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Woman Charged with Felony Harassment for Fake Craigslist Post

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St. Louis Dispatch: A St. Peters woman was charged today with felony harassment against a teenager for allegedly creating a fake, sexually suggestive Craigslist ad in an apparent attempt at retaliation.

Elizabeth A. Thrasher, 40, of the 1300 block of Farm Valley Drive, is accused of posting an ad to the website's "Casual Encounters" section to humiliate the 17-year-old daughter of a woman her ex-husband was dating.

Prosecutors said this was the first felony charged in St. Charles County under a new harassment law written in response to the suicide death of an Dardenne Prairie, teenager.

St. Charles County Prosecutor Jack Banas said Thrasher and the teen's mother had a "deteriorating relationship." The teen sent a Myspace message to Thrasher, telling her to grow up. Thrasher then created a listing on Craigslist using the teen's picture.

Thrasher also listed the girl's place of employment, e-mail address and cell phone number, Sheriff's Department investigators said. The language in the advertisement could have been construed as being sexual in nature, they said.

Sheriff's Lt. Craig McGuire would not elaborate on the nature of the advertisement and referred questions to the county prosecutor's office.

Mike Kielty, Thrasher's attorney, said prosecutors might not be able to meet the burden of proof under the statute. He also said the statute itself was poorly written. "This is just crazy that somebody can get arrested and charged with a felony for some behavior that's so innocuous," he said.

Men called the girl and sent e-mails, text messages and pornography to her cell phone after Thrasher posted the listing, investigators said.

Banas said that, to his knowledge, this was the first time his office has filed a felony charge under a new harassment law passed after the death of teenager Megan Meier. The 13-year-old Dardenne Prairie girl committed suicide after receiving messages from a fake Myspace account. The cyber bullying case received national attention after Lori Drew, an adult neighbor of Megan's was linked to the fake account.

Drew eventually was charged with four federal misdemeanors. A jury found her guilty of four, but a judge has said he will acquit her.

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1 comments so far | Post a comment now
PlumbLucky August 19, 2009, 12:54 PM

“This is just crazy that somebody can get arrested and charged with a felony for some behavior that’s so innocuous,”

I’m sure that the teenager in question felt it quite innocuous that her personal information was posted in a manner of which she didn’t approve and was contacted because of the posting. I find it crazier that a 40 year old found this type of behavior to be appropriate.

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