Lovefraud has written extensively about Phil Haberman and the efforts of his ex-wife to expose his military fraud and crimes. Last week, his ex-wife was charged with contempt of court by a Florida judge for refusing to take down her blog. A warrant was issued for her arrest.
Haberman had previously accused his ex-wife, of California, of domestic violence and cyberstalking because of her blog. On September 7, 2006, Judge Robert B. Bennett Jr., of the 12th Judicial Circuit for Sarasota County, Florida, ordered her to “remove or cause to be removed all blogs, e-mails or other web-based communications” about Haberman. The woman, believing her First Amendment rights were violated, has not complied with the order.
Haberman was first profiled in the media by the Dallas Observer on September 1, 2005. An article entitled, G.I. Jerk—Haberman claims he fought with Special Forces in Iraq, but he’s about as real as Rambo, cast doubt on Haberman’s story of military accomplishments and Iraq war injuries.
More web stories
Haberman was next profiled on Lovefraud.com. In a story posted in November, 2005, entitled Bogus Special Forces training, war injuries and marriage, Lovefraud published his ex-wife’s contention that Haberman married her simply to collect more money from the military.
Articles disputing Haberman’s military claims were also posted by the P.O.W. Network, which has been unmasking false military credentials since 1998, and by Greensickle.com and the Irritated Vet blogs, both written by military veterans.
Judge Bennett refused to admit evidence that the ex-wife’s allegations were true in the Sept. 7 hearing. His order, issued in Sarasota family court, demanded that all websites take down their information about Haberman. “I don’t know how you go about doing that, but that’s going to be required,” Bennett said during the hearing. Lovefraud.com published an extensive story about Bennett’s initial ruling.
Last week, Creative Loafing, an alternative weekly newspaper in Sarasota, published Shutdown: A bitter breakup leads to a controversial blog—and a challenge to the First Amendment. Legal experts cited in the Creative Loafing article said that Bennett’s ruling probably violated the First Amendment.
Warning other people
In my opinion, Haberman is a sociopath and his ex-wife is doing a public service by publishing information about his lies. At least one Florida woman may have been saved because of the exposure.
Here’s what happened: A few weeks before the judicial fiasco described above, Haberman apparently was working on a new target, telling her his story about being wounded in Iraq. (Yes, he’s still at it.) A friend of the woman asked a former Navy guy to verify Haberman’s claims. The Navy man found the ex-wife’s blog, checked out her claims, and located Haberman’s Key West arrest record.
Posting information on the Internet has worked in other cases as well. Brian Ellington, another True Lovefraud story, is still on the loose. But a guy who was letting Ellington stay with him, and an employer who recently hired Ellington, were smart enough to do web searches. After finding the information about Ellington, they both got rid of the guy.
Bill Strunk, who is also profiled in a True Lovefraud Story, apparently was working on a new victim—a widowed lady with money and property. She was directed to Lovefraud, and broke off the relationship due to his “bad reputation.”
Exposure is necessary
Authorities such as cops and judges do a terrible job of protecting people from sociopaths. Therefore, it’s up to us to protect ourselves. The only effective tool for doing it is information.
That’s what all these websites provide—information so people can get themselves out of the clutches of a predator before it’s too late. So besides all of the legal problems with Judge Bennett’s ruling—jurisdiction issues about the Internet, constitutional issues with free speech—this ruling, if it stands and becomes a legal precedent, may scare people into not posting information about con artists.
Cyberstalking, under Florida law, “means to engage in a course of conduct to communicate, or to cause to be communicated, words, images, or language by or through the use of electronic mail or electronic communication, directed at a specific person, causing substantial emotional distress to that person and serving no legitimate purpose.”
Yes, there are cases—some of then currently in court—in which people have posted lies on the Internet that damage the reputations of others. But when the truth is being published, and it warns the public about predators, this is a “legitimate purpose.” It seems to me that the actions against Haberman are legal under Florida law. His ex-wife should get a medal, not an arrest warrant.