Man can't stop ex from stalking him online after years
A Canadian teacher is at his wit's end because his ex-girlfriend from Malaysia continues to cyberstalk him and generally make his life miserable. Not even a court order has helped.
We believe in love around here. Equally, we believe that sometimes it goes wrong, through no fault of at least one of the parties concerned.
There is a certain downcast tinge, therefore, on hearing the story of Lee David Clayworth and the woman he left behind -- who didn't want to be left behind.
Clayworth is a Vancouver teacher. Or at least he'd like to be. But, he says, a relationship he had while in Malaysia in 2010 prevents him from even getting a job. His online footprint, you see, reveals all sorts of potentially off-putting (and untrue) material.
Clayworth's ex-girlfriend, 29-year-old Lee Ching Yan, is a Malyasian citizen who, he says, has relentlessly cyberstalked him ever since they broke up in 2010. They were dating for only a few months.
Clayworth told Canada's CBC News that sometimes he opens his computer in the morning and finds as many as 200 new postings about him or purporting to come from him. None is good news.
Some contain nude pictures of him, taken during the happier times with Yan. In one, his naked body is accompanied by the phrase "GENITAL HERPES."
At the core of the problem, Clayworth says, is that when they broke up, she stole his computer and hard drive and began to post messages purporting to be from him. Some of these expressed the notion that he had enjoyed sex with students who were underage.
How is he to get a job as a teacher now, when these messages still come up in a Google search?
It didn't stop there.
"I'm a child molester, a pedophile, I'm involved with my students," were just some of the accusations he described.
Of course he took legal action. He won his case in a Malaysian court, which, according to CBC, found Yan guilty of defamation. But Yan allegedly carried right on. The court then issued a warrant for her arrest for contempt, but she left Malaysia, went to an unknown destination, and continues with her online assault.
"The Internet is like a hunting ground, basically, where you can just throw up there anyone you want that you don't like and let the whole world just rain down on them," he told CBC.
He has tried to get the messages removed. But he says search engines want people to go to the specific sites where they were posted.
The sites often ignore him or don't comply. Indeed, CBC tried to contact Google, Yahoo, and Bing to see whether the sites would block searches for Clayworth's name. Only Google bothered replying, saying that it wasn't its problem but that of the specific sites.
The company kept repeating: "Google's search results are a reflection of the content and information that is available on the Web."
Worse, his court order is from Malaysia, rather than another jurisdiction that might seem more potent, so search engines seem less moved to pay attention.
"Everything that was digital and saved in my life -- whether it was in the hard drive or laptop -- is just at the disposal of this woman," Clayworth told CBC.
He believes Yan may now be in Australia. He has thought of changing his name.
But the only real hope he has is for Yan to meet someone else and just stop.
How much chance is there of that?
Clayworth, still unemployed, seems not to be optimistic.
"It will never stop. It will go on and on. It's been almost two and a half years now," he said.
There seems little worse than being tied to the end of the string of an ex-lover's fury.