If there is one thing U.S. citizens can expect in their own homes, it is the lawfully protected right and privilege of privacy. Unfortunately, that was not the case for a Wharton couple whose privacy was allegedly invaded in what many might consider an appalling way; in their bedroom during an act of intimacy.

The invasion, however, did not go unnoticed. Jarred P. Scheidecker, 21, a Jefferson resident was charged with a third-degree offense after he allegedly posted a recording of the couple to his Twitter account. According to court records, although an acquaintance of the couple, Scheidecker was ordered to leave the premises prior to the couple’s liaison.

Scheidecker allegedly not only posted the video clip – which he took with a smart phone – to Twitter, he also sent a link to the woman’s mother and sister, according to criminal complaints.

A person who saw the video on Twitter, saved screenshots and contacted police, court records show.

Much has been written about the use of social media for bullying and for nefarious acts, such as the one alleged. It’s an issue that is now becoming more local, challenging authorities and organizations to put new emphasis on the inherent dangers of internet “shaming.”

Just last year, a 12-year-old student in neighboring Rockaway, took her own life because of what friends and parents said was a tragic result of bullying on social media.

And in a case that bears some similarity to allegations against Scheidecker – and one that received national attention – a promising Rutgers student took his life after his acts of intimacy with another were recorded by an elaborate webcam setup by his own roommate. The recordings became public and the shaming led to his own self destruction.

Jefferson Township authorities, school groups and concerned organizations  launched efforts early on to educate and combat the wave of social media shaming, especially among children and young adults.

For one, Jefferson is a declared “Stigma Free” township, meaning people with disabilities – including mental illness and drug addiction – are to be embraced respectfully and with care, rather than shunned and stigmatized. Outreach programs supported by local government, the township’s police department, faith-based organizations, and community and school organizations attempt to nurture positive decision making and choices. Ongoing projects like JT Connect, CARES, D.A.R.E., Project Kind and the newly initiated Coffee With a Cop are all geared to respond to current community issues and difficulties.

“We can’t arrest our way out of problems,” a township officer recently told The Jefferson Chronicle. “We are trained to help,” he added, with emphasis on the word, help, emphasizing the importance of community involvement.

Meanwhile, in the case of Scheidecker, however, there was an arrest. He has been charged with three counts of invasion of privacy and one count of burglary connected with the tweet.

The lesson here? For those who choose to ride the wave of shaming and bullying, there are consequences. Bad choices result in bad results.

All charges against Scheidecker are third-degree offenses, punishable upon conviction by up to five years each in prison.

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Maria Weiskott is a Jefferson Township resident and a forty year veteran of the publishing profession. An award-winning journalist and editor, she served in top managerial positions at numerous business-to- business newspapers and magazines including Reed Elsevier and Fairchild Publications. Early in her career she operated a local newspaper in the Passaic Valley towns of Little Falls, Totowa and the former West Paterson. Following retirement, she launched a “ghostblogging” service that provides social networking update and blogging services for small and medium sized businesses. Maria travels widely with her husband and is a passionate photographer. She can be reached at maria.weiskott@thejeffersonchronicle.com.

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