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(c) Reuter, June 21, 1995

 Judge dismisses charges over internet rape fantasy
    DETROIT, June 21 (Reuter) - A federal judge Wednesday threw
 out charges against a former University of Michigan student who
 sent messages on the Internet describing his fantasy of raping
 and murdering a classmate.
    U.S. District Judge Avern Cohn said Jake Baker did not
 demonstrate any intent to carry out his brutal fantasy. In his
 decision, Cohn wrote that the message was ``only a rather savage
 and tasteless piece of fiction.''
    Baker, 21, was arrested in February after a University of
 Michigan alumnus read the message on the computer network and
 notified school officials. Baker, who identified the target of
 his fantasy by name, faced five counts of transmitting a threat
 to kidnap or injure via electronic mail, each punishable by up
 to five years in prison.
    Prosecutors alleged that his fantasy and later electronic
 mail messages to another man had evolved into a firm plan of
 action. They also alleged that Baker's later messages also
 described his desire to rape and murder young girls.
    But Baker's defence attorneys argued that his writings on
 the computer network had constituted free speech protected by
 the First Amendment.
    Baker was suspended by the university after the incident and
 has since withdrawn from the school.

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