The people whose stories wind up in ATL’s pages aren’t always psyched to be here. Long-time readers may remember my getting punk’d by a Boston law school student upset about his email flame war with a female lawyer going viral.
The law student placed my photo and cell phone number in a Craigslist Casual Encounters ad on a Sunday afternoon. I always appreciate people setting me up on dates, but not like that. My phone was unusable for an hour due to incoming calls and text messages.
Some urged me to press harassment charges afterward, but I let it go, dismissing it as a stupid, though somewhat amusing, prank. A Massachusetts woman was not as easily amused forgiving as was I. After being pranked in the same way, she went to the police. And the Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly Docket reports that a judge determined that fake Craigslist Casual Encounters promising sexy times can lead to criminal charges. One less non-criminal way you can punk a partner for keeping you at the office late…
Crystal L. Oliver snuck into a frenemy’s apartment and posted two Craigslist ads on her computer. It’s unclear why she needed to do this from the woman’s computer — perhaps she was trying to cover her IP address tracks? The first ad promised oral sex, and the second offered up the full package. From The Docket:
As a result of the ads, the alleged victim received approximately 70 phone calls and five text messages between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m.
At least Oliver wasn’t this evil.
The defendant, Crystal L. Oliver, who was charged with criminal sexual harassment, argued that the statute did not apply to her because it required a “pattern of conduct or series of acts” which she interpreted to mean at least three separate acts on her part.
[Quincy District Court Judge Mark S.] Coven disagreed with the “narrow focus” the defendant applied to the criminal harassment statute.
“In this case,” Coven said, “two salacious ads were placed in the late evening and [the alleged victim’s] phone number was provided as the contact number. There is an inescapable inference that the author of these ads knew that the content would draw interest and the interest would manifest in contact with [the alleged victim].
The courts keep finding ways to criminalize Craigslist pranks, whether as a computer crime or harassment. A CVS pharmacist in Connecticut who performed the prank on a rude customer was charged with misdemeanor harassment and felony computer crime, pleaded guilty, and was given two years probation.
So we’d advise you to avoid this type of activity, or to make sure your victim is the type who will appreciate the joke.
Woman may be prosecuted for Craigslist posting [The Docket/Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly]
Joke in photo caption stolen from: Craigslist: Casual Encounters of the Most Unwanted Kind [Legal Blog Watch]
Kash is an editor emeritus at Above the Law. She’s now at Forbes writing about privacy, and the lack thereof, in the digital age.