Over the last five years, Kachadurian’s online attacks of Hopscotch's Armenian adoption program became increasingly threatening and disruptive. Hopscotch alleged that Kachadurian used multiple online identities to avoid detection, which ultimately prompted the agency and Sizemore to file suit in United States District Court (Eastern District of California - Fresno) in December of 2009.
“In international adoption, the agency’s reputation is everything,” said Sizemore. “For the sake of our applicants, adoptive families and partners, we are enormously relieved that the legal system recognizes and is willing to address the harm that can be created by such online harassment.”
Hopscotch and its counsel, Bennet Kelley, founder of the Internet Law Center and author of the highly recognized Cyber Report newsletter, believe lawmakers must consider updating current state defamation laws to cover the emergence of serial cyber defamers or, in Internet lingo, “trolls.”
In the meantime, Ms. Sizemore urges other organizations to guard against such potentially destructive attacks by applying a proactive online reputation management strategy, including search engine optimization and participation in communities across the Web that can speak out and link to truthful content. Though this lawsuit was favorably concluded, Sizemore insists Hopscotch will remain forever diligent and protective of its reputation, which is key to its ability to place children in lifelong, loving homes.
“The Internet is an invaluable way for individuals and organizations to communicate,” affirmed Sizemore. “But not everything posted on the Web is true, and it’s up to every one of us to ensure that reality and facts override extreme, baseless content.”
Hopscotch Adoptions, Inc. is a not for profit, international adoption agency authorized in New York and licensed in North Carolina as a child-placement agency. Hopscotch is dedicated to helping children in need of families, through humanitarian efforts and through adoption into permanent, loving homes. Hopscotch was accredited by the Council on Accreditation as a Hague Accredited agency in April 2008, and thus follows U.S. and Hague Convention policies and regulations regarding international adoption.
Hopscotch Adoptions, Inc.
1208 Eastchester Drive
High Point, NC 27265