Archdiocese of Indianapolis sues Facebook over fake profile of high school dean

Archdiocese of Indianapolis sues Facebook over fake profile of high school dean


The Archdiocese of Indianapolis is suing Facebook because of an archdiocesan school administrator’s allegation that his identity has been stolen on the popular social networking site.

According to Channel 13 WTHR, Tim Puntarelli, dean of students and assistant football coach at Roncalli High School, has claimed that someone has created a Facebook page using his name without his knowledge or consent.  He says he became aware of the profile last month.

The lawsuit alleges identity deception, stalking, and harassment after someone used Puntarelli’s name and information to set up an account and to send electronic messages to students in his name.

According to court documents obtained by WTHR, postings included invitations to dozens of students to become Puntarelli’s Facebook friends, a message to a student suggesting the dean may take disciplinary action against him, and other pictures and messages deemed inappropriate.

Facebook had refused to provide to school administrators the identity of the person who created the fake Facebook profile.  The company said it must receive a valid subpoena or court order, and could be unable to provide the information because of technical constraints.

The archdiocese filed for and was granted an emergency restraining order after the social networking site refused to identify the user who created the page.  After a request from the school, Facebook eventually removed the web page.  A judge has ordered the web site to provide any identifying information about the impersonator.

"The archdiocese hopes to resolve the issue as quickly as possible in order to restore damage done to Mr. Puntarelli's reputation and to prevent this type of identity theft from happening again," the archdiocese said in a statement.

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