In F.K. v. S.C. [& M.D. v. S.C.], the SJC vacated the civil harassment prevention order against the defendant on the grounds that his posting of a threatening rap song on the internet constituted a single act of harassment, not three or more acts as required for issuance of an order under G.L. c.258E, §3(a).
The background was as follows. “The plaintiffs and the defendant were seniors at the same high school when the defendant created a rap song in which he improvised lyrics pertaining to the plaintiffs. Some of the lyrics referenced violence that the defendant stated that he wanted to inflict on M.D., whose name was mentioned in the song. Other lyrics described acts of sexual violence that the defendant stated he wanted to inflict on an unnamed woman; in context, F.K. understood that the lyrics referred to her. The defendant posted the song on a public Internet website [SoundCloud], and then posted a link to the song on a social media website [Snapchat],” thus “shar[ing] the song with at least six other high school classmates, who were members of the defendant’s Snapchat ‘friend’ network. He did not share the song directly with M.D. or F.K.” “On the same evening that the song was posted to Snapchat, a number of M.D.’s friends … informed him about the existence of the song.” M.D. then listened to the song, as did his father and F.K. “After receiving threats of physical violence from members of the high school hockey team (of which M.D. was a member), the defendant removed the song from the Internet approximately two hours after initially posting it.” Continue reading →