Posted: 6/6/2008 2:16:35 PM EDT
This guy wouldn't last very long on GD. And hasn't he ever heard of blocking e-mails?
|Blogger sues, says he's been cyber-stalked - and cops won't help|
By Erin Alberty
The Salt Lake Tribune
Article Last Updated: 06/06/2008 06:40:57 AM MDT
The vitriol aimed at Tyler Talbot's personal blog might be ill-suited for a journal that begins, "The kids are asleep, Brooke is at work, and I am basking in the glow from a wonderful evening."
But Talbot says his G-rated musings and family photos have attracted pages of anonymous, online threats and mockery of his advanced diabetes. Now the Holladay father of three has filed a lawsuit against his anonymous antagonist - and is asking why authorities would not act on what he calls a clear-cut case of harassment.
The angry comments began May 16 after Talbot, 32, blogged about his pet peeves of men's fashions: upturned collars, Capri pants for men and crooked baseball caps, among others.
One viewer "took offense" and left an angry comment, said Talbot's wife Brooke.
"[It] was supposed to be a funny post," Tyler Talbot said. ". . .It kind of snowballed from there."
The next day, a user with the moniker "For my amusement" warned Talbot, "Your life is going to end in a tragic way. . . .Try to stay away from the business end of a box cutter."
The writer added, "I do know some guys I can set your wife up with when you are gone."
Brooke Talbot said a Salt Lake County sheriff's deputy told her there was little he could do unless the Talbots could identify the writer, she said.
"He said . . .a prosecutor wouldn't find the case interesting enough to subpoena [identifying information]," she said.
Sheriff's spokesman Paul Jaroscak said the department takes several complaints of Internet threats each week. The comments to Talbot likely would be treated as a misdemeanor terrorist threat - not serious enough to warrant the time-intensive process of issuing investigative subpoenas, which communications companies often ignore.
"A lot of times you have to judge what sort of investigation you put into these based on your experience that [typically] these are idle threats made on the Internet," Jaroscak said.
Additionally, Internet threats often fail to qualify as "imminent" as required by law, said Paul Parker, attorney with the Salt Lake County prosecutor's office.
"Does it have enough words and context for [investigators] to fit that element? It's a lot easier on a terroristic threat when it's face-to-face, or even a threat from somebody nearby," Parker said. "[Internet threats] are very difficult cases."
The defamatory comments escalated in volume; 12 new remarks were posted on Wednesday alone, when Talbot restricted his blog to invited readers, said the Talbots' attorney, Charles Perschon. The comments have appeared under more than 15 monikers, including "Amazing waste of time," "mighty Bic" and "And you shall know me by the power of grayskull." Perschon quoted from what he says now amounts to about 20 typed pages of declarations, including, "I am your worst nightmare," and "I am on a mission to destroy the façade and the untouchable bubble that [Tyler] thinks exists around him. I am the HAMMER."
Other remarks address Brooke Talbot, their three children, Tyler Talbot's father and late brother. The comments also ridicule his struggles with type 1 diabetes; Tyler, Brooke and one of their children are diabetic. Tyler Talbot suffers from an array of diabetic complications, including seizures and unconsciousness, and is listed as a candidate for kidney transplant, Perschon said.
"Don't mess with the troubled diabetic kid," one comment states. "He blames the world for his diabetes and is likely to snap."
After Talbot disabled comments on his blog, he said he received an anonymous e-mail, Perschon said: "I can still communicate with you. You can run like a scared pup, but you cannot hide from my words. My words shall set you free."
Talbot entered a lawsuit against 10 potential John Does on Tuesday so he could begin filing subpoenas for digital information, which may identify the person leaving the comments - a process that law enforcement should have undertaken, Perschon said.
"I personally think the police should have . . . been more willing to help us out," agreed Brooke Talbot. "The level to which this has gone, I feel like we're being stalked - blog stalked."