Tearful mother urges law against 'cyberbullying'

The Baltimore Sun

An Anne Arundel County mother tearfully asked state legislators yesterday to outlaw "cyberbullying," testifying that her daughter was harassed and demeaned by classmates through the popular social networking site MySpace.

The woman, who did not want her name used for fear of additional harassment, said the classmates set up a public online profile that used "very sexually explicit and vulgar language" to describe her daughter. She said the offenders "got away with a slap on the wrist and were told, 'Don't do it again.' "

Del. Nicholaus R. Kipke, an Anne Arundel Republican, told House Judiciary Committee members that his bill would extend current law banning harassment through e-mail to other online forms of communication, such as MySpace. The measure would make it a misdemeanor crime punishable by a maximum of a year in prison and a $500 fine.

Kipke said his goal is to allow police to investigate these forms of online harassment - something officers tell victims they can't do because of state law.

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