Facebook: Ripe For Revenge

Stephani Renae Lawson may not have been a genius, but she figured out something the cops didn’t. On the internet, nobody knows you’re a dog. Or in her case, not the object of her revenge, her ex-boyfriend, Tyler Parkervest. From the Washington Post (because the New York Times couldn’t find the room to print it):

His arrest must have come as a surprise. The first one, anyhow.

Police told him that he stalked his ex-girlfriend Stephani Lawson, 25.

They told him he violated a restraining order she had taken out against him. They told him he threatened to kill her.

They told him he did all this via Facebook.

What a horrible dude, the product of rape culture, the poster boy for all the evils of hegemonic masculinity. And he didn’t have a clue what the cops were talking about with good reason.

No Facebook “like” for you

From September to December 2015, Tyler Parkervest was arrested four times, all stemming from these claims, the Orange County Register reported. He was charged with multiple felonies, according to a news release from the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.

Which must have been confusing, given that Parkervest didn’t do any of it.

Then, it must have been frightening when his bail was raised to $200,000 last December and to pay it his grandparents had to offer their home in Irvine, Calif., as collateral.

What Lawson, 25, figured out was that she could manufacture a Facebook account in the name of her target, write terrible things to herself, and boom, ruin his life. And because the cops either couldn’t figure it out, didn’t care, were cowed at the prospect of questioning the accuser or adopted the “believe the woman” mentality no matter what, this went on for four arrests and four months, before anybody thought to question whether they had the wrong perp in custody.

Eventually, police discovered that the account didn’t belong to Parkervest, although it bore his likeness. Lawson had created it in a (mostly successful) attempt to frame her former boyfriend.

Police grew suspicious of Lawson in May, when she testified during a preliminary hearing about some of the messages Parkervest had supposedly sent to her — including one that made a particularly horrific claim.

A deputy district attorney, eventually, realized that something “doesn’t look right” (whatever that means) with the messages Lawson claimed Parkervest sent her, and they opened a secondary investigation into where the messages came from. Eventually, they obtained information from Facebook that the messages were sent by Lawson herself.

Finally, they received the records showing that Lawson wasn’t the victim. The threats had come from her devices.

She was the perpetrator.

“The T-Mobile records showed that Lawson disguised herself as Parkervest with a similar Facebook account,” Dawson said. “Lawson sent herself numerous criminal threats from the phony ‘Tyler Parker’ Facebook account and reported to law enforcement that Parkervest sent her the messages. Lawson had Parkervest arrested four times for crimes that he did not commit.”

Lawson was prosecuted and sentenced to “a year in jail after she ‘pleaded guilty to one felony count of false imprisonment by menace, violence, fraud, or deceit, and one felony count of perjury,’ according to a statement from the Orange County District Attorney.” It’s likely a far better sentence than would have been imposed on Parkervest for the crimes he didn’t commit.

Had Lawson been a bit shrewder in her handling of the scheme, there is an exceptionally good chance she would have gotten away with it, would have exacted her revenge on her ex-boyfriend with no one the wiser. All she really needed to do was pick up a burner phone so the messages couldn’t be traced back to her.

But then, why would she be concerned that the police or district attorney would even investigate the source of the threatening messages? After all, believe the woman. No woman would ever do anything so nefarious as create a phony account, send herself phony threats, make herself a phony victim and the target of her fury a phony criminal? That could never happen, right Mary Anne?

The trope being sold to the progressive media, and gobbled up by the pure-at-heart, is that women must be believed, never questioned, because of patriarchy. That police don’t prosecute males for their crimes against women, that the police don’t believe women, and dismiss their accusations out of hand.  This is why, they contend, women must be believed, must be protected.  More to the point, this is why, they contend, women are right even when they’re wrong.

For generations, we’ve known that police falsely accuse people of crimes to teach them a lesson, who’s boss. We’ve known that they beat, even kill, people, then mutter some magic words that allow them to go home for dinner, maybe even get a medal for their heroism. The argument in defense of the police was written in stone: why would a cop lie? It’s an incredibly good argument, but one that video has since revealed to be irrelevant. We may not know why, but we know with absolute certainty that it happens.

We’re now repeating the same failed logic, the same failed scrutiny of accusations when it comes to women. Between the false statistics of harms, combined with the false statistics of false accusations, we’re constructing a barrier that protects false accusations from scrutiny or challenge. In doing so, we’re subverting the few safeguards that protect the innocent from false accusations. Not that any woman gives a damn about a few innocent men being imprisoned for the sake of their cause of eradicating the patriarchy.

