> Like being named as a notorious troll?
#3. Michael Josef Basl
In March 2012, William Moreno was a student at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) when he received an e-mail that read: “Hello Mr. Misery, this is eesh. You do understand your drama on [Internet forum] Fairfax Underground will get you expelled from VCU, right? Talk to you later William Moreno.”
Although Moreno used the name “Mr. Misery” on Fairfax Underground, which has over 1.5 million users, he had never revealed his real name, his e-mail address, or his status as a VCU student. Moreno, who suffers from depression and a mild form of autism, admits that he made inappropriate comments about 9/11 and child molestation on the forum. In 2012, he was kicked off of Fairfax Underground for flooding the site with messages, but he simply used other names to make his posts. Shortly after he was banned, Moreno received the first message from eesh about VCU.
Then disturbing things started to happen to Moreno offline. For example, when his family was away, someone broke into their house in Sterling, Virginia, and flooded their basement. At 2:30 one morning in May 2014, Moreno’s parents received a call from the police, telling them to come out of their house quickly without their son. The couple did so safely, but officers with rifles tackled William Moreno when he emerged from the house.
He was a victim of “swatting,” in which someone makes a false notification to police to cause a SWAT team to respond. In this case, someone posed as Moreno while posting a message on Fairfax Underground that said: “I JUST SHOT MY PARENTS NOW I WILL KILL MY SISTER.”
By mid-2014, the constant attacks became too much for Moreno, who slashed his wrists with a kitchen knife before dinner one evening. Fortunately, he survived. But the trolling continued. Messages on the forum linked Moreno to crimes like planning to use pipe bombs, molesting his sister, and raping a VCU student. Some Google search results on his name suggested that he was a pedophile.
In January 2015, the Morenos filed a lawsuit against eesh and another unknown user. Eesh was identified as 34-year-old Michael Josef Basl, a military veteran who denied most of the lawsuit’s accusations. However, he admitted to writing the initial e-mail and putting a note on the windshield of Moreno’s car to stop him from visiting Fairfax Underground.