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17-year-old pleads guilty to swatting

British Columbian admits to 23 offences, harassment mostly aimed at young women who played League of Legends

A prolific swatter has admitted to a host of crimes, according to Tri-City News. The British Columbia news outlet is reporting that a local 17-year-old has pled guilty to 23 counts of extortion, public mischief, and criminal harassment.

During a sentencing hearing last week, the prosecutor in the case detailed the teen's harassment of young women who played League of Legends and their families. The teen would try to make contact with the women, and when rebuffed, would lash out at them. The harassment ran the gamut from ordering pizzas to be delivered to their homes to shutting down their internet access, posting personal information and credit card numbers online, and in multiple instances, calling in phony crisis situations to the police.

One woman in Arizona was subjected to a campaign of harassment that led to her dropping a semester at the University of Arizona in Tuscon. After she turned the teen down multiple times, he swatted her home twice in a week. In the second instance, her father and son were removed from the home at gunpoint. He continued harassing her in the months to come, posting her family's credit information and social insurance numbers online, signing her up for a $500-per-month phone service, and hacking into her school email and Twitter accounts.

The prosecutor described similar treatment for a number of other victims in British Columbia, Minnesota, Utah, Ohio, and California. This was not the teen's first time in court. In March he admitted to a bomb hoax that shut down Disneyland's Space Mountain ride last year. The teen was arrested late last year and has been in custody since. His sentencing hearing is scheduled to continue late next month.

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Latest comments (19)

Bret Mogilefsky Director, Developer Services and Support Group, Sony Computer Entertainment America2 years ago
Wow, what an animal.
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Hugo Trepanier Game Designer, Behaviour Interactive2 years ago
As a father of a young child, I can't help but wonder about what that boy has missed in his life that lead him there. We've all had some issues growing up as teenagers (rejections, disappointments, whatever) but this is taking it to an extreme. This is a very, very sad story.

It's also maddening to think that such a young person can wield so much power over others all by himself, anonymously... until caught.
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Diana Hsu Product Manager, Free-to-Play, Big Fish Games2 years ago
>>Have the victims given willingly sufficient information so he could digitally dig further through illegal means?

>>Has he obtained information like the current IP through LoL's client and then hacked his way?

Seriously? Why would any of this have anything to do with the choices this individual has made to stalk, harass, and put other people in life threatening danger?
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Show all comments (19)
Rashad Foux Character Artist, Hi-Rez Studios, Inc.2 years ago
@Eric:
"Did they flirted and shared personal information with a minor knowingly?"

Um. That's not how online interactions go outside of maybe chat roulette. What would make you think that some random woman playing League would start flirting with some random guy, and then send him her name, personal address, or any other identifying information to a total stranger?

The guy dedicated his life to harassing women who he felt didn't pay him the attention he so craved and felt he deserved. He's a sociopath with a system for getting into peoples lives from the regular amounts of seemingly innocuous information people reveal about themselves the world over through facebook, and twitter, and hundreds of other sites.

The only one responsible for his crimes is him. He made the choice on at least 23 different occasions to hunt someone down and mess with their life because he's a self centered meglomaniac, who thinks that women should obey him, and should be punished when they don't. It's the same kind of immature and toxic mentality and behavior Elliot Rodgers exhibited.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Rashad Foux on 22nd May 2015 6:04pm

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Marianne Monaghan Senior Producer, Hangar 13 Games2 years ago
I call troll. It's outrageous to suggest the women this boy targeted are responsible for being swatted and doxxed.
If Eric is not a troll, I feel despair over the state of our gaming community.
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Darren Adams Managing Director, ChaosTrend2 years ago
Well that escalated quickly.....
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Paul Jace Merchandiser 2 years ago
I don't care that he's a minor, they need to throw down a serious sentence on him. If they really plan on rehabilitating him then he needs to have no access to pc's or games such as LOL for a really long time. Plus think of the trauma he's caused those young women. Ten plus years of hard time would serve him well and make online communities a little bit safer for young women to continue enjoying their leisure time.
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Keldon Alleyne Developer, leader, writer, Avasopht Ltd2 years ago
Eric, maybe you're just an ENTP.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Keldon Alleyne on 23rd May 2015 12:19pm

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Eric, you are not the defence attorney for this guy and you have no knowledge of the details of these cases. Even so, suggesting that these women were in some way responsible for the crimes commited against them is the dictionary definition of victim-blaming and it's not acceptable behaviour. As several commenters have observed, what you are doing - no matter how much you try and step back from it with the pursuit of ~rational objectivity~ or volunteering personal anecdotes or whatever excuse you care to reach for - is in extremely poor taste.

Even if each of the women this guy contacted gave him her full name and address, her social security number, a notarised photograph of herself and her dog's surname, that does not put any responsibility on her for what he then chose to do. He commited these crimes, he has pled guilty to them, and you have no right to point an accusatory finger at the victims of those crimes. Suggesting that victims are at fault - a phenomenon that more often manifests when those victims are female - for the crimes commited against them is a huge contributor to the unwarranted guilt, stress and anxiety they are already feeling as a result of having their lives and their safety violated.

