Rhode Island lawmaker says he won't take down fake Facebook page

Feb. 5, 2014 at 4:12 PM
share with facebook
share with twitter

PROVIDENCE, R.I., Feb. 5 (UPI) -- A mocking Facebook page that appears to belong to a Coventry, R.I., legislator is actually the work of another legislator from the same town, police said.

The fake web page that seems on the surface to belong to Democratic Rep. Scott Guthrie was traced to a Rhode Island statehouse computer after a complaint from Guthrie -- and ultimately to the office of Republican Sen. Nicholas Kettle, the (Providence) Journal reported Wednesday.

The page features caricatures of Guthrie as "Octo-Guthrie," an octopus with tentacles in several buckets, and comments suggesting Guthrie is "picking your pocket to feed his union buddies."

State Attorney General Peter Kilmartin's office concluded the creation of the fake Facebook page did not constitute cyber-harassment, and lead detective Kevin Harris wrote in a report, "I was informed that a majority of the posts were constitutionally protected activity."

A spokeswoman for Kilmartin said he will review the case. Guthrie said he may take his complaint to federal authorities.

Kettle was unapologetic, and said the Facebook page was an attempt to draw attention to Guthrie's sponsorship of legislation giving disputed taxing powers to the bankrupt Central Coventry Fire District.

"I am not going to apologize or complain about the rough and tumble politics that is Coventry," Kettle said. "We are dealing with a very divisive issue ... and I am trying to advocate for my constituents, the taxpayers (to show) who rep. Guthrie is and what he has done to them in the legislature."

The incident cost Chuck Newton, communications director of the House Minority Office, his job, after he confirmed he helped Kettle create the page in his statehouse office.

"I would be the first to admit, probably, a lapse in judgement on this thing," Newton said.

Related UPI Stories
Topics: Rhode Island
Trending Stories