State Representative Marlene Anielski (R-Walton Hills) introduced a bill today that aims to address the issue of cyber-stalking and cyber-harassment.
The idea behind the legislation came from working with a resident of Broadview Heights, Lori Siwik. Siwik approached Representative Anielski hoping to change the Ohio Revised Code after she and her family fell victim to a cyber-harassment and cyber-stalking case in which an individual sought to stalk and defame her and her husband in several ways, including through the use of a website created specifically for that purpose.
“I am happy that this very important legislation has been introduced,” said Siwik. “It will help protect individuals and families by giving them a criminal recourse with law enforcement and the legal system that my family and I did not have when we were cyber-stalked and harassed.”
At the time, Siwik was advised by local law enforcement and the local prosecutor that, because of the way the law was written currently, there was nothing they could do about cyber-stalking. Representative Anielski’s cyber-stalking bill would assist local law enforcement by expanding the offenses of menacing by stalking and telecommunications harassment. It would also prohibit a person from knowingly causing another person to believe that an offender will cause physical harm or mental or emotional distress to the other person’s immediate family.
“This piece of legislation is a direct result of working with my constituents and understanding their concerns,” said Representative Anielski. “I am pleased to be able to carry this legislation in the House on behalf of Lori Siwik, and I am hopeful that the modification presented, if enacted, will bring help to those who may struggle with the unfortunate circumstances of cyber-stalking in the future.”
This legislation is supported by the Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys Association. It will soon be assigned to a House committee and undergo thorough consideration.