So I suggest you pipe down. Your long-winded philosophising on the behaviour of crime victims and your eagerness to defend their victimiser is not appreciated and it is not harmless.
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Charles Herold Wii Games Guide, about.com2 years ago
Eric, you complained that your responses were taken out of context because they quoted only your most horrific statements. First off, that's not really out of context. Out of context is if you take a statement and edit it so that the new statement does not reflect the full meaning. For example, if a film reviewer says, "this movie is a marvel of bad acting" and a poster quotes it as "this movie is a marvel," that is out of context.

You said:
Have the victims given willingly sufficient information so he could digitally dig further through illegal means? In which case the victims may have a bit of responsibility as well (also are some of the 23 victims above 18? Did they flirted and shared personal information with a minor knowingly?)
This is the context. The fact that you have other scenarios is irrelevant to what you are saying here, which is if the victims gave any information to this guy then they share responsibility for being attacked. And suggesting that they might have given this information while flirting suggests that this would somehow make them more culpable, which is a very unfortunate way of looking at things.

You seem to want people to quote your whole post and take it piece by piece, but that's silly. For example, let's say I posted as follows:

Eric Pallavicini made a remarkably disturbing and sexist post regarding a swatting case. I see a variety of possibilities. He could just be trolling. He could be a little naive and genuinely not understand how terrible his statement is. He could be a psychopath who engages in the same sort of behavior. He could be wishing to encourage a vigorous debate in which all possibilities are discussed. He could be the convicted 17-year-old pretending he was a third party. He could be a false identity created by an author about to release a book called "The Troll" as a publicity gimmick. He could suffer from multiple personality disorder and have one really terrible personality. He could be Dr. Jekyll in his Hyde form.

Now, you could, if you wanted, quote this entire collection of theories and take on each one in turn, but if you take a single one on, it's not out of context, because this is simply a bullet list of possibilities, none of which needs to be quoted within the context of any other. So if you find one particularly offensive, you can quote that one and say, "I am not Mr. Hyde, I am much more likable than that," and ignore all the others, and that is a perfectly legitimate response.
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Kieren Bloomfield Software Engineer, EA Sports2 years ago
When both sides are so badly behaved we just can't have have the discussion everyone says they want.
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Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 2 years ago
Oh, good gravy. It's SIMPLE. This loser did stuff NO ONE SHOULD DO, period. Commit the crime, do the time. And more likely than not get a nice psych evaluation and if needed, medication and continued therapy of some sort so he can hopefully adjust into some sort of "normal" behavior over time.

One problem with internet creeps like this is it's far too easy for them to continue their antics for months even if they're tracked down and someone wags a digital finger at them. They don't care or don't see themselves as doing anything but having "fun" at the expense of others. I have no clues as to how to stop this sort of crap. But that's not my area of expertise.
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Patrick Frost QA Project Monitor 2 years ago
I think it's still down to cultural and social norms for parts of the internet.

It's like real life in a lot of cases. There are places you go to that you know are safe: well lit / good security/ you know lots of people around you well / general populous are law abiding. In places like this you can let your guard down a bit but there are definitely places that are the internet equivalent of dark alleys or gang lands in terms of safety, privacy or harassment.

Personally, I see the solutions to be the same as the real world: policing and enforcement of the law in a way that shows effectiveness to act as both a deterrent and to make people feel more comfortable and safe, a certain amount of (unfortunately) surveillance and most importantly, a community that will to some extent police this themselves. I see so little of this on the internet but that is changing as the populace that uses it becomes increasingly mature however there is still a level of treatment of other people that is fundamentally acceptable that wouldn't be face to face or in real life. Even the comments above here are getting into that territory.

On another note, and please I'm not victim blaming, there is a certain level of naivety that increases the chances of bad situations happening on the net. You don't go walking down back alleys in the dead of night in a bad area on your own. I don't think it's unfair that we recognise that it's harder to judge those situations on the internet and people need to get better at that. My generation is going to have a real challenge to teach their kids the internet equivalent of Red Riding Hood.
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Justin Biddle Software Developer 2 years ago
In no way diminishing this guys responsibility (what he did is reprehensible) but how did law enforcement agencies not think to be more cautious the second time they swatted this poor person's house in one week. Not only would they have been aware from the first event that some idiot was manipulating law enforcement to harass them but knowing this it sounds like there were even more heavy handed the second time round.
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You don't go walking down back alleys in the dead of night in a bad area on your own.
Sorry, I see this argument a lot and it's ridiculous. Sometimes, you do have to walk through the bad side of town. At uni I used to work night shifts at a sandwich shop. I'd finish up at two or three in the morning and walk home, across town, often by myself because my colleagues lived in the other direction. To avoid the 'bad part of town'(most of it, to be honest) I would have had to walk in a route three times longer than the direct one, and because I was tired and just wanted to go home and sleep I took the direct route. I couldn't afford a taxi several nights a week(and besides, bad things also happen to young women alone in taxis late at night, as I am so often reminded), so I walked, fast, occasionally glancing over my shoulder at passing strangers.

