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Spalla, Google delete graphic YouTube page

Cops might be searching for hackers

Posted: January 5, 2009 9:36 p.m.
Updated: January 6, 2009 4:55 a.m.

The bloody, pornographic pictures on Sean Spalla's page were gone, but the threatening words continued over the weekend.

Hackers posted comments on Spalla's page calling for the 17-year-old Valencia High School student to kill himself. Other comments were aimed at the special-education student's disability and a few were sexually related.

Hackers changed Spalla's password Dec. 12 and within a week they posted gory and pornographic pictures on the site along with the threatening comments.

"It's just getting worse," said Karee Spalla, Sean Spalla's mother.

The pictures were gone Monday, but hackers created a link that took visitors to another page with the same bloody and pornographic pictures, Karee Spalla said.

The Spallas spent more than three weeks sending e-mails to YouTube begging the company to delete the threatening page, Karee Spalla said.

"What is their problem? (YouTube technicians) are totally irresponsible," she said. "This has been going on since before Christmas."

YouTube is owned by Google. Google spokesman Scott Rubin declined to comment Monday on when technicians will take the site down.

With help from YouTube technicians, Sean Spalla deleted the Web site at about 6:30 p.m. Monday.

Still, crimes might have been committed and the Spallas hope law-enforcement officials can find the hackers.

The federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act prohibits an individual from intentionally accessing an online account without authorization.

"If anyone hacked this account, it is a matter for law enforcement," said Laura Eimiller, FBI spokesman. She declined to comment on whether the FBI is investigating the Spalla case.

Karee Spalla isn't sure who is picking on her son, but she has some ideas.

"It's got to be someone who knows Sean," she said.

The comments posted on Sean Spalla's page seem too personal for a stranger to post, she said.

California Assembly Bill 86 allows school districts to suspend and expel bullies.

Jeff Lasater, founder of Project 51, reached out to the Spallas Monday.

"I told (Sean) he has an ally here," Lasater said.

Lasater's son, Jeremiah Lasater, killed himself in a bathroom at Vasquez High School Oct. 20.

Bullying might have played a factor in the tragedy. Project 51 is a program designed to curb bullying and provide support for victims of bullying.

"YouTube can find out who it is that hacked the account," Lasater said. "We need to push this as far as we can push it."

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors put its support behind Project 51 and the Education Coordinating Council of Los Angeles is trying to implement the program in the Acton-Agua Dulce Unified School District.

There have been hurdles, Lasater said.

"I think law enforcement wants to do more, but they are handicapped," Lasater said. "The schools can do more, but I don't know if they want to. (School districts) don't want to face the issue."

William S. Hart Union School District Diversity Coordinator Greg Lee said the district will be proactive in preventing the cyber-bullying targeted at Sean Spalla from spilling onto campus.

"I will work with the administration at Valencia High to make sure they are aware of the incident and that we reach out to Sean once school starts on Monday," he said.

Sean Spalla isn't worried about bullying at school.

"This shouldn't affect me at school. This is being taken care of outside of school," he said.


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