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Lubbock man sentenced for online harassment

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Updated: 10/05/2013 8:51 am
A Lubbock man is now serving time under a relatively new law that addresses a growing trend. 

Michael Todd Byerly, 39, was charged with online impersonation. As of 2009, it is a third-degree felony to create a fake Facebook or Craigslist account with the intent to harass or torment someone. 

Byerly admitted to creating a Craigslist account using his ex-wife's personal information. He photoshopped a picture of her onto a different body, and began reaching out to men under her name. 

"It was two or so text messages a week, and then it increased to up to eight to ten a week, which is significantly more," Prosecutor Robert Withers said. "At that point, she alerted LPD, and they began her investigation. In the meantime, she is trying to hide from this guy and hide from the source of these messages. Because, while she suspected it was her ex-husband, she didn't know for sure, and the personal nature of these messages scared her."

Byerly was sentenced to five years deferred adjudication, which includes community service, paying restitution, reporting to probation once a month, and surrendering his teaching license. 

He was also sentenced to shock jail time, which can last up to 180 days. 

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