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WA Girl, 12, Sentenced for Facebook Cyberstalking

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By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on July 15, 2011 9:51 AM

In a story that demonstrates the viciousness that underlies girl-on-girl bullying, a Juvenile Court judge has sentenced a 12-year-old Seattle girl to 6 months of probation and 20 hours of community service for Facebook cyberstalking classmate Leslie Cote.

Cote, who has given the media permission to use her name to raise awareness of cyberstalking, was reportedly the subject of vulgar messages and wall posts.

Convicted of felony computer trespassing and cyberstalking, the 12-year-old defendant, along with a friend, accessed Cote's Facebook account where they repeatedly posted lewd photos and called her a "slut," reports The Seattle Times.

They also managed to gain access to her instant messaging account, which Reuters reports they used to send random messages soliciting sex on Cote's behalf.

Both sources indicate that the girls had, until recently, been friends. They had a "falling out."

Besides the defendant's age, what's most interesting about this case is the Facebook cyberstalking charge.

Though ordinarily we think of stalking as an in-person behavior, it is actually a heightened form of harassment that can occur anywhere, which is why most states have passed cyberstalking or cyber harassment laws.

Washington's law specifically prohibits repeatedly sending lewd images or communications to a third party with the intent to harass or embarrass another person.

Clearly the defendant wanted to, at the very least, embarrass Leslie Cote.

Luckily for her, she wasn't given a harsh sentence for her harsh Facebook cyberstalking, with the Times reporting that the conviction will be erased if she successfully completes probation.

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