Texas Judge Demands Identities of Online Flamers

Paul Lilly

An order by a Texas judge to release the identities of 178 anonymous posters for making inflammatory comments on news site Topix.com may have posters thinking twice in the future before hitting the 'submit' button. The order came after Mark and Rhonda Lesher filed a lawsuit against the anonymous posters for allegedly making "perverted, sick, vile, inhumane accusations" about them.

The online comments were the result of a criminal trial against the Leshers, who were being accused of sexually assaulting a former client in 2008. The Leshers were found not guilty, but that didn't stop the court of public opinion from berating the couple through the course of about 70 threads on Topix.com.

"It just basically made us both feel like common criminals," the Leshers told the Dallas Morning News . "It's like someone had basically raped us of our reputation and our standing in the community over and over and over again."

According to the complaint, comments made by the anonymous posters ran the gamut from insinuating Mark drugs women to calling Rhonda the "Herpies Queen." It was enough to convince the judge to order Topix.com to release the identities of 178 posters, for which the judge has issued a March 6 deadline.

Do you agree with the ruling? Hit the jump and post your (non-inflammatory) thoughts.

Image Credit: Flickr Joe Gratz

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