herald

Monday 20 November 2017

Mum fined for harassing son on Facebook

A woman who locked her son out of his Facebook account and posted vulgarities on his page has been convicted of harassment and ordered not to have contact with the teenager.

Denise New of Arkadelphia, Arkansas, was ordered to pay a $435 (f350) fine and complete anger-management and parenting classes.

He said he would consider allowing her to see her 17-year-old son, Lane New, who lives with his grandmother, if she takes the two courses.

The mother and son told the judge that they had a good relationship until it began to deteriorate this spring.

The dispute arose when the boy -- who had gone to live with his grandmother about five years ago after New went through a difficult divorce -- was visiting his mother.



Mistake

She had asked him to return a key to her home, but he declined and she then refused to let him into the house to retrieve some of his belongings.

Some of the postings New said she put on her son's Facebook page included vulgarities. One, which she said she mistakenly posted on her son's page instead of her own, said: "The only mistake I ever made was having a kid."

New received a 30-day suspended jail sentence, which she will serve only if she does not fulfil the conditions of her year-long probation.

New posted items on her son's Facebook account after he had failed to log off. She also changed his password so he couldn't use it again.

One of the messages was worded to appear as though he had written it: "Check this out -- I went to my mom's and deliberately started an argument and called the police on her. She almost went to jail. How cool is that? Ha, ha, ha."

Denise New said she posted that item because she thought her son had told two police officers who came to her home that she had hit him during their confrontation. That posting, the Judge Randy Hill said, could only be construed as an effort to make out her son to be a liar.

Hill also criticised the mother for using vulgarities in messages left on her son's phone.

"You said you were trying to teach him a lesson," the judge said. "Nobody has the right to talk to anybody else like that."

Before the trial, Denise New portrayed the matter as an effort by her to exercise supervision over her son's internet activities. "If I'm found guilty on this, it is going to be open season on parents," she said.

hnews@herald.ie

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