Earlier this week, the Ottawa Senators hockey team traded left winger Mike Hoffman to the San Jose Sharks, amid controversy involving the player’s fiance. According to news reports, Hoffman’s fiancé, Monika Caryk, has been cyberbullying the wife of Senators’ star defenseman, Erik Karlsson. In fact, Melinda Karlsson recently filed an order of protection against Caryk.
“Today’s trade showcases our determination to strengthen the future of the team by improving chemistry, leadership and character in the locker room and on the ice. We are confident it is a step in the right direction for the long-term success of this organization,” said Senators general manager Pierre Dorion.
According to the Ottawa Citizen, Caryk has been harassing Karlsson and her husband online since November 2017, even going so far as to make cruel comments about their baby who was stillborn earlier this year.
“Monika Caryk has uttered numerous statements wishing my unborn child dead,” said Melinda Karlsson in a sworn statement to the court. “She also uttered that she wished I was dead and that someone should ‘take out’ my husband’s legs to ‘end his career.’
“Monika Caryk has posted over 1,000 negative and derogatory statements about me as a professional.”
Is Cyberbullying Illegal?
If an action constitutes criminal harassment, it doesn’t matter if it takes place over the phone, in person, or online—criminal harassment is a crime. In addition, new cyber harassment statutes in some states may lead to more criminal charges. Nearly fifty percent of all states in the nation now include some type of “cyberbullying” legislation. Even so, most cases of cyberbullying remain a civil matter.
Following the death of their son, Erik Karlsson posted a picture of the baby’s footprints on Instagram. He thanked Senators’ fans and the city of Ottawa for their support, writing: “We feel very lucky to be Axel’s parents. Even though he was stillborn, we know we will hold him again one day under different circumstances and the joy he gave us will be with us forever.”
The post, which has received over 10,000 wishes of love and support, contained one cruel comment as well. A user with the name sandydandy45 posted: “I feel bad for the baby he didn’t have a chance with Melinda popping pain killer medication everyday.”
Hoffman Denies Any Wrongdoing
Mike Hoffman and his fiancé deny any involvement in that comment, or any other form of cyberbullying.
“There is a 150 percent chance that my fianceé Monika and I are not involved in any of the accusations that have been pursued (that are) coming our way. We totally understand there’s no place for cyberbullying. We’ve offered to cooperate and do anything it takes to find out who is doing this, and support (the Karlssons),” said Hoffman in a recent statement.
“Obviously this is a tough time that they’re going through, and we want to find out who is doing this, because for some reason it’s coming into our court, and it’s 150 percent that it’s not us. We have nothing to hide. We’re willing to cooperate in any way to solve this and figure it out, and prove that it wasn’t us.”