Teen cyberstalking case dismissed over city’s lack of jurisdiction

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WENATCHEE — A conflict between state laws and Wenatchee ordinances means a former Wenatchee High School student can’t be prosecuted by the city for the crime of cyberstalking.

Last January, the city of Wenatchee pressed charges against Everett Scott Anderson, then 18, accusing him of bullying fellow Wenatchee High School students through Twitter and Snapchat. In Chelan County District Court, police and city attorneys alleged Anderson used the online accounts in 2018  to target and ridicule other students.

One Twitter post on the account “Wenatchee Exposed” included a manipulated video alleging two students had committed sexual misconduct. Another post joked about a Wenatchee teen who had recently died by suicide. Police said Anderson admitted to making the content, and later deleted it.

The charge of cyberstalking is a gross misdemeanor. But District Court Judge Kyle Mott dismissed the case last April, and on Wednesday Superior Court Judge Lesley Allan turned down an appeal brought by the city. Both judges said because the city of Wenatchee never adopted the state’s law on cyberstalking into its own ordinances, it had no jurisdiction to prosecute.

That doesn’t mean the case is at an end, though – if the Chelan County Prosecuting Attorney chooses, Anderson could still be charged with the state of Washington named as plaintiff.