But the use of social media, in this case Facebook, demonstrates the ease with which technology can be manipulated to create and prove crimes that never happened. Fortunately for Parkervest, the girl he dated wasn’t too bright. If she was just a wee bit smarter, she might very well have pulled it off, and women would applaud her bravery for standing up to this horrible man. Maybe we would be reading her profile in Rolling Stone rather than her sentence in the WaPo.

15 thoughts on “Facebook: Ripe For Revenge

  1. Alurkalot

    What? No restraining order keeping her 500 yards from herself? No “no electronic devices access” for 20 years? What about the children?!?

    And only one guy won’t get you in Rolling Stone anymore. You need at least a houseful to have any juice.

  2. Austin Texas piñata

    At the risk of offending the internets; the first rule of policing is that no one tells you the truth unless they say, “I don’t want to answer.” You always dig deeper, from rookie school the 5 W’s (5W1H) of a basic report.

    In every police encounter as an officer you have to consider that and verify what you’ve been told. I suspect that the original investigating officers “were cowed at the prospect of questioning the accuser” who wants to stir the SJ fire ants needlessly. That’s a failure in the original investigation if they didn’t have the sources of the messages, headers and IP address information and had reviewed it. Either lasiness or trepidation. Not good original police work that really hurt the subject of the investigation needlessly.

      1. Troutwaxer

        There’s the first “first rule of policing” the second “first rule of policing” and the third “first rule of policing, then we get to the second rule of policing. There’s only one of those, but it changes with context.

  3. Michael Lockard

    Scott

    You don’t even need a burner phone. With IP masking software that is free, or using TOR, I get around all sorts of filters on local news media sites (where they get pissy about comments that disagree with their reporters) by having the software change my IP address so it bounces me all over the country. It makes it look like every time my IP changes and I change a screen name, , new comment identity.

    Yes, it’s their website, it’s a private business, and they can keep any comments they don’t agree with off their site. It is just the annoyance of a local news affiliate (NBC, ABC, CBS, etc) that allows “comments” they agree with to be posted by anyone who can make up cute screen names that will agree with them, and they do so not when you violate their “Terms of Service” They do so because you do not echo them.

  4. ebohlman

    BTW, the “particularly horrific claim” was that one of Tyler’s friends “had fun” raping Lawson’s daughter (who, given Lawson’s age, would likely be under 10).

    “Doesn’t look right” probably meant “hang on a moment. Pedophiles are almost always incredibly secretive about their activities (duh!); they don’t go around bragging about them to casual buddies.”

  5. Matthew S. Wideman

    I have tried 25+ Order of Protection hearings in Missouri. I have seen the use of the iPhone App “burner” used more than once to send fake threats. I have been lucky enough to try the cases in front of Judges who sustain my foundation objections or who are weary of a “to good to be true story”. I have crossed more than one cop on the witness stand (when they want to show up) about their police reports. I am always amazed at their suspension of disbelief when a woman comes to the police station crying. The minute the Police see tears, they stop checking facts….dates….times…..etc. I think they should double the criminal penalties and give the same civil penalties that may befall a man with a full order of protection against him. In Missouri, if a full order of protection has been ordered against you. One cannot have firearms, work with or be in close proximity with children, and is placed in a police database. Right now the penalty for attempting to ruin someones life is just too small

  6. B. McLeod

    What was most troubling about this was that the accounts I read said the prosecution figured this out, and but for that, the guy would almost certainly have been convicted of all four felonies. What was defense counsel doing? Did the defendant have counsel?

      1. B. McLeod

        Right. Your post agreed with the several other stories on that point. But it is troubling that the issue appears to have been missed from the defense side.

        1. SHG Post author

          When a defendant has no clue, it’s often hard, if not impossible, to obtain evidence. This is doubly so when the defense lacks big funds to do a blind investigation. And even then, they can’t obtain a search warrant to force disclosure.

          1. B. McLeod

            Even so, the prosecutors should have some burden on foundation. Which, you would think, should be hard to meet where the posts in the screen-grab in fact weren’t made on any account established by (or having anything to do with) the defendant. I don’t see how they can be so confident as their press comments indicate that they would have convicted him if they hadn’t figured it out. If that prognosis was valid, this is pretty freaking scary.

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