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Unwilling Avatars: Harassment, Idealism, and Liberty in Cyberspace
Unformatted Document Text:  DRAFT: PLEASE DO NOT CITE OR CIRCULATE WITHOUT PERMISSION Franks 19 Sierra … head first.” 68 Sierra canceled several speaking engagements and suspended her blog in the wake of the threatening posts. 69 Chelsea Gorman was a freshman at Vanderbilt University when she was raped on her way to campus one evening. Gorman left school for that semester, struggling with panic attacks and self-blame. When she returned to school in the fall of 2007, she had only told her family and a few friends about the rape. In March 2008, a friend at another college called to tell her that someone had posted about her rape on a gossip site called JuicyCampus.com. On the Vanderbilt University page of the site, there was a post titled “Chelsea Gorman deserved it.” The post not only announced the rape, but went on to read: “what could she expect walking around there alone. everyone thinks she's so sweet but she got what she deserved. wish i had been the homeless guy that f***** her.” 70 The post became the talk of Vanderbilt‟s campus – both the virtual one on JuicyCampus, and the real one Gorman had to face every day. 71 Christina McCormack 72 had been dating fellow University of Georgia student Richard Baker only a short while before things got serious – according to Baker, they moved in together, got a dog, and exchanged promise rings. 73 They broke up in January 2007. When McCormack had a male friend stay with her for a few days, Baker became enraged. He hacked into McCormack‟s MySpace account and sent messages to her friend in her name. These messages included claims that McCormack had certain medical conditions and that she was still in love with Baker. 74 He installed spyware on her computer so that he could track her Internet use and gain access to her IDs and passwords. Finally, he uploaded naked pictures of McCormack (which he had obtained without consent) on his Facebook page. In May 2008, Baker was charged with 32 felonies. News reports as of this writing indicate that he is currently free on bond, awaiting trial. 75 68 Id. 69 Blog death threats spark debate, BBC N EWS (March 27, 2007) http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/6499095.stm 70 Eamon McNiff and Ann Varney, College Gossip Crackdown: Chelsea Gorman Speaks Out (May 14, 2008), ABC N EWS , http://abcnews.go.com/2020/Story?id=4849927&page=1 71 Id. at __. 72 I have been asked to use pseudonyms in the following example while the case is still pending. 73 Richard Morgan, Revenge Porn, D ETAILS , (http://men.style.com/details/blogs/details/2008/09/revenge-porn.html#more 74 Lee Shearer, Ex-Lover Got Revenge Online, Athens Police Say, (May 30, 2008), A UGUSTA C HRONICLE , http://chronicle.augusta.com/stories/latest/lat_053008_computerrevenge.shtml 75 Morgan, supra note _.

Authors: Franks, Mary Anne.
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background image
DRAFT: PLEASE DO NOT CITE OR CIRCULATE WITHOUT PERMISSION 
 
Franks 19 
 
Sierra … head first.”
68
  Sierra canceled several speaking engagements and 
suspended her blog in the wake of the threatening posts.
69
  
Chelsea Gorman was a freshman at Vanderbilt University when she was 
raped  on  her  way  to  campus  one  evening.  Gorman  left  school  for  that 
semester, struggling with panic attacks and self-blame.  When she returned 
to school in the fall of 2007, she had only told her family and a few friends 
about the rape.  In March 2008, a friend at another college called to tell her 
that  someone  had  posted  about  her  rape  on  a  gossip  site  called 
JuicyCampus.com.  On the Vanderbilt University page of the site, there was 
a post titled “Chelsea Gorman deserved it.”  The post not only announced 
the rape, but went on to read: “what could she expect walking around there 
alone. everyone thinks she's so sweet but she got what she deserved. wish i 
had been the homeless guy that f***** her.”
70
  The post became the talk of 
Vanderbilt‟s  campus  –  both  the  virtual  one  on  JuicyCampus,  and  the  real 
one Gorman had to face every day.
71
  
Christina  McCormack
72
  had  been  dating  fellow  University  of  Georgia 
student  Richard  Baker  only  a  short  while  before  things  got  serious  – 
according  to  Baker,  they  moved  in  together,  got  a  dog,  and  exchanged 
promise rings.
73
  They broke up in January 2007. When McCormack had a 
male friend stay with her for a few days, Baker became enraged.  He hacked 
into McCormack‟s MySpace account and sent messages to her friend in her 
name.    These  messages  included  claims  that  McCormack  had  certain 
medical conditions and that she was still in love with Baker.
74
 He installed 
spyware  on  her  computer  so  that  he  could  track  her  Internet  use  and  gain 
access  to  her  IDs  and  passwords.  Finally,  he  uploaded  naked  pictures  of 
McCormack  (which  he  had  obtained  without  consent)  on  his  Facebook 
page. In May 2008, Baker was charged with 32 felonies. News reports as of 
this writing indicate that he is currently free on bond, awaiting trial.
75
 
                                                      
68
Id
69
 Blog death threats spark debate, BBC
 
N
EWS
 (March 27, 2007) 
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/6499095.stm 
70
 Eamon McNiff and Ann Varney, College Gossip Crackdown: Chelsea Gorman Speaks 
Out (May 14, 2008), ABC
 
N
EWS
, http://abcnews.go.com/2020/Story?id=4849927&page=1 
71
 Id. at __. 
72
 I have been asked to use pseudonyms in the following example while the case is still 
pending. 
73
 Richard Morgan, Revenge Porn, D
ETAILS
(http://men.style.com/details/blogs/details/2008/09/revenge-porn.html#more 
74
Lee Shearer, Ex-Lover Got Revenge Online, Athens Police Say, (May 30, 2008), 
A
UGUSTA 
C
HRONICLE
http://chronicle.augusta.com/stories/latest/lat_053008_computerrevenge.shtml 
75
 Morgan, supra note _.  


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