A fake Twitter account for a Southeast Nebraska school's mascot has gone too far with its posts targeted at the superintendent, a newly filed lawsuit alleges.

The case, filed this week in Saline County District Court, pits the board of education for Friend Public Schools and the superintendent, David Kraus, against the unknown person behind the Friend Bulldog account, identified only as John Doe.

"The defendant’s statements on the fake Twitter account include scurrilous and false assertions of fact, which imputed to one or both of the plaintiffs the commission of criminal conduct including but not limited to public indecency, criminal embezzlement, corruption and misuse of public funds, and illegality of official acts," attorney Justin Knight wrote.

He said the posts constituted publication to the public at large and qualified as defamation and libel because they were framed as fact, not opinion or commentary.

A review of the account's posts suggests the owner is a teacher. Some posts support school sports teams and activities. But many since the account was started, in October 2017, zeroed in on Kraus. On Jan. 7, his face was cut and pasted over Jim Carrey's on the "Liar Liar" poster and the dog in the "This is fine" meme. On Sept. 28, a post compared Kraus to Hitler.

But in the lawsuit, Knight honed in on posts that made allegations of inappropriate behavior, stated as fact. He also alleged that the owner of the Twitter account committed copyright infringement by using the school district's logo without permission.

The lawsuit seeks damages to be determined by a jury.

As of Friday, the account hadn't posted since Jan. 16.

A message sent to the Twitter account seeking comment wasn't answered.

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Reach the writer at 402-473-7237 or lpilger@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LJSpilger.


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