In the most horrifying and bizarre story of relationship malfeasance we've heard in a long time, a man is charged with harassing his girlfriend under fake names and sending explicit pictures of her to her friends and family — all while they were still dating.
We try to take all Daily Mail stories with a grain of salt, but this one is too upsetting to ignore. According to the British tabloid, 22-year-old Ruth Jeffery began getting strange online messages several years ago. The senders pretended to be former classmates of hers and propositioned her. Says Jeffery,
It became more frequent. They were all saying very similar things. They were all saying, "I used to fancy you, Ruth. I think you are really good-looking and I want to meet up."
At the same time, someone was impersonating Jeffery, contacting men online and giving them explicit photos and personal information. One of the men even showed up at Jeffery's college. And photos of her began to pop up on adult websites. After confiding in him for years, Jeffery began to suspect boyfriend Shane Webber, because some of the people contacting her knew things only he could know. But when she confronted him, he accused one of his friends, who was arrested. Finally, someone hacked Jeffery's e-mail account and sent pictures of her to all her contacts, including her dad. Police were able to trace the hack back to Webber. He pled guilty to harassment charges and will be sentenced October 6.
There's clearly no excuse for this level of sustained emotional abuse, but Jeffery says,
He dropped out of school. He doesn't have any qualifications and it seemed like he wanted to stop me from getting a degree. Throughout the whole relationship, he was a bit controlling and possessive really. If I didn't go to see him the moment I had some free time, he would start complaining.
It's possible that Webber was jealous of Jeffery's academic success — his MySpace page does reveal that he dropped out of a number of institutions. But creating fake identities to torment and humiliate your girlfriend speaks to a level of derangement beyond mere jealousy. Hopefully he'll receive both punishment and psychiatric evaluation, so that when he's released, he never treats anyone this way again.