October/November/December 1996 Events

Date

Incident

Tuesday, October 1, 1996 I'm not sure if he was arrested on September 30 or October 1, but October 1 is the date that Hillyard made bail. As a condition of bail he had to appear before a judge in magistrate's court and agree to a stay away order stating that he would have absolutely no contact with me physically or through any other means of communication.
Thursday, October 10, 1996 I met with Mr. Cooper at his office in Athens and gave him the information I had regarding Hillyard, his harassment of me and his criminal background. I learned that the application that adult volunteers fill out for the BSA asks "have you ever been arrested?" It seems Hillyard had lied on that application, as well. Mr. Cooper said that the BSA would do its own background check on Hillyard to verify the information I'd given them.
Wednesday, October 16, 1996 I got a phone message from Mr. Cooper of the BSA. He said he'd had a meeting with Hillyard and the leader of scout pack 590 and informed Hillyard, verbally and in writing, that he could not be in any way involved with the BSA and that he was not to claim any affiliation with them. As Hillyard's youngest sons are apparently members of that troop, Hillyard and his wife were to be permitted to drop the boys off at troop events and pick them up, and to be present at any awards ceremonies in which their sons were given awards. Other than that, they were forbidden to so much as attend any scouting meetings. Mr. Cooper called and thanked me for my help in removing a person who could potentially bring scandal to the BSA.
October 1996 As I hadn't heard from Dekalb County about what was happening on the case, I finally contacted them. And learned that apparently the assistant solicitor assigned to the case, Noah Pines, had been given the impression by Hillyard and his lawyer that I was indeed a prostitute, and that Hillyard and I had a business disagreement! He was quite ready to drop the case until I called and clarified matters.

I began the process of educating the prosecutor regarding the internet. He'd never so much as used email, and wasn't technical at all, so it wasn't exactly easy. I explained who had to be contacted for what records and provided names and addresses for various companies, using their InterNIC information. This was the first case of its kind in Georgia, so there was no established way of handling it. The solicitor's office is not up to date in its technology, and all of the people employed there seem to be incredibly overburdened, so they couldn't really take the time to educate themselves as much as is necessary to truly understand what, for instance, the headers of a newsgroup post mean.

Tuesday, October 22, 1996 I don't know if the Dallas Morning News article had stirred up interest in online harassment, or they were just on the crest of the wave, but a reporter from US News and World Report contacted the CyberAngels, and they put him in contact with me. I did another interview, again asking that no names be used. The reporter got some of the details wrong, but the story did appear on November 4, 1996. (If anyone has physical copies of any of these articles, I'd like to get a copy--thank you.
Tuesday, October 22 through Thursday, October 27, 1996 Dick Coward posted more prostitution ads through concentric.net's news servers claiming to be from "smathers@concentric.net" and using my married name, Cynthia Smathers. Concentric wasn't ever able to give me any information as to who posted that message, nor would they tell me if that was ever a valid email address. I do know, however, that Hillyard had an account with them and had made many posts to various newsgroups in the past as "hillyard@cris.com" (cris.com and concentric.net are the same company). I have never had an account with them.
Friday, November 29, 1996 Someone drew my attention to a web site for Cub Scout Pack 590 at http://www.geocities.com/RainForest/1282/index.htm. The page identified Rick Hillyard as the Cubmaster. It took some time for me to reach Tim Cooper of the BSA again, but when I did around December 18 he requested that I fax a copy of the web page to him, so he could give it to their lawyers if warranted. I faxed the page to him that day. That web page still exists in its original form as of August 1997, so the BSA obviously took little, if any, action, and may (as Hillyard claims) be tacitly permitting him to continue involvement as a volunteer despite his criminal history. I would advise all parents of Scouts to check into the background of any adult volunteers very carefully, as it seems that you cannot trust the BSA to take care of it, despite their claims to the contrary. To be fair, though, Mr. Cooper did say that he does not have internet access, and I do not know how internet-savy the BSA is. I still believe he or others in the BSA could have found a way to have that web page removed if it bothered them at all--I had volunteered to help them should they have internet-related concerns in this or any other matter.
Wednesday, December 4, 1996 The date on which Hillyard's arraignment for the stalking and harassing phone charges was originally scheduled. It was postponed to January.
Thursday, December 5, 1996 Dick Coward sent me email through hotmail.com claiming to be from "Bob Jones" (I don't know anyone by that name). It said "Hi Cynthia!Do you know about kashka(all men must die)?What do you think about that?-Bob" I found that email threatening in the context of the harassment I'd experienced since July. Unfortunately, hotmail.com provides free web-based email to anyone who signs up and does not gather any reliable information as to the identity of its users. Hotmail said they could do nothing when I complained to them about the email.

