Aaron Ochs is the author of “Defamers: How Fake News Terrorized a Community & Those Who Dared to Fight It,” a nonfiction uncovering the defamatory, deceptive and criminal practices of online tabloid CalCoastNews.
In August 2018, I noticed something peculiar. One of my friends brought to my attention strange comments allegedly posted by so-called local “activist” Kevin P. Rice. “Rice” wrote he was thankful every day his unspecified conviction went through a way before Megan’s Law passed. Megan’s Law is a United States law requiring law enforcement authorities to make information available to the public about registered sex offenders. The law was named after a seven-year-old who was raped and murdered by a sex offender. I was skeptical. No one would readily brag about being convicted for a sex offense. Given comments this “Rice” character made, I asked the question on my Facebook page, “Did he just admit to sexually assaulting a minor and sympathize with a rapist on SLO Tribune’s Facebook page?”
When I realized the account had no profile information filled out — except for a profile photo of his face — and saw the real Rice issue a denial, I answered, “No.” Rice had no conviction in his record. He was being impersonated.
Turned out I was right. On Sep. 3 this year, San Luis Obispo County District Attorney Dan Dow announced that felony charges would be filed against 36-year-old David William Platek for impersonating Rice on Facebook and publishing false statements intended to damage Rice’s reputation. Objectively speaking, yes, Rice was the victim of online impersonation and the comments were false. The wheels of justice slowly turn.
Then I was surprised to read on a certain “news” site that I may or may not be an accessory to the felony.
“He was intentionally trying to diminish my reputation,” Rice told CalCoastNews’ Karen Velie. Sounds about right. But then he added, “It was effective; Aaron Ochs posted on his page that I admitted to having sex with a minor.”
So… about that.
I know the word “no” might be hard for certain people to understand, so I elaborated further and…