West Virginia Senate: Criminalize online bullying of minors

March 9, 2018

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Cyberbullying minors would become a crime in West Virginia, with penalties up to a $500 fine, a year in jail or both, under legislation passed unanimously on Friday by the state Senate.

The House of Delegates approved its version 94-1 in February.

The bill would outlaw using a computer or network to harass, bully or intimidate anyone under 18.

It would specifically prohibit posting or encouraging others to post “private, personal, or sexual information” about a minor or any obscene material in a real or doctored image.

Underage violators would be prosecuted as juveniles subject to findings of delinquency, unless prosecutors think their crimes belong in adult court.

It also would outlaw doing anything online that would create a minor’s reasonable fear of physical harm or property damage.

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