As an interesting aside, I finally found what the "Bob Jones" (as in Bob Jones University, maybe?) message might have been referring to, although it's pretty obvious that the sender didn't understand what he was reading. A woman whose online handle is "kashka" has a web site called "All Men Must Die!" at http://www.kfs.org/~kashka/ammd.html. The handle, as far as I can tell, has no tie-in with the concept, so it's no wonder I'd never run across it ("kashka" says she took her name from the title of a Kate Bush song, and that it's a Russian word meaning "little porridge."). It isn't a site I'd ever run across, and I certainly am not interested in having all men die (but then, neither is "kashka"). The site was mentioned in an article at HotWired this month, though. Small world, eh?

Friday, December 13, 1996 Dick Coward posted messages to atl.general using att.net's news feed using the name "Linda Davis" and the email address "inquiry@usa.net." That's another web-based email provider, one that Hillyard has used several times (pack590@usa.net, hillyard@usa.net). The poster implied that he or she was an attorney or private investigator, stated that he or she was "conducting an investigation on a Cynthia Smathers of Atlanta, GA for a trial and lawsuit" and was seeking "derogatory information concerning Cynthia Smathers." The poster also said "This person may retaliate if she knows your identity, so I would advise that you do not post messages publicly" and then "any negative information that is verifiable will be woth monetary compensation."

Others immediately replied publicly, pointing out that the post in itself, offering to pay anyone who claimed to have derogatory information, would have ruined any chance of winning a lawsuit. Other messages came through att.net, netcom.com and gnn.com (all places where Hillyard was known to have accounts)and through one of the anonymous remailers used to sent prior messages (basement.replay.com) claimed to be from people responding to the request for information--but all of them used Hillyard's writing style. Anyone who posted disagreeing with "Linda Davis" or Hillyard's "supporters" found that their messages were forge-cancelled from Netcom and ibm.net. I didn't respond until December 18 (I'd been busy having a life), and my messages were immediately forge-cancelled. I'd report them, they'd get cancelled again--it was quite a circus for most of the month. Eventually atl.general with forged reposts from me and other people, in an apparent attempt to get us branded net abusers. Netcom took their sweet time in responding, as usual--they've never had a good reputation about dealing with cretins on their system. Here are some of the messages from December--be warned that it is a very large file.

Wednesday, December 18, 1996 Hillyard erred and sent some of the forged reposts and cancellations using his new employer's news feed so that their domain, avs.com, appeared in the headers. I and others whose messages were canceled contacted Advanced Visual Systems, but if they took any action they didn't contact and of us about it. In any case, his error proved him responsible for the mesages posted to and forge-cancelled from atl.general.
Friday, December 20, 1996 Dick Coward posted a message through replay.com to atl.general asking about the custody status of my child. He then repeatedly reported that message through Netcom, forging my name in the headers.
Thursday, December 26, 1996 Dick Coward posted more messages, this time calling himself "100 Miseries" and using an organization line of "Justice for Male Chauvinists!" Those posts came from ibm.net. The handle was apparently an attempt to be mistaken for a MindSpring user who uses the handle "Keeper of Miseries" and who had disagreed with Hillyard publicly.

 

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Last updated 12/3/97