Girl Claims Cyberbullies Defamed Her

     MARIETTA, Ga. (CN) – A middle school student claims in court that two classmates defamed and humiliated her by creating a fake Facebook page in her name and posting false comments that she was a racist, sexually active and using drugs.
     The 14-year-old girl and her parents sued two of her classmates at Palmer Middle School classmates in Cobb County Court. The family says they discovered the phony Facebook page in May 2011.
     The names of the young girl and the defendants, both unemancipated minors, appear in the complaint. Courthouse News will not use their names in this article because they are minors.
     “The Facebook account set up by [defendants] represented that the plaintiff was sexually active, racist and involved in drug activities defendants knew to be false allegations,” the complaint states.
     “All of the statements made regarding the plaintiff’s sexual history, racist statements and alleged drug activity are false and the Facebook postings are libelous on their face. The statements clearly exposed the plaintiff to hatred, contempt and ridicule by her classmates and peers.”
     Screenshots of the fake Facebook page, attached as an exhibit to the complaint, include a doctored picture of the girl, with her face enlarged, and lists “Retardish” as her spoken language.
     The complaint states: “So as to harass, defame and injure the reputation of plaintiff, defendants published this Facebook account and falsely represented to plaintiff’s friends and classmates that this account had been created by the plaintiff.”
     Five days after the defendants created the Facebook page, the girl says, she discovered it and immediately told her parents.
     When her parents informed school officials, “Palmer Middle School officials failed to take any action or make any attempts to take down the page,” the complaint states.
     The family filed a complaint with the Cobb County Police Department, “in an attempt to have the fraudulent Facebook account taken down.” That complaint also is attached as an exhibit.
     The Facebook page apparently has been removed; a Courthouse News reporter searched for it Wednesday. But the family claims that “numerous persons” saw it, including several of the girl’s classmates and friends.
     “The statements made by the defendants were not privileged and were published by the defendants with malice, hatred and ill will toward plaintiff and a desire to injure her,” according to the complaint.
     “As a proximate result of the publication of the statements on the Facebook account, the plaintiff has suffered loss of her reputation, shame, mortification and injury to her feelings.”
     The family seeks punitive damages for libel and for the intentional infliction of emotional distress.
     They are represented by Natalie Woodward, with Woodward & Stern, of Roswell, Ga.

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