A history professor at the University of Idaho is suing a cyber sleuth for defamation after the would-be sleuth accused her of being involved in the campus murders last month.
TikTok personality Ashley Guillard has accused Associate Professor and History Department Chair Rebecca Scofield of carrying out the murders of four University students in Moscow, Idaho. The lawsuit, filed Wednesday, points to numerous videos posted on the platform that attempted to link the teacher to the murders.
“The statements made about Professor Scofield are false, plain and simple,” Scofield’s attorney, Wendy J. Olson, told PKB News Digital in a statement. “What’s even worse is that these misrepresentations create security issues for the professor and his family.”
“They also compound the trauma experienced by families of victims and undermine law enforcement efforts to find those responsible in order to provide answers to families and the public,” the statement continued. “Professor Scofield twice sent cease and desist letters to Ms. Guillard, but Ms. Guillard continued to make false statements, knowing that they are false.”
“Thus, this lawsuit has become necessary to protect Professor Scofield’s safety and reputation.”
Guillard posted a video responding to the lawsuit on Friday, saying, “I’m not stopping” and asking why Scofield needed three lawyers to prosecute her “if she’s so innocent.”
Kaylee Goncalves, Madison Mogen, Xana Kernodle and Ethan Chapin were stabbed to death in a three-story house between 3 a.m. and 4 a.m. on November 13. The victims were found on the second and third floors, while two roommates on the first floor slept during the attack, according to police.
Here’s the latest coverage on the brutal murders of four college friends:
The lawsuit alleges that Guillard began publishing on November 24 and directly blamed Scofield, stating that the professor “was involved in a relationship with one of the murdered students, KG [Kaylee Goncalves].”
“On or around November 28, 2022, Guillard posted six TikTok videos to her account in which she falsely stated that Professor Scofield, the head of the history department, was responsible for the deaths of the four students,” the lawsuit states. . “Two of the TikToks directly and incorrectly state that Professor Scofield ordered the execution of the four students. Three of the TikToks either falsely implied or directly stated that Professor Scofield had been involved in a relationship with one of the murdered students, KG”
Scofield started working at the university in 2016 and assumed the position of department chair in 2021, according to the Idaho Statesman. In the lawsuit, it is stated that Scofield was in Portland visiting friends at the time of the murders and had never taught or met any of the victims.
“She fears for her life and the lives of her family members,” the complaint reads. “She incurred costs, including the cost of installing a security system and security cameras in her home. She fears that Guillard’s misrepresentations could motivate someone to harm her or her family members.
Moscow police have yet to name a suspect and have had to spend time helping to control rampant rumors and theories that have been circulating due to the murders. The police even included a section in regular press releases titled “Rumor Control,” aimed at quelling rumors about the murders, victims, or potential perpetrators that spread online.
Officials warned that law enforcement officers are monitoring social media rumors and noted in a Dec. 9 press release that “[a]Anyone who engages in threats or harassment, whether in person, online or otherwise, should understand that they could be subject to criminal charges.