It Could Happen to You Too.

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My Purpose

My Fight For Justice.  My Mission To Protect The Innocent.

“Imagine seeing a billboard sign on a busy freeway displaying pictures of your family, along with inaccurate and misleading information that could destroy your family's reputation.  Then imagine the thought of strangers having the freedom to add information to that billboard regardless of whether or not it's true or false. Now multiply that billboard by thousands, possibly even millions.  That’s what Social Media has the power to do in the digital age; only that billboard is a computer screen or a smart phone.  Now imagine having no power to remove this information since there are no laws in place to protect you.” 

“If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything.” Mark Twain

As humans, most of us have a keen and sometimes callous interest in them.  Some view them as a topic of gossip conversation starters, while others view them for informational or safety purposes.  They can be found most everywhere, either as a stand-alone publication in convenience stores, as an online version of a printed periodical, or as posted information on blogs and forums.  This easy accessible source of information I'm referring to is actually a serious obstruction called MUGSHOTS, which has adversely affected the lives of as many as 64 million Americans in our country according to the Legal Action Center - [email protected].  Now....for a brief moment, I want YOU to imagine being accused of and arrested for something you didn't do; an innocent act that was misinterpreted and magnified into something hideous.  Then imagine having your mugshot plastered all over the Internet in association with inaccurate and misleading information about you, thereby triggering gossip, slander, and online bullying by people who don't even know you.  Imagine becoming the main topic of facebook and other social media sites, which labels you "Guilty" before you've even had the opportunity to prove your innocence in a court of law, only to discover that there are no existing laws to protect you and very little you can do to protect your reputation.  Now, imagine how it can negatively affect your job and leadership status with highly respected organizations that you're involved in and support within the community.  I no longer have to imagine something this horrific, because that's what happened to my both my husband and son when they were both wrongfully accused of and arrested for a crime they didn't commit. 

 
What will be revealed in this website will be almost too hard to believe for some and should serve as a warning for every parent who has an adult child that has moved out of the family home.  As a parent, you never stop worrying about your children no matter what their age.  Even though they're no longer living under your roof, you still want to ensure they're in a safe environment, wherever that may be.  Now, think about the feeling of reassurance you would have as a parent if your child moved in with the family of a friend he'd known since he was 12 years old.  You would naturally assume that he was in good hands, right???  Typically, that assumption would ring true, but not in the case I'm about to share with you.  My family would learn under the worse circumstances imaginable that THIS WAS NO SAFE HAVEN, especially after those living arrangements were severed.  My son’s living arrangements with this family would ultimately lead to false accusations of unspeakable acts, a wrongful arrest, and the savage exploitation of our family's reputation on social media as well as the loss of my son's personal property that he was forced to leave behind when he moved out.  A warning to everyone....BE CAREFUL WHO YOU TRUST, and that also includes some members of law enforcement.

I was born into this world a "nobody," which means that I'm an average citizen of little or no importance to those in authority.  For someone in my powerless position, the best way to describe such a horrifying experience of being falsely accused is a feeling of having my head placed in a guillotine; only the blade doesn't drop quickly to end my suffering.  Instead, it dangles above me as a means of torture in not knowing when that blade will fall.  You patiently wait for help, but no one ever comes to your aid.  You long for deliverance and closure, but it never seems to come.  Since I have such an intense level of empathy and concern for the well being of others and the ability to sense another person's pain as if it were my own, try to imagine what it feels like to be tortured times THREE.  That's the intensity of the pain I've endured over this incident since I have also instinctively accepted both my husband and son's suffering as if it were my own.  Although I am grateful for this gift, it is often heart-wrenching since their pain affects me just as much, if not more. 

My husband presenting our son his Eagle Award at his Eagle ceremony in 2011.

Aside from his annual Christmas light project that most people in the community are familiar with, serving as a leader in The Boy Scouts of America is one of my husband's most cherished roles in life.  Sadly, what my husband and son have been falsely accused of has the power to destroy it all.  Think about what's important in your life at this moment and imagine how you would feel if you lost it all over false accusations and Internet gossip.


Some may believe that Internet gossip is harmless, but it has the power to destroy life as you now know it.  It destroys relationships.  It destroys self confidence.  It destroys reputations.  It destroys lives.  I want to help break the cycle and change that through this website.

My husband has been involved in The Boy Scouts of America since 2002 and makes every effort possible to get his Troop involved with projects that benefit the community.

Trust me.  Nobody wants to find out the way we did how defending one's reputation against slanderous comments can become one of the most strenuous and frustrating experiences a person can encounter.  What's even more distressing, as I discovered, is that no matter how much you beg and plead for help, it's extremely difficult to find anyone who is willing to help you, even from those who have the authority and power to offer help.  Our reputation is one of the most crucial resources we have, being far more valuable than tangible assets.  Most of us spend a lifetime striving to build a reputation based on integrity and morality, which is why we should ALWAYS nurture, protect, and defend it.  Unfortunately, in spite my family's efforts to live virtuous lives; we were forced to defend our reputation without warning.  It happened after my husband and I accompanied our adult son to the residence where he had previously lived to retrieve his personal belongings that had been withheld from him for 7 months.  What was expected to be an innocent visit and exchange with an individual he once considered as part of his surrogate family, quickly and unexpectedly turned into something horrendous.  Words cannot describe how terrifying it is to know that what my family encountered could easily happen to anyone.  What's even more terrifying is the feeling of helplessness to protect oneself from what has become the world's worst weapon of mass reputation assassination, and that's social media.  Being falsely accused by someone you once trusted is bad enough, but when those false accusations are shared with strangers on social media by a Government agency that should be protecting your family from harm, it provokes gossip to intensify at a rapid rate, which can quickly and easily escalate into online bullying.  When this happens, there are NO laws to protect you.

Everyone needs to face the reality that the Internet is dangerous and with the click of a Like or Share button, your life and credibility can be destroyed within seconds.  Innocent until proven guilty DOES NOT exist on the Internet.  After contacting numerous outlets specializing in online privacy protection for help, I was shocked and angered over some of the things that are permitted online that has the potential to do serious harm to another person's reputation, and it's perfectly legal since this behavior is protected under our First Amendment Rights to Freedom of Speech!  I am in favor of supporting and exercising our Constitutional Rights, but by doing so we are also required to act responsibly by respecting the rights of others, especially online, but not everyone exercises that respect toward others.  Since the Internet did not exist in the 1700's, where should we draw the line in the 21st century?  Our First Amendment Right is a privilege entrusted to us by our Founding Fathers and should always be used wisely and never abused.  As frightening as it may seem, the Constitution is slowing being chipped away and abolished through misuse and abuse.  There are documented cases where the right to Freedom of Speech was revoked in a court of law to prevent honest citizens from speaking out against Government corruption, yet the same right to Freedom of Speech is allowed to justify the actions of those who spread gossip and slander about others.  At the conclusion of this website, I will make you aware of one particular incident involving the Government and one of the worst cases of Constitutional Rights violations against an American citizen I've ever heard about. 

"The man who reads nothing at all is better educated than the man who reads nothing but newspapers."
Thomas Jefferson
Now replace the word "newspapers" with the word "social media."  It still has the same meaning in the 21st Century.

Social media makes it almost effortless to attack another human being and say things online one would never say to that person's face.  It also makes it easier to expose the pain of another human being, while at the same time, remaining anonymous.  Just because it’s legal, does that make it right?  An easy way to answer that question is to step into that person’s shoes.  What if the degrading gossip was about YOU or a member or YOUR family?  Would you still be a willing participant?  Of course you wouldn't!  Then why would we, as a society, condone this method of socialization by mistreating others?

 

Just like your family, my family’s reputation is priceless and I will stand up to ANYONE to defend it.  Therefore, by sharing this information with as many people as possible, my goal is to not only clear my family's good name, but to raise awareness for others to ensure that this doesn't happen to another family.  However, I'm not stopping there.  I have already collected information that I'm using in conjunction with my family’s traumatic experience, in which I am gradually presenting to our state lawmakers in an effort to enforce new Georgia laws, which I will discuss in more detail later.  For now, I ask only that you carefully read through the details of our agonizing encounter to better understand what has driven me to this point.  The events of my family's experience are solely based on my eyewitness accounts of what happened on the afternoon of July 26, 2014 and how it has affected our lives since that time.  By doing so, I will be expressing MY feelings, thoughts, and fears from this concurrence.  Nevertheless, it will be the truth as it has been from the beginning.  If others have a right to express their First Amendment Rights by spreading fabricated gossip about my family without repercussions, then I have the same right to express my First Amendment Rights by spreading the truth.  Since it is also important that I protect the privacy and reputation of all other parties involved, including my own family, I will not disclose any names other than my own, taking full ownership of every word published on this site.  As you absorb each word, I encourage you to imagine as well, having the ability to sense what others are feeling, thereby allowing yourself to be projected into our family's lives and tune into our feelings and emotions as if they were your own.  How would you feel if the tables were turned and this happened to YOUR family?  I ask that you please read with an open mind and without being judgmental, because it could easily happen to you too.

Family is what's important.


Me, with our youngest son in 2000

Hi, Sherry,

 

James told me about your conversation, and unfortunately, there isn't much that can be done about the******** pieces.  Like James told you, the ********'s article fall squarely under the protections afforded by the first amendment, and thus cannot be removed except at the discretion of the ******** itself.  You mentioned that some of the information has been reported incorrectly–if this is indeed the case, you can often contact the editor (or even the reporter) and ask for a correction.  Most news outlets are pretty responsive to such requests, but be warned, they do not have to be.  I'm so sorry that you and your family are going through this awful ordeal, and that there isn't an immediate solution to your issues.  Your options at this point are to contact the ******** and ask that incorrect information be corrected, and then to contact them again once the legal issues have been resolved and ask them to publish an update to the story.  I wish you the best of luck, and again, I'm so sorry I don't have a more satisfying solution for you.

 

Best,

Samantha

https://www.safeshepherd.com/

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