Real Name: Jayne Hitchcock
Date: January 1996
Details: Starting in January of 1996, Jayne Hitchcock and a group of fellow writers began posting notices on the Internet. The notices warned that a certain literary agency, aggressively soliciting business, might be a fraud. The agency denies any wrongdoing or unethical practices.
Jayne said that soon after issuing the warning, she began receiving a large amount of e-mails. The volume of e-mails was so large that it blew out the system. She claimed that the cyber harassment included an attempt to get her fired from her job at the University of Maryland by sending insulting letters in her name to co-workers and employers.
Jayne later received a call from a woman in California who told her that her name was in all of the "sex-related" news groups. She found the postings, which included her name, phone number, and home address. She received several phone calls from people who wanted to have sex with her. Due to the fact that her address was also posted, she began to fear for her personal safety.
Jayne contacted the police; however, they claimed that they couldn't do anything about it because they could not handle cyber-crimes. She decided to investigate the case on her own in an attempt to identify her harassers. Although she was unable to identify her assailants, she later filed a civil lawsuit against the agency, alleging harassment, libel, and infliction of intentional emotional distress.
Suspects: Jayne believes that the agency that she warned about was involved in the harassment. The agency, however, denies any involvement.
Extra Notes: This case first aired in the May 2, 1997 episode which focused on cyber-stalking. Also featured was Cynthia Armistead.
Results: Solved. In January of 2000, James Leonard and Ursula Sprachman were arrested on charges of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and perjury. The two were owners of the literary agency that allegedly harassed Jayne. Both pleaded guilty to the charges; Leonard was sentenced to eight months in prison and Sprachman was sentenced to three years of probation. They also settled their lawsuit with Jayne, although the results of the settlement were not disclosed.
Jayne continues to be involved in cyber crime prevention.
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- Cyberstalkers - the Jayne Hitchcock Story
- Jayne's Website