A Vancouver teacher whose ex-girlfriend has been spreading malicious lies about him online for the past two-and-a-half years says her nonstop harassment is killing his career prospects.
Lee David Clayworth, 35, was teaching at a high school in Malaysia in 2010 when he met Lee Ching Yan, now 29, online. He says a few weeks into the relationship she began acting aggressive, vindictive and controlling toward him, and when he broke up with her, she broke into his apartment.
“She stole my laptop, she stole my harddrive, my passports, my money, all my clothes,” he said. “My social insurance cards, driver’s licences, birth certificate. She even stole my teaching portfolio, which has 10 years [of records].”
A couple of weeks later Clayworth found out that Yan had hacked into his email and Facebook accounts and sent an email to all of his contacts — including coworkers, managers, and some of his students — posing as him and claiming in graphic detail to have had a sexual encounter with a 15-year-old student.
She also posted a nude photo of him to his Facebook page that she had snapped of him in the shower without his permission while they were on vacation.
About a month later Clayworth discovered Yan was posting hundreds of nasty comments about him on sites like filthyliar.com and datingpsychoes.com calling him a child molester, a pedophile, a pervert, gay, and a sex maniac. He said at that point deleting them turned into a full-time job.
“Some days I would find 100 posts in one day,” he said.
He successfully sued Yan for defamation and a Malaysian court ordered her to desist and pay the equivalent of $66,000 in damages. But her relentless cyberstalking continued.
Yan was later found guilty of contempt of court and sentenced to jail, but she skipped the country instead. Clayworth believes she is currently living in Australia.
He said he has been looking for teaching work in Vancouver since January without luck, and is worried the incessant online smear campaign is scaring off potential employers as soon as they search his name.
Vancouver Police Department spokesman Sgt. Randy Fincham said there is little the police can do to help in a case like Clayworth’s because it is extremely difficult and time consuming to get an international arrest warrant issued, even in cases that involve homicide or multimillion-dollar fraud.
“It’s a super complex investigation,” he said. “Is it doable? It certainly is. If this person has already contacted the police, I suggest that they contact the investigating officer and determined exactly where their case stands, and they need to provide that officer with the time to look at it and call them back.”
In the meantime, Clayworth says he is considering becoming an educational speaker about cyberbullying, since he knows exactly how it feels to be on the receiving end.
“Emotionally, it’s one of the most frustrating and draining things I’ve ever been though,” he said.
“This stuff is literally killing people… I know what it’s like to be in that corner, and I’m 35 years old. To be in that position as a teenager and to have to walk into your school every day — I mean, it was hard enough for me to go in there as a teacher, nevermind as a student.”