Judge orders Web site to give up names

April 1, 2009 at 2:17 AM

SAN JOSE, Calif., April 1 (UPI) -- A Texas couple who say Internet posters made their lives "torture" after they were charged with rape are closer to stripping away their tormentors' anonymity.

A judge in California turned down a motion by Topix.com to quash a subpoena for identifying information on 178 anonymous posters, ABC News reported. The judge ordered the Web site to discuss with the plaintiff couple which documents are relevant to the case.

The ruling was issued Friday in Santa Clara County.

Mark and Rhonda Lesher of Clarksville, Texas, and a man who works on their ranch were acquitted of rape. But they say their legal vindication has not stopped the stream of anonymous posts on the Internet accusing them of even more serious crimes and their lives have been "torture."

In a lawsuit filed in February, the Leshers named the 178 user names responsible for the most scurrilous comments on Topix. They have been the subject of about 25,000 posts.

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