks that people feel the need to do that.
            *HUGS*

            Liked by 1 person

            • Sepultura,
              (Tight hug) Thanks, I needed that. 🙂

              I blogged for a year before I opened an account on Twitter, and it’s been a protected account since day one. That however, doesn’t stop others on Twitter from tweeting to and about anyone. It’s really become a cesspool.

              Word Press recommends Facebook pages for bloggers, and then they have connections with Google+ and other social media. But, I don’t use social media other than blogs and Twitter. The way I see it, people who have already seen the ugliness of internet harassment would be crazy to spread themselves thin across numerous social sites.

              Liked by 2 people

            • Exactly – this is why my internet footprint is small, and why I value my (and others’) privacy.

              My blog and my game are my only form of (anti)social media!
              🙂

              Like

  3. Dear Folks, Let’s face it. Mr.King does look like a loser More stringent consequences for his type of actions would be a deterrent for others. Gronda . .

    Liked by 3 people

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