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has since withdrawn from the school.
(c) Reuter, June 21, 1995