A Broward County camp counselor has been arrested and charged with cyberstalking for sending threatening text messages to some of the juveniles he supervised.
Florida law defines cyberstalking as “engag[ing] in a course of conduct to communicate, or to cause to be communicated, words, images, or language by or through the use of electronic mail or electronic communication, directed at a specific person, causing substantial emotional distress to that person and serving no legitimate purpose.” Fla. Stat. s. 784.048(1)(d).
Under normal circumstances where no threats of harm are conveyed and the victim(s) are not under 16, the crime is a misdemeanor.
If the victim(s) are under 16 or threats of harm are conveyed, the crime becomes a third-degree felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison.
The victims in this case were campers at a day camp in Davie, Florida. They received threatening text messages through a chat app. When police were called, the IP (Internet protocol) address of the sender turned out to be the home of the counselor.
The judge placed the defendant on house arrest with an electronic monitor pending trial.
Eric Matheny is a Miami criminal defense attorney and Broward criminal defense attorney who represents clients charged with stalking, cyberstalking, and aggravated stalking.