Like the young shepherd who battled the giant Goliath, Major David Ellis slayed Charles Rodrick in federal district court this week. It was Ellis’ second court victory against Rodrick, who is the owner and operator of a series of websites including three websites which identify more than 750,000 American citizens as registered sex offenders regardless of whether they are currently required to register or even dead.
Rodrick’s websites at one time required individuals to pay up to $500 to have their name, photo, home address and other personal information removed. In addition to preying upon registered citizens, Rodrick also preyed upon people like Ellis after they helped registered citizens. Specifically, Rodrick falsely stated that Ellis had committed felonies such as falsifying tests results on aerospace equipment.
Following a three-day trial this week, the jury decided in Ellis’ favor and granted him $325,000 for damage to his reputation and physical suffering. The jury’s verdict will serve as a foundation for a request for an injunction to be submitted this month to the judge. If granted, the injunction could permanently shut down Rodrick’s websites.
During the trial, Rodrick revealed that the information he posted on his websites about registered citizens was taken from another website, National Predator Database, without payment. He also revealed that he did not attempt to verify the information he took which he later found included individuals convicted of crimes such as robbery and murder.
Also during the trial, Rodrick revealed that he is currently under investigation by the FBI. In fact, the FBI has already served a search warrant upon Rodrick which resulted in the FBI’s confiscation of seven computers, several thumb drives and hundreds of documents.
This week’s trial was the culmination of a lawsuit filed more than three years ago during which more than 400 documents were filed. This week’s trial also followed an earlier lawsuit filed by Rodrick in state court which claimed that Ellis and others had harmed him after Rodrick’s name, photo, home address and other personal information were posted on a public website. The defendants in that case successfully filed a counterclaim against Rodrick in state court and were awarded more than $1 million in damages in September 2014, which have not yet been paid.
The question is: when will Rodrick learn the lesson that he cannot continue to post false and harmful information about others, including registered citizens, on the internet? The answer is: if he hasn’t learned that lesson yet, he could be facing a new lawsuit soon.