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Cyberbullying now a crime in Michigan, could mean jail time

By KVHA, 01/02/19, 5:00PM EST

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Richard Frescura, the MAHA V.P. of Appeals/Abuse and Safesport Coordinator asked associations to share this new legislation with our coaches, parents and families.   Please take a moment to read and have a conversation with your family. 

 

LANSING, Mich., (WPBN/WGTU) – Bullying someone online or through social media could now land you or your children behind bars.

Governor Rick Snyder has signed two bills that would make cyberbullying a crime.

Bullying someone online would be a misdemeanor and could mean 93 days in jail and a $500 fine.

A second offense would mean up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.

From there, a "pattern of harassing or intimidating behavior" or harassment that leads to serious injury, would lead to felony charges and up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

If cyberbullying leads to a victim’s death, that would land you ten years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

“The anonymity of the internet has given people a platform where they can say a lot of things and not face repercussions for them,” said Lt. Brian Gutowski with the Manistee County Sheriff’s Office. “This legislation allows us to have another tool that we can use to address the serious issues of cyberbullying.   These complaints come up all the time in northern Michigan and we see quite a bit of it.”

While the law is aimed to protect young children and teenagers, it also applies to adults as well.

This law will take effect in March.    For resources and to learn more please visit:

https://www.abc12.com/content/news/Gov-Synder-signs-cyber-bullying-law-goes-into-effect-March-2019-503630331.html

https://www.newsweek.com/cyberbullies-beware-its-now-crime-michigan-1274659

https://www.stopbullying.gov/laws/michigan/index.html