SAN ANTONIO, Texas — Somerset Police arrested a 16-year-old girl on charges of online harassment. She was arrested under a new law that took effect September 1.
The new Texas law criminalizes online harassment on social networking sites and through e-mail or text messaging. H.B. 2003 states a person commits a third degree felony if the person posts one or more messages on a social networking site with the intent to harm, defraud, intimidate or threaten another person.
Somerset Chief Martin Chavez said the department had enough probable cause to issue a warrant for the young girl’s arrest.
“Don’t harass people online. The crime is severe, it’s a third degree felony. So, even if you’re joking sometimes it can really hurt people and now it’s against the law,” said Chief Chavez.
Details of the incident weren’t made available, but police say the harassment went on for a few months and involved a dispute over a boy.
The 16-year-old girl has a detention hearing Wednesday at 2:30 p.m.
It seems the goal of the new law was to discourage using the name or persona of another person to create a Web page. Some people expect legal challenges to the constitutionality of the new internet law.