Saturday, March 23, 2013

Another Revenge Site - Another Lawsuit

by Anna North

(2012) A New York attorney is suing two of his exes for posting about him on the website liarscheatersrus.com. We took a look at the website he claims is ruining his career.

According to FindLaw, Matthew Couloute, Jr. is suing Stacey Blitsch and Amanda Ryncarz for posting on the site that he "Cheated on ALL of ex-girlfriends" and "lied and cheated his entire way through his 40 years of life." They also allegedly wrote, "BE FOREWARNED, HE'S SCUM. RUN FAR AWAY." Couloute is alleging that the posts have cost him clients, but FindLaw's Stephanie Rabiner writes that he probably doesn't have a case — she notes that "if true, these statements are not fraudulent misrepresentations or defamation." And Blitsch and Ryncarz are now suing Couloute with the help of Gloria Allred.

[A] review of some cached pages reveals an interesting — and disturbing — mix of rage, misery, and revenge. The homepage addresses infidelity victims directly:

Has anyone dated your spouse? Have you trusted and put yourself on the line for someone who turned out to be a player or a married person? Are you the victim of a home wrecker? You can not only find others that have been similarly victimized, but you can also report the perpetrators of these games to the world and save others from the heartache. Wouldn't you like to help others and prevent the people who cheated on you or tried to steal your husband and wife from doing it again?

Whether the posters on the site want to help others or simply vent is an open question. Some of the posts make serious allegations:

  • This man has cheated on his wife with more women than is humanly imaginable. His looks get him anything he wants, and he lies as easily as most of us breathe. He has beaten his wife, is currently incarcerated, but will be out in one year, doing it all over again…. So sad….

Some mix the serious with the trivial:
This man is the worst person I've ever met in my entire life. He lied from the day we met. He said he was 31 years old, but he is 38. He said he was a physician at a local hospital, and when I found out he wasn't, he lied and said it was my misunderstanding, and he was in medical school currently working as a PA while he's in school. He's really just a lab tech at a local hospital. He said he has been divorced for 2 years, and has one son. He is STILL married, and has 3 children with his wife of 14 years. He claims to be 6′ tall, but he's only 5'10″.

And some seem to speak to relationship problems that have nothing to do with lying or cheating:
He will come on strong, the complete charmer for the first 3 months. After he has made his score, he will back off and run. Then if you ever remind him of all the things he said or wrote to you about love, he will not remember. He will blame you for every single thing that is wrong in his life even if you have poured out 100% of your life to support his dreams and goals. I know because I did for year.

As Rabiner says, if these statements are true, they fall well within the bounds of free speech. But liarscheatersrus also seems like a great place to smear your ex, whether or not he or she actually did anything wrong. The site doesn't employ any obvious fact-checking, and so it has the potential to become a sort of "slut list" for grownups, a place where people can anonymously bash others without any proof.
Don't Date Him Girl has already mined this territory — and a lawsuit against that site was dismissed in 2007. Still, Rabiner notes that "even though Matthew Couloute may not prevail on this claim, keep in mind that, with slightly different facts, a posting on liarscheatersrus.com (or any other such site) could form the basis of a successful and costly lawsuit." And even if alleged liars and cheaters don't find legal recourse, posting anonymously on a website may not be a particularly good response to infidelity. In response to a woman wondering whether to tell her ex's new lady that he was in the closet, Slate's Emily Yoffe recently wrote,

Let's say you were the happy young woman engaged to the man of your dreams. Would you want his ex to come along and ruin everything by telling you that he is a closeted gay man who is secretly having promiscuous sex? I sure would! It's always easier in cases like this to just let adults make their own decisions and find out (or not) what's really going on.

That's doubly true if you're planning on posting incriminating (or false) information on the internet. It may feel good at the time, but it's unlikely to sway somebody who's intent on dating your nasty ex. And it might get you sued.

Friday, March 08, 2013

Ex-Boyfriend Sued For Cyber Harassment

by Alexis Shaw

A Virginia woman is suing her ex-boyfriend after he tormented her and her teenage daughter by posting their photos on prostitution sites, sending dozens of men to their home, and distributing nude photos of the woman to her co-workers, her daughter and her daughter's friends.

The year long harassment caused the woman to lose her job in a bank and forced her to change her name, the woman's complaint states. ABC News is withholding the woman's new name.

Soraida Hicks' ex-boyfriend, Bruce Stimon, pleaded guilty in December 2012 to stalking, felony identity theft, and extortion. He was sentenced on Jan. 25 to three years in prison.

Now Hicks and her daughter Pam, 16, have filed a $20 million civil suit against Stimon. She is claiming slander, libel, and infliction of emotional distress, according to court documents.

"I didn't think that he was going to be crazy," Hicks told ABC Washington D.C. affiliate WJLA. Hicks could not be reached for comment by ABCNews.com.

Hicks and Stimon, who is 46, met on a plane traveling from Boston to Washington in the fall of 2011, and the two started a long-distance relationship. Hicks lives in Arlington, Va., and Stimon lived in Kensington, N.H.

According to Hicks' attorney, David Shurtz, Stimon showered Hicks with gifts, even buying Hicks an iPhone and paying for her service on his family plan.

But Shurtz said Stimon used the iPhone as a way to make himself the only man in her life, and he gained access to Hicks' contacts and emails in order to control her.

According to the complaint, "the gift was a deliberate plot to surreptitiously keep track of all the contacts and comings and goings of [Hicks]."

Hicks was unaware of her boyfriend's monitoring until January 2012 when she learned that Stimon "had created a web site advertising her services as a prostitute," according to the complaint. At the time Hicks was in Paraguay visiting her parents, a trip Stimon had financed.

Stimon posted Hicks' name and address, as well as her photos, on web sites advertising prostitution, and listed Hicks' supervisor at her workplace as her point of contact, the complaint states.

"He was creating an artificial theory so that he would be the only man she would contact," Shurtz said. "And the theory was that she was under a cyber attack. And he came to her and said, 'Ah ha! I will be your white knight and I will stop the cyber attack.'"

Instead, Hicks broke up with Stimon and reported the harassment to the Arlington County Police Department.

"From January to probably about March, we were just trying to compile information and figure out what was going on," said Det. Angela Comer of the Arlington County Police Department.

Stimon's cyber attacks escalated. He sent explicit photographs of Hicks to her friends and co-workers, causing Hicks to lose her job as a financial sales consultant at a bank, according to the complaint.

He created a fake Twitter account and sent videos of Hicks and himself having sex to Hicks' daughter and her daughters' friends. The videos were taken without Hicks' consent, the complaint said. It also stated that Stimon also advertised both mother and daughter for sex, sending men to her apartment nearly 60 times.

The investigation involved several sections of the Arlington County Police Department.

"The commonwealth attorneys, the tactical unit, just about every unit in our department had a hand on this case," Comer said.

Comer said Hicks filed a protective order against Stimon in June 2012. When he came to court to dispute the order, he was arrested for "stalking, unlawful filming, and use of a person's identity to harass," but was released on bond a few months later, Comer said.

Woman Sues Ex-Boyfriend for Cyber Harassment

Police tried to keep Hicks' phone number a secret from Stimon, but it frequently needed to be changed as Stimon would figure it out and harass Hicks, Comer said.

In November police caught Stimon slashing Hicks' car tires near her home. He was arrested and charged with destruction of property, stalking, and violating the protective order Hicks had filed against him.

"What was so devastating to Mr. Stimon was that when he was caught, his computer and cell phone were in his car, and they became evidence," said Shurtz.