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Is college cyber-bullying a criminal offense?

On Behalf of | Jun 24, 2019 | criminal law | 0 comments

Pennsylvania college students spend a lot of time online. The internet opens up avenues for studying and socializing. Unfortunately, it may also open up the door for bullies. Grade school and high school bullying are hot topics. In fact, Pennsylvania is a state with specific anti-bullying laws in place. However, bullying is not always limited to minors. Adults can bully other adults too. Are there criminal charges that deal with adult cyber-bullying and harassment?

What you may not know about cyber-bullying is that it can quickly enter the realm of stalking or harassment. By Pennsylvania law, stalking and harassment are criminal offenses. If a victim feels threatened or as if the perpetrator invaded his or her privacy, this is stalking. Threats of violence and false accusations are forms of stalking behavior. Harassment is also a charge in which a person annoys, harasses or causes fear in a subject. Any lascivious, lewd or threatening contact may fall under the umbrella of harassment.

Harassment can occur at any hour. Often, to qualify as harassment, the communication must occur repeatedly, particularly at inconvenient times. A person may still face harassment charges if he or she tries to remain anonymous. Many people try to hide behind the anonymity of the internet. If a person attempts to shield his or her identity while communicating in a harassing manner, this falls under the code of harassment.

If a person sends messages to another via the internet with any intent to frighten, stalk or harass a victim, this is a charge punishable by a fine or imprisonment.

This information is for educational purposes only and is not legal advice.