Canadian sentenced for Twitter harassment
In 2011, Jean-Francois Champagne used Twitter to harass celebrities, a hockey player and others. The 21-year-old pleaded guilty to criminal harassment and uttering threats. While awaiting sentencing he was ordered off social media and prohibited from contacting his victims. His compliance with the court’s release terms helped when sentenced by the court.
In January, 2013, Champagne, who used the Twitter name of Jeff Sabres, was sentenced by Judge Maurice Galameau. The judge stated to Champagne that “You’ve used worrisome language, some of it was childish and you realize today it is a serious crime.” His psychiatric history was taken into consideration and was a factor in avoiding a jail sentence. Instead, Champagne was given 140 hours of community service and two years probation. He is to continue to stay off the Internet and all social media.
Champagne wrote a letter of apology to his victims stating in part “I understand I misbehaved and I regret it. You don’t have to worry about your safety, and I promise not to communicate with you.”
We have told you about other cases where teens and adults have gotten caught up in the juvenile or criminal justice system for their posts. It’s important to remember you don’t have to confront someone face-to-face to commit a crime. Acts of intimidation, harassment or stalking can occur online through an email, a tweet or in a chat room. Always think before you hit “Send” or it can backfire on you in unexpected ways.