State of South Carolina v. Kinsley Williams
Jamie Anderson is a senior at Winston High School, a boarding school, in York County, South Carolina. Jamie Anderson and Casey Wallner are roommates in Bedford Hall, one of the co-ed upper class dorms on campus. Casey’s testimony generally corroborates Jamie’s testimony.
The school sponsors a chat room / message board for the students and faculty. The chat room discussions range from class discussions to social dialogs. Students signed up for the chat room during class registration. As a safety issue, each student must read and accept the chat room policies. One of the safety precautions is the use of a red panic button. The red panic button gives the user the opportunity to send a complaint or report a problem in the chat room to an administrator. All user information is kept anonymous -- only the screen names with log-in and log-off times are shown.
Jamie and the roommate began noticing postings to the chat discussion that referenced Jamie’s nickname “JAM” or “Jammin.” These messages got darker and more disturbing over time. Jamie began having trouble sleeping and leaving the dorm room. Jamie was so scared, Casey had to follow along for support. At times, Jamie would not go out at all.
Jamie went to the police after an anonymous e-mail on October 8, 2007, that read, “Don’t walk alone at night. That is me behind you. You could be sorry. You could be dead.” Detective Ashton Hopp responded to the case. The detective, along with computer personnel of the school, looked over the chat room files and the e-mail. During the investigation, Detective Hopp advised Jamie and Casey to continue using the chat room. The disturbing chats continued. Kinsley Williams was arrested for cyber stalking on October 16th.
Kinsley Williams admits to writing two of the implicated messages. Kinsley denies sending the other messages and, in fact, blames unnamed other individuals who might have used Kinsley’s chat accounts. Blain Albert, a computer sciences teacher, and Pat Clifford, the school’s webmaster, support Kinsley.