Image via CrunchBase Facebook Bullies Charged After being tracked down by their victim...
(Dec. 8 2010) -- When 18-year-old Ally Pfeiffer found a Facebook profile impersonating her and replacing her photograph with a picture of a cow to mock her weight, she cried.
Then, though, the Connecticut teen fought back, found the IP address for the bogus page and helped police trace the cruel behavior back to Sarah Johnson and Jeff Martone, her former classmates at a Bristol, Conn., high school. And now, Johnson and Martone, both freshmen at the University of Connecticut, have been charged with criminal impersonation and second-degree harassment.
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Pfeiffer said she's speaking out about her experience because she hopes it will prevent other young people from going through the pain she did. "If I help one teen or if I make one bully think twice before doing something I would feel 100 percent better," she said in an interview with NBC's "Today" show this morning.
Both Martone, 19, and Johnson, 18, have admitted to creating the fake Facebook profile, which listed Pfeiffer's "likes" as "being fat," "whales," "Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream" and "not running." Pfeiffer said she and Johnson were close friends in high school. "When I first saw the page, I was completely devastated. I didn't know who had done it at this point and was questioning why they chose me, why they'd say those things about me," she told WFSB.com.
But Pfeiffer, a freshman at the University of Hartford, said she didn't want to let the cyberbullying ruin her life. "Some of my friends would have hung themselves over this," she told the Bristol Press. "So I'm just glad that [Martone and Johnson] got a stable person trying to take a positive approach to dealing with it rather than someone who could have taken different action."
Cyberbullying has gained increased scrutiny since the death of Rutgers University student Tyler Clementi earlier this year, who killed himself after his classmates allegedly posted a video of him having sex with another man.
Jeremy Weingast, Martone's attorney, said his client is sorry for the pain he caused. "Jeffrey is very remorseful and sorry for the entire incident and apologizes to Ally," he said in a statement.
Johnson and Martone were released on $2,500 bond and are scheduled to face a court hearing Dec. 23. Both charges are misdemeanors.
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