LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - The mother of a 16-year-old boy said she was only being a good mom when she locked him out of his Facebook account after reading he had driven home at 95 mph one night because he was mad at a girl. His response: a harassment complaint at the local courthouse.
"If I'm found guilty on this it is going to be open season" on parents, Denise New said Wednesday. New, of Arkadelphia, a small college town an hour southwest of Little Rock, said many of her son's postings didn't reflect well on him, so after he failed to log off the social networking site one day last month, she posted her own items on his account and changed his password to keep him from using it again. But her son claims what she posted wasn't true, and that she's damaging his reputation.
"The things he was posting in Facebook would make any decent parent's eyes pop out and his jaw drop," Denise New said. "He had been warned before about things he had been posting." Lane New, who lives with his grandmother, filed a complaint with prosecutors who approved a harassment charge March 26. Neither New would say Wednesday which items on his Facebook site the boy had found slanderous.
"I probably made maybe three, maybe four actual postings - the rest of it was a conversation between my son, me and his personal friends," Denise New said. In his handwritten complaint to prosecutors, Lane New asked that his mother have no contact with him and wrote, "Denise first hacked my Facebook and changed my password. She also changed the password to my e-mail so I could not change it. She posted things that involve slander and personal facts about my life."
Denise New acknowledged changing both passwords to keep her son from getting access to his Facebook page. She denied hacking into the account. "He left it logged in on my computer," she said. "It's not like I stole his laptop." Denise New said the boy had written on his Facebook page that he had gone to Hot Springs one night and drove 95 mph on the way home because he was upset with a girl.
Several other posts on his site also bothered her, but she refused to elaborate. She said he has since opened a new Facebook account. Prosecutor Todd Turner declined to comment because the boy is a minor. His office issued a statement later saying the woman's alleged statements about her son justified the harassment charge - though he would not describe the comments.
Denise New said Lane moved in with his grandmother about five years ago, after she went through a difficult divorce, was having mental health problems and didn't feel she could provide her son with the supervision he needed. She faces a hearing on the misdemeanor at the Clark County Courthouse on May 12.