Facebook Lawsuit Has A Houston Connection
A father wants Facebook to cough up any information the company has on an anonymous user who exploited the social networking site to torment his psychologically unstable teenaged daughter, who was treated in Houston.
In a lawsuit, Fred Beuckman of St. Louis claims his 16-year-old daughter was receiving psychological out-patient treatment for a condition involving a obsessive relationship with a boy when she struck up a dialogue over Facebook with a "Jane Doe." Beuckman says that once Doe learned of his daughter’s mental problems, Doe created a persona on Facebook with the name of "Jennifer Litzinger" who claimed to be a rival for the boy’s affections.
The dad claims that Doe used the photo of a “well-endowed and attractive” model on her profile page so that his daughter, “an ordinary, attractive” girl, “would feel inferior to her purported rival.”
He says that Doe wrote to his daughter on Facebook the day before she was being released from her out-patient psychiatric program. Doe wrote to the 16-year-old that she “look[s] like a troll,” that she had a “worthless life” and that Doe and the boy “almost had sex!”
Soon after, Beuckman’s daughter’s mental condition worsened and she was hospitalized for four days in order to stabilize, followed by admission as a psychiatric in-patient at the prestigious Menninger Residential Clinic here in Houston.
Beuckman claims that Doe “made these statements for the sole purpose of causing” his daughter emotional distress. He is seeking more than $25,000 in medical costs and is asking the St. Louis County court to require Facebook to release any and all information the company has about Doe that might lead to identifying the person.
According to the Daily Bar News, this case rings of another one that made national headlines involving teenager Megan Meier, who suffered from depression and killed herself after receiving troubling messages from a boy on Facebook.
-- Chris Vogel
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Houston Press' biggest stories.