Police: Man Violated Court Order by Commenting On His Own Facebook Photo
By Vanessa Miller, Reporter
IOWA CITY, Iowa - A 27-year-old Iowa City man was arrested earlier this week after authorities said he violated a restraining order by commenting about “past good times” with the alleged victim on his own Facebook page.
An order prohibiting Derek Paul Stoneking from contacting the victim in this case – including communication through any means, like third persons – was issued on June 28, according to a criminal complaint.
On Tuesday, Stoneking admitted to commenting on old photos of himself and the victim on his own Facebook profile, according to the criminal complaint. Stoneking told officers that he didn’t realize the victim would be notified of his comments “because she is no longer ‘tagged’ in the photos,” according to the complaint.
Stoneking said he didn’t intend to contact the victim and said he “was just commenting on the past good times,” the complaint states.
In addition to last week’s no contact order, Stoneking was ordered not to have contact with the victim on June 19 as part of his bond conditions in a felony willful injury causing bodily injury case.
Police reported Stoneking was cooperative with officers during this week’s arrest even though he disagreed with the outcome. The victim is afraid of Stoneking, according to police.
Law enforcement officials in Eastern Iowa have said the Internet – and social media websites – are impacting the way they investigate and enforce crimes because the web, in some cases, is changing the way people commit crimes.
Because some laws have not been updated to reflect electronic communication, however, enforcement questions remain, officials said.
Johnson County District Attorney Janet Lyness said it might be difficult to prove a person violated a no contact order unless a judge specifically included electronic communication in the order.
“I have seen that in some orders, but I don’t think it’s very common,” Lyness said.
It’s also difficult to prove that just because someone posts something online they intended a victim to see it, according to Lyness.
“It would be hard to prove a violation of a no contact order that way,” she said. “It would have to be a specific post.”
Lyness said electronic communication is a growing concern among victims and prosecutors trying to enforce violations. She said victims do make reports claiming offenders are posting things or sending them messages via Facebook.
“It’s probably something that’s going to need to be addressed legislatively in the near future,” she said.
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