A rarely used Nova Scotia cyberbullying law has helped the parents of a missing toddler close the case against the creators of a Facebook group that spread rumours and lies to its 17,000 members.
Three-year-old Dylan Ehler disappeared in May 2020 while playing in his grandmother's yard in Truro, N.S. After a six-day search, no trace of him was found other than his boots.
His parents, Jason Ehler and Ashley Brown, launched a court case under Nova Scotia's intimate images and cyber-protection act in February.
The legal battle between Jason Ehler and Ashley Brown and the administrators of the group ended last week when a settlement was reached in Nova Scotia Supreme Court against Tom Hurley, who also goes by the name Tom Hubley.
Court documents show the settlement prohibits Hurley from reopening a Facebook group on the matter, posting about the case, or communicating with Dylan's parents.
This is one of the first cases to be decided under act, which was enacted in 2018 after the death of Rehtaeh Parsons. Parsons died by suicide in 2013 after being subjected to years of cyberbullying.
Truro police have said investigators do not believe there was any foul play in the toddler's disappearance, but that did not stop online allegations against Dylan's parents from proliferating.
The Facebook group, called "Dylan Ehler Open for Discussions" or "Dylan Ehler Open for Suggestions," was created shortly after Dylan's disappearance and was administered by Hurley and April Diane Moulton.
Some people in the group, without evidence, accused Jason Ehler and Brown of negligence leading to Dylan's disappearance, orchestrating his disappearance, or even killing their own son.
The court action against Moulton ended in May when an order was signed in Nova Scotia Supreme Court to prohibit her from reopening the Facebook group or starting another one like it, or posting publicly about Dylan or his parents.
At the time, Hurley would not sign an agreement, so a court date was set for Aug. 3.
Hurley relented at the end of July and signed the deal, closing the case against both the group's creators.
Dylan's parents had requested damages from Moulton and Hubley for the grief caused by the online harassment, but as part of the settlement, the request was dismissed.
If you believe you are the victim of cyberbullying or that an intimate image of you was shared without your consent, contact CyberScan at 855-702-8324.
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