The idea that if something had happened to me that I would be blamed for having made, in my situation, a sensible decision, rankles. You don't know these women, you don't know what they did or did not say or do to the criminal in question, and yet some blame must hover, in potentia, above their heads, because of your concept of 'naivety'.

'Common sense' says don't walk alone at night through bad parts of town. 'Common sense' to many people says don't wear a short skirt to a nightclub. 'Common sense' to a huge portion of the world says don't let women outside without a male chaperone. And if you flout any of these 'common sense' rules, if something bad happens to you then clever men on the Internet can shrug and sigh 'Well, if you're going to be naive...'

It's not 'common sense', it's victim-blaming. It's controlling the behaviour of people who have done nothing wrong. That's what it is. We can talk about changing the behaviour of criminals but blaming the behaviour of victims for crimes committed against them is the definition of victim-blaming. And I am really, really sick of seeing that kind of talk around here.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Jessica Hyland on 26th May 2015 11:19am

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Alfonso Sexto Lead Tester, Ubisoft Germany2 years ago
I'm sorry, But this sounds like the the "that woman was raped" and somebody asking "Really? How was she dressing? you should consider that too"
In that case I consider that (first) she was dressing however she felt like it, as it must be and (second) people must NOT rape other people. For this case, it's the exact same.
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Kenny Lynch Community Rep/Moderator 2 years ago
There is also a somewhat strange confusion shown in this discussion. While naivety can lead to unwelcome situations, etc., etc., this is more something that potential victims should take into account when making informed decisions. Parking near lighting, near the office building if working late, keeping to public places (no dark alleys) etc.,. Breaking any of these advices could leave you regretting it, and I think we all know that as it is the same for all of us, not just young girls in short skirts. We all make poor or unlucky decisions at times, and sometimes we pay for it and mostly we don't.

The confusion is that it says nothing about the guilt of the offender. A rapist is no less guilty if his victim was scantily dressed walking home in a bad area of town, than conservatively dressed in her own home. To move away from the emotive part of the argument, consider Eric's point about potential leak of info from Riot about these victims in question. If Riot were criminally negligent about security of personal data, that would be a separate issue - this young man should not get a more lenient sentence as his guilt would not be shared with Riot, they would simply be guilty of something else.

It can dumb to take a lift from a stranger, but that does not mean that if he kills you for kicks that he is any less at fault, and that is the conclusion that many here are explicitly making. The possible stupidity, naivety, or inappropriate behaviour of the victims is simply irrelevant when discussing the offender's crimes and punishment. To crowbar it in, particularly as baseless speculation, as "mitigating circumstances" shows such a warped understanding of the situation it makes me want to sit down and cry about the state of the world today.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Kenny Lynch on 26th May 2015 6:27pm

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Kenny Lynch Community Rep/Moderator 2 years ago
I think it is a question of context.

If my daughter took a short cut through an unlit area because she was late, I would be pissed. My son too, for that matter.

However this is not the context here - this context is where she has been assaulted while taking said short-cut. This is not an article about online behaviour of the innocent, but about the punishment for the behaviour of the guilty. If your daughter was assaulted by someone while doing something needlessly risky, would you approach the offender and say, "She was asking for it, really she is as much to blame for it as you are." I'm guessing you would not say that.

No one is saying that people shouldn't be as safe as they can; though within reason. Fear of mugging should not keep you indoors at all times. The point is that while hypothetically any given victim is a victim because of their behaviour as opposed to someone else being a victim, it says nothing about the offender. This young man in question is clearly someone that has sought actively to harass people, and waste law enforcement resources and put everyone involved lives at risk.

Which draconian measures are you referring to? The simple suggestion that cyber crime should be taken seriously? Are you talking about this case, or in general, where poor young men are being victimised by feminist bullies for having penises?

People need to be responsible with their own safety. And those who violate that safely should be punished fr the sake of justice and as a deterrent. Simply curtailing young women's online activities so that only the 'bad' girls are targeted by this type of offence does not seem to me to solve the root problem. I would say a clear message needs to be sent to the world as to the judiciary's attitude to this type of behaviour.

As I say this article is about a self-confessed criminal, not young people who play LoL. To make that the real issue, absolves the offender of blame, and focusses on blaming the victims for being victims, not on any naivety shown by many.
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Craig Page El Presidente, Awesome Enterprises2 years ago
He could have gotten their addresses by hacking their LOL account, and reading their billing info. Or by getting their email from LOL support (I forgot my password, where will the new one be sent?). Then using that to find them on Facebook, and then tricking an elderly relative into giving the address.
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