Arizona woman, Desiree Capuano has all but had her life ruined at the hands of her ex husband after the bitter partner turned to cyber bullying as a form of punishment after a court order gave sole custody of their son to the ex wife.
Using the sleight of hand of the internet, its nebulous functionality, and most importantly the fact that the web is essentially not policed and the wild west where anything and everything goes, Capuano has been forced to watch helplessly as her ex has methodically gone about harassing and tarnishing her reputation.
It wasn’t until March 2014 when Desiree Capuano first became aware of desireecapuano.com, a revenge site in which her ex, Patrick Fox (who in the past used to go by the name of Richard Riess) set up in which her personal details, private photos along with slanderous made up stories about her made the rounds.
Knowledge of the site’s existence only came after a fellow worker approached Capuano warning her not to run risqué images along with salacious admissions including revelations that she was purportedly a ‘child abuser, a white supremacist, a narcissist and just an all-around bad person.’
Alarmed, Desiree Capuano logged on, only to find to her horror a page which displayed her mugshot, a photo of her medical marijuana card, and pictures of intimate moments with her current boyfriend.
Outraged, Capuano sought to have the site’s host, godaddy take the site down, only to discover that once the site was down it was now being hosted by a new host until her ex decided to run his own private server in Canada.
Told the victim via the nydailynews: ‘He’s told everybody he will not stop, all of this will not make him stop,’
‘There’s no law to tell him he’s got to.’
Arizona authorities have told her there is nothing they could do about the site because it falls under free speech. So called free speech which is slanderous, libelous and motivated by a desire to maliciously perjure its victim.
Despite being able to get an order of protection, Capuano has yet to have been able to get the imposter page to come down.
Responded her current boyfriend, James Pendleton who is also featured on the hate page: ‘The laws just have not caught up, especially internationally,’
‘He’s obviously a very sick person and he’s transferring a lot of hate towards her, and it’s scary.
The blog which has been in existence since January 2014 is still being updated regularly by Capuano’s ex who pretends to be the woman.
Of note, before being blocked from contacting Capuano, Fox told his ex that his ultimate goal was to get her to commit suicide and was using the webpage to do it.
In previous incidents, the hateful ex-husband bragged that the page would be the first hit on Google any time someone searched her name, and would use search engine optimization with keywords like ‘meth-head‘ and ‘pothead’ to soil her reputation.
At one point, Fox even hacked into his ex’s LinkedIn account and sent the scandalous webpage to over 650 of her co-workers.
Capuano claims that Fox has time to do all this as a software developer, working on the website as a side project along with his actual job.
Conceded Fox via CBC: ‘I would devote the rest of my life, doing everything that I could, legally of course, to ruin her life and destroy her.’
The former couple’s feud began in 2002, over a custody battle for their son. Fox was deported to Canada in 2009 and spent two years in prison for perjury after lying and telling the court he was an American citizen, and has rarely seen his son since.
In email exchanges posted on the page, where the son is copied on, he’s threatened to hire a man to have sex with Capuano for the sole purpose of obtaining naked photos to post online.
He has also taken out Google Ads in her neighborhood so more people can see it.
When asked what might convince Fox to take down the vile page, he said:
‘When she is destitute and homeless and the existence of the website would become irrelevant, that might.’
Canadian prosecutors have in the past discussed charging Fox with criminal harassment but ultimately decided not to, in part because the exes live in different countries and thus Capuano couldn’t reasonably have an ‘objective fear’ for her personal safety. A state of mind that regulators might want to reconsider given the opaque and transcendental nature of the internet where everything and anything is up for grabs, especially in the hands of someone savvy enough to skirt ineffective privacy laws and with a mission to effectively make their target’s public profile a cesspool.
And then there was this observation courtesy of jezebel which caught my attention:
In the United States, there are federal laws against harassment and stalking that could theoretically be used to prosecute people making clear threats online. In practice, that doesn’t really happen.
The website is the top result for Capuano’s name.