Anonymous members say they're monitoring Twitter for hateful comments about Tarpon Springs teen
9:38 PM, Apr 19, 2013
11:31 PM, Apr 19, 2013
TARPON SPRINGS, Fla. - Don't attack this young lady or else.
Members of the highly controversial anarchist group Anonymous say their message to Tarpon Springs teens commenting online about a reported rape is just that simple.
"All we are trying to do is deflect some of the hate and the anger toward this young lady," said a man who spoke to ABC Action News over the phone and claimed to be an Anonymous member monitoring Twitter.
According to police, a 17-year-old boy raped a 15-year-old girl at an alcohol fueled house party last weekend. The boy told police the sex was consensual but the girl said said she was too intoxicated to consent.
ABC Action News is not identifying the boy arrested because he has not been charged as an adult.
Shortly after she filed the report and the teen boy was arrested, it became a hot topic around Tarpon Springs High School then on social media. Then came hateful posts on Twitter. The accuser was also called names. Anonymous considers both of those actions to be victim shaming.
Meanwhile, support seemingly grows for the accused. Teens are posting pictures of shirts that say FREE (boy's name) and even created a similar hashtag.
"They are putting things out there they'd never want the general public to see," said the Anonymous member.
Friday afternoon, members of the group Tweeted the following message as a warning: "Anonymous is watching every Facebook status you post and Tweet you send."
"They're already documented. We have information from each one, Facebook, Twitter, home addresses, phone numbers, where they've been and GPS tags," the member explained. He added that some of the Tweets were tracked via GPS to certain parts of the high school and have time stamps that prove they were tweeted while school was in session.
Anonymous said they've been contacting the people leaving hateful comments and telling them the information they have gathered. They claim some deleted their tweets while others refused and 'when head to head with the group.'
"What it comes down to is what your doing online has real world repercussions," the member said.
The member said they will take online screen shots, their documentation and research to law enforcement, school officials and parents.
Anonymous said most parents don't know what their kids are up to online and are grateful to be contacted.
The group told ABC Action News it will go as far as it takes to stop this online hatred. And, this has held true in past high profile teen rape cases they've interjected themselves in to.
The group discovered and then leaked video of a teen's rape in Stuebenville, Ohio. They also posted names of the accused on social media resulting in two arrests and then two convictions.
They also take credit for the reopening of Rehtaeh Parsons sexual assault case. The Canadian teenager committed suicide following online bullying that apparently stemmed for her reporting that several teenagers raped her.
"We got involved in those cases because law enforcement wasn't doing their job," Anonymous said.
The member said the Tarpon Springs case is different because law enforcement did take swift action.