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Ex-employee sues university after computer crime charges dropped

Almost everyone has access to a computer nowadays whether it is at home or at work. There are times when a person may need to bring their work computer home to finish some tasks that cannot be completed on their personal computer. Although this is viewed as a typical and innocent action, his or her employer may view it negatively.

For instance, a former board secretary filed a lawsuit against Clemson University in South Carolina months after the court dismissed the computer crime lawsuit with which the university charged him. The university and its former employee have been in a series of court battles; however, this time, he is demanding that the university pay damages and legal fees for what he terms the "malicious" computer crime charges.

In 2010, he was charged with computer crimes after allegedly taking home a computer and some documents owned by the university when he left the office. Reportedly, he destroyed or removed some information stored on his laptop using the university's computer network. In 2012, a court solicitor dropped the charges although there was enough presumably ehough evidence for an indictment. After the death of one of the witnesses and subsequent investigations, the court found no substantial proof that a crime had been committed.

Computer crimes, such as Internet crimes, are serious charges, which can potentially affect a person financially and emotionally. Because criminal cases are accessible to the public, a criminal case can badly damage a person's personal and professional reputation.

When a person is accused of a crime, it can be difficult to find employment and earn people's confidence. Additionally, once convicted of a computer crime, a person may be subjected to a long prison sentence and substantial fines.

Computer crimes can be difficult to defend in court because they can be very technical. It is difficult to prove whether the sensitive information in a computer has been accessed, compromised or used illegally. However, just as in any other prosecution, a well-thought-out defense can provide the best possible outcome. Further investigation could help reduce or drop the charges against them. Understanding defense options could help preserve the rights and interests of the defendant.

Source: Greenville Online, "Ex-Clemson Board Secretary Sues University," Tim Smith, Dec. 11, 2013

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