Miami

Professor sues TikToker who accused her in University of Idaho murders

A professor on the University of Idaho has filed a defamation lawsuit final week towards the web persona Ashley Guillard, who alleged to have solved the outstanding homicide circumstances and whose TikTok movies have repeatedly alleged that the varsity’s historical past division chair was concerned in the deadly stabbings of 4 college students final month.

Rebecca Scofield is an writer and assistant professor of historical past on the college specializing in gender, sexuality and the American West, amongst different matters, in keeping with her website. Last week, she filed the federal criticism in Idaho’s district court docket searching for a jury trial together with reimbursement for all relevant authorized charges, whereas accusing Guillard of spreading false narratives about Scofield’s connection to the deceased school college students and the unsolved quadruple homicide.

Kaylee Goncalves, 21, Madison Mogen, 21, Xana Kernodle, 20, and Ethan Chapin, 20, have been killed on the second and third flooring of the ladies’s rental house close to campus in Moscow, Idaho, in the course of the early hours of Nov. 13, as two surviving roommates apparently slept downstairs, officers on the Moscow Police Department have mentioned. Although the native police drive, in coordination with state and federal legislation enforcement businesses, have recognized and shared some particulars in regards to the occasions immediately previous the ugly crime, none of their publicized leads have confirmed substantive up to now. 

Without an recognized suspect or an arrest made, the continuing nationwide highlight on the mysterious murder case has given rise to widespread hypothesis, theories and rumors about how and why the murders occurred, in addition to who may be accountable. Most of the conjecture has emerged and spiraled on social media — one thing that, Scofield alleges, Guillard used for her personal benefit to the detriment of the professor and her popularity.

Four Dead University of Idaho
Two individuals place flowers at a rising memorial in entrance of a campus entrance signal for the University of Idaho, Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2022, in Moscow, Idaho.

Ted S. Warren / AP


“Defendant Ashley Guillard—a purported internet sleuth—decided to use the community’s pain for her online self-promotion,” the lawsuit states, noting that Guillard, whereas working the comparatively in style account @ashleyisinthebookoflife, “posted many videos on TikTok falsely stating that Plaintiff Rebecca Scofield (a professor at the University) participated in the murders because she was romantically involved with one of the victims.” 

Wendy Olson, one of the attorneys representing Scofield, known as Guillard’s claims about her consumer “false, plain and simple,” in a press release to CBS News on Tuesday.

“What’s even worse is that these untrue statements create safety issues for the Professor and her family,” the assertion continued. “They also further compound the trauma that the families of the victims are experiencing and undermine law enforcement efforts to find the people responsible in order to provide answers to the families and the public.  Professor Scofield twice sent cease and desist letters to Ms. Guillard, but Ms. Guillard has continued to make false statements, knowing they are false. Thus, this lawsuit became necessary to protect Professor Scofield’s safety and her reputation.”

A tarot card reader specializing in unsolved “mysteries,” per her TikTok description, Guillard has in the previous posted movies about different high-profile homicide circumstances, together with the killing of Migos rapper Takeoff lower than two weeks earlier than the killings in Idaho. She has recorded and posted greater than 40 statements that Scofield says are false linking her to the scholars’ murders in an intensive sequence of TikTok movies shared during the last 4 weeks, in keeping with the lawsuit. The lawsuit additionally alleges that Guillard continued to submit defamatory feedback about Scofield on-line after receiving two stop and desist letters from the professor.

Guillard’s movies in regards to the Idaho murders usually garner tens of hundreds of views from different social media customers on the platform, and so they have implicated Jack DuCoeur, the ex-boyfriend of Goncalves, who police say has been cleared as a possible suspect, in addition to Scofield.

A flyer seeking information on the murders of four students in Moscow, Idaho
A flyer asks the general public for info as police examine the stabbing deaths of 4 University of Idaho college students in Moscow, Idaho.

LINDSEY WASSON / REUTERS


“Guillard’s statements are false,” the lawsuit continues. “Professor Scofield did not participate in the murders, and she had never met any of the victims, let alone entered a romantic relationship with them. Guillard’s videos have been viewed millions of times, amplifying Guillard’s online persona at the expense of Professor Scofield’s reputation.”

Scofield and her husband have been out of city when the murders came about in Moscow, in keeping with the criticism, which notes that the couple was visiting associates in Portland, Oregon, that weekend. They spent the night time of Nov. 12 in a lodge there, and drove for roughly 5 hours from Portland again to Moscow the following day, “arriving after law enforcement officers had discovered the murders” following a police name from the surviving roommates and different associates that afternoon, the lawsuit says.

The criticism additionally addresses Guillard’s claims involving DuCoeur, who, she says in a number of movies, partnered with Scofield to plan or perform the killings. Scofield by no means taught Goncalves, Mogen, Kernodle, Chapin or Ducoeur in lessons since becoming a member of the workers on the University of Idaho in 2016, nor had she met any of the scholars in one other capability, in keeping with the lawsuit. It goes on to reference particular remarks in Guillard’s movies about Scofield at one time allegedly having a romantic relationship with one of the scholars who was killed, and denies each, calling them categorically false.

“Guillard’s false TikToks have damaged Professor Scofield’s reputation,” the lawsuit states. “They have caused her significant emotional distress. She fears for her life and for the lives of her family members. She has incurred costs, including costs to install a security system and security cameras at her residence. She fears that Guillard’s false statements may motivate someone to cause harm to her or her family members.”

Guillard responded to the lawsuit in a TikTok video posted on Friday, which has been seen almost 150,000 instances since then.

“I am actually gleaming with excitement,” she mentioned. “I’m going to immediately start planning because I cannot wait to present my ideas in court regarding Rebecca Scofield and her role in the murder of the four University of Idaho students.”

CBS News contacted TikTok for extra feedback however didn’t obtain a direct reply.

Back to top button