Kentucky Prosecutor Subpoenas Online Harassers of Covington Students

AP Photo/Bryan Woolston
AP Photo/Bryan Woolston

Kenton County Commonwealth’s Attorney Rob Sanders told the Fox News Channel on Wednesday evening that he is investigating online threats against Covington Catholic High School students in the wake of a viral video controversy with the school’s students and Native American activist Nathan Phillips during last Friday’s March for Life event in Washington, DC.

A partial transcript is as follows:

LAURA INGRAHAM: What kind of charges could realistically be filed, and against whom?

ROB SANDERS: We have a number of different charges in Kentucky that might apply. The one that jumps out the fastest is terroristic threating. Now, there’s three different degrees of terroristic threating in Kentucky, two of them are felonies. The most common one I’d think that might apply in this situation is terroristic threatening second degree. That’s anytime someone threatens death or violence against an educational institution in Kentucky or any student in the educational institution in connection with the school function. Now, that is a Class D felony. It’s one to five years in a state penitentiary. That could rise to five to ten years in a Class C felony if the person threatens that violence or death in connection to an educational institution init in the use of a device of mass destruction or weapon of mass destruction.

INGRAHAM: Mr. Sanders, this is happening on Twitter from different states, different locations. Does that hinder the prosecution? I mean, you don’t really need to interview these people, if they’re in different states, you’re going to have to get to them somehow.

SANDERS: It makes it much more difficult and much more complicated. Number one, there’s a number of misdemeanors that could apply in a lot of these cases, but we can’t reach across state lines and extradite for misdemeanors, which means we would have to wait for the person to come back to Kentucky or make a stop in Kentucky before we could ever arrest them. But, when it comes to the offenses that rise to the felony level, we can extradite. Now, it’s not as easy as arresting a Twitter handle. We can’t reach out and arrest someone who half the time they’re using a fake name, fake profile picture, that sort of thing. We have to go through a process of issuing subpoenas, search warrants.

INGRAHAM: Are you going to do this?

SANDERS: It’s already underway. I’ve had detectives in and out of my office all day today. We were starting with some comments, some threats that were made in state, because those are people we don’t even have to extradite, and we are moving on to the ones that are out of state. We’ve had the detective that works in my office [who has] already been busy issuing grand jury subpoenas and composing search warrants for detectives at other agencies.

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