A two-month long investigation into a complaint of online bullying concluded on Monday, January 21, 2019 with the arrest of an eighteen year old Wenatchee man for two counts of Cyberstalking. Everett S. Anderson was booked into Chelan County Regional Justice Center on those charges after it was determined he was the owner and operator of a Twitter account that was being used to harass and embarrass Wenatchee High School students.
One video posted on the Twitter feed included images of a pair of siblings from Wenatchee High School implying they were in a sexual relationship. This included using image editing software to superimpose pictures of the students onto a cartoon video that depicted a sexual assault. This video concluded with an allegation the one sibling had raped the other. This video led to other students harassing the siblings at school over the allegations contained in the video. The mother of the two siblings reported the content to Twitter who refused to take it down as it was not in violation of policies.
This first video was reported to the police department. As it was being investigated, additional videos and images were found on the Twitter feed that were being used to “Roast” other students. These additional videos included one about a Wenatchee High School student who committed suicide being denied access into heaven and being sent to hell. A Snapchat account was also tied to the Twitter account in question.
As is common in these cases, there was no actual identifying information tied to the Twitter or Snapchat accounts. An Officer served a search warrant on Twitter for any account holder information. Twitter was unable to provide any name information but was able to provide a consistent Internet Protocol (IP) address used to access the account and an e-mail address. An additional search warrant was served on the internet service provider for that IP address and a physical address in Wenatchee was obtained.
Working with the School Resource Officer, Everett Anderson was developed as a suspect from the physical address associated with the IP address. Anderson was interviewed and ultimately arrested for the charges noted above. A search warrant was also served on Anderson’s residence to recover the devices used to create, post, and manage the content placed online.
Just in the last week, a warning was sent out to parents regarding the “Momo Challenge”, an online phenomenon that works children through a set of challenges up to and including suicide. This case demonstrates another kind of cyberbullying that is growing to epidemic levels in schools throughout the nation. Parents need to be aware of these online dangers and carefully monitor their children’s use of any devices capable of accessing the internet including smartphones, tablets, computers, and some media players. Roasting may seem harmless to some, but the consequences are very real and sometimes tragic. Cyberbullying can result in suicide or even homicidal violence.
The Department of Homeland Security has a resource page located at: https://www.dhs.gov/publication/stopthinkconnect-parent-and-educator-resources with a number of options. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children also has an excellent internet safety page at: https://www.netsmartz.org/internetsafety with additional information.
Press release provided by Wenatchee Police Department