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Cyber abuse is alleged

Vecchia files complaint on Martinek

March 10, 2010
SOUTHBRIDGE — Local blogger Dennis Martinek is facing a criminal harassment charge, according to a summons obtained by the Southbridge Evening News.

Town Council Vice Chairman Albert D. Vecchia Jr. said Wednesday the complaint involves him, specifically that Martinek was pretending to be the councilor on the Internet.

"I notified police that Dennis Martinek was impersonating me on Twitter," Vecchia said. "I am a witness for the state and the case involves charges of criminal harassment. I have no other comment at this time."

Twitter is a Web site allowing users to send short messages to anybody who subscribes to a writer's account.

A hearing is scheduled for 8:45 a.m., Tuesday, March 23 at Dudley District Court, according to the summons, which was issued Tuesday, March 2.

Reached by telephone, Martinek referred all questions to his attorney, Herman Bayless, who did not return phone calls.

Southbridge Police Chief Daniel Charette declined to comment.

Martinek sits on the town's Charter Review Committee and ran for a seat on the Town Council last year. Vecchia's one-year term expires this year.

Documents obtained Wednesday reveal someone has been impersonating Vecchia on Twitter. The writer identifies himself as "Apple Vecchia," the councilor's nickname and lists Southbridge as his location.

The first message, sent out 11:41 a.m. Sunday, Feb. 7 referenced Vecchia and his dog.

"Sitting around with my only friend, my dog Smoochie. Updating my enemies list so that I can wreak havoc on them in 2010. Nixon rules," it reads.

Additional messages were sent out later, including one on Feb. 8.

"I'm so glad I put Dennis Martinek on my death wish list. He is a boil on my butt and won't leave me alone. Maybe Danny or Chris can help me?" the message reads.

See Friday's Southbridge Evening News for complete coverage of community news.

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