Shreveport woman files cyber harassment report

By Tracy Clemons – bio|e-mail

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA)- A Shreveport woman is fighting to restore her name after a vicious mass text message that she says went out to at least 50 people. In it, a warning to people about her and her boyfriend, and a disease that neither of them has.

Her story points to the deeper issue of cyber stalking.

Shardee Thomas's says her nightmare started Thursday with a text message.

"The message says 'Warning, Shardee Thomas and Octavious Jenkins have full blown AIDS. Please forward this message around so you or your loved ones won't get infected with the virus.'"

By the time she found out, it had already gone to dozens of people.

"I was getting phone calls, and people stopping by asking me about it. Is it true, and all this. People I hadn't seen in years," Thomas says.

She says it was a lie, and she has the papers to prove it. Thomas filed a report with Shreveport police. We asked Public Information Officer Bill Goodin if this is happening more.

"I wouldn't say that it's common, but I wouldn't say that it's rare, by any stretch of the imagination," he says.

Goodin tells KSLA News 12 that SPD is working to stay ahead of the curve on cyber stalking and cyber harassment- "I anticipate that we'll see more cases where we have harassing or threatening activity going on on this cyber networking."

He says people who experience it should file a report.

"At worst, the detectives are going to tell you no, we've reviewed the case, and it doesn't appear that anything criminal has occurred here. If there has been a crime committed, the detectives will investigate it and take the appropriate law enforcement action."

Shardee Thomas's mom, Letrease, has a message for anyone sending or forwarding these kinds of messages.

"You are just as guilty as the person you are sending them to who continues to send them around. The both of you are equally as guilty. Find out your facts before you send rumors out about people."

Shardee Thomas says she is looking for a lawyer right now, and plans to file a civil suit against the person who sent the initial message.

The woman she says started the chain message called KSLA News 12. She says the message was forwarded to her.

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