Two recent cases highlight rising pattern of Internet harassment

August 6, 2010 By Steve Schmadeke

A Chicago man accused of posting a fake Craigslist ad that said his sister was giving away all her possessions is facing misdemeanor charges after bargain-hunters descended on the woman's Joliet home looking to cart away her belongings.

And a married Chicago computer consultant is being accused of posting nude photos of his California ex-girlfriend having intercourse on two websites along with the woman's number and the home addresses of her and her mother.

The unrelated incidents are the latest of a small but what seems to be growing number of cases in which people allegedly use the Internet to harass someone.

Paul Grachan, 37, has been charged with disorderly conduct for allegedly posting the fake ad last August, court records show. The post said the woman's home was going into foreclosure and she was giving away everything, said Joliet deputy police chief Mike Trafton.

Her phone immediately started ringing after the ad went up, Trafton said, and people began arriving at her house.

"This guy really made her life a living hell for awhile," Trafton said.

Grachan said in a phone interview that he had nothing to do with the ad and hasn't spoken with his sister, with whom he had a past feud, in about a year. A $3,000 warrant on the misdemeanor charges was issued by a Will County last week.

Also last week, federal authorities in Los Angeles charged Terry Chambliss of Chicago with two counts of harassment for allegedly stalking his ex-girlfriend online after she broke up with him in February.

Chambliss allegedly attempted to take over the woman's website, sent e-mails about her sexual history to her family and friends, and also allegedly threatened to hurt her, according to the complaint.

The woman discovered someone had created profiles of her on two adult sites after people began calling her and her mother and showing up at their homes seeking sex, according to the complaint. She told a federal agent that she had changed her cell phone number twice and thought of moving because she feared for her life, the complaint says.

An attorney for Chambliss, who is free on a $25,000 personal recognizance bond, said his client is being examined by a psychiatrist. James McGurk said Chambliss' wife had previously filed complaints against the California woman with Chicago police related to a "longstanding dispute."

Chambliss is required to appear for a court hearing in Los Angeles on Wednesday.

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