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Student charged with stealing Director of Schools’ identity on Twitter

By Meredith Machen, mmachen@wcyb.com
Published On: Jan 24 2013 05:05:14 PM CST
SCHOOL TWEET
BLOUNTVILLE, Tenn. -

A Blountville teenager is charged with stealing the identity of Sullivan County's Director of Schools, Jubal Yennie, after a Twitter account in Yennie's name gained hundreds of followers.

What might have started as a harmless, teenage joke quickly turned serious. Sullivan County Director of Schools Jubal Yennie said a fake Twitter account using his name and picture caught his attention.

"People would call me and say, 'I appreciate that. That was sort of a funny tweet you sent out.' And of course I said, 'I don't send tweets,'" Yennie told News 5.

Yennie said most of the tweets were relatively harmless, and some were relating to snow days. Nonetheless, he said he did not tweet them.

"The one that started all that was something to the effect of, 'Rain, or snow, or alien invasion, will school be dismissed tomorrow?' People thought that was quite funny, but I said, 'No I don't say things like that," Yennie added.

Investigators tracked the account to 18-year-old Sullivan Central High School student Ira Trey Quesenberry III.    

Detective Matt Price told us the tweeting started last week, but it didn't take long for people to start following. "It was started on January 17, and we got it closed on the 23rd; so six days, and it was already right at 300 followers," said Detective Price.

Quesenberry is charged with felony identity theft; something District Attorney Barry Staubus said most often deