Thursday, December 8, 2016

Fake News and Real Consequences

I can’t think of anything crueler than this.

A Florida woman who believes the Sandy Hook massacre of 26 children was a hoax was indicted for making death threats to a parent of the one of the victims killed in the shooting, the Department of Justice said in a statement Wednesday, in another example of fake news potentially leading to real violence.

Lucy Richards, 57, was indicted on four counts of transmitting threats in interstate commerce, the Department of Justice announced Wednesday. Each count carries a maximum of five years in prison.

Richards, of Tampa, Florida, was arrested Monday, the DOJ said.

Richards is accused of making a series of death threats to a parent of one of the children killed in the mass shooting on or around Jan. 10 of this year, according to the DOJ statement.

Richards’ arrest came just one week before the fourth anniversary of the Dec. 14, 2012 shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.

Authorities allege Richards sent the individual messages saying “you gonna die, death is coming to you real soon” and “LOOK BEHIND YOU IT IS DEATH,” according to the indictment.

The DOJ did not release the name of the parent, but said the individual lives in South Florida.

The father of the child has spoken up.

TAMPA — Lenny Pozner knew how cruel Internet trolls could be. That became clear to him after he lost his 6-year-old son, Noah, to the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary in 2012, only to have strangers spread conspiracy theories claiming no children died.

But the death threats in mid January were personal. They came by voice mail, spilling into his ear while his two young daughters were nearby.

He remembers feeling chills. He had to stop listening.

“It was hard knowing this darkness is out there,” he said.

Pozner’s initials appeared this week in a federal grand jury indictment charging a Tampa woman, 57-year-old Lucy Richards, with making death threats against him through the phone and Internet. Court records don’t identify Pozner, but he told the Tampa Bay Times he received the threats.

This is just the beginning.