Pa. teen loses Facebook harassment charge appeal

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — A state appeals court on Friday upheld a teenager’s harassment conviction for posting on Facebook that another girl had herpes.

Superior Court ruled against an 18-year-old former Cedar Crest High School student whose untrue posting last year about a 15-year-old girl attracted several “likes” before it was taken down about an hour after she posted it.

“She did feel remorse,” said her lawyer, Elizabeth Judd.

“She was sorry, but it was very emotional between families, and I think that was really the heart of everything,” said Judd, who is considering an appeal. She could find no previous cases in Pennsylvania that dealt with the same legal issues.

The girl was charged after posting that the younger girl “has herpes. Ew, that’s gross. She should stop spreading her legs like her mother.”

A trial court review of the case said the victim did not have herpes and was not sexually active, and noted the posting used her full name.

“We find that referring to the sexual activities of a 15-year-old, whether true or not, can be considered lewd or obscene,” the trial judge wrote.

The girl was convicted by a jury and sentenced to six months of probation.

Lebanon County District Attorney David Arnold said the incident was “pretty much a textbook case” of cyberbullying.

“It was just, in our mind, pretty egregious and we thought charges were appropriate,” he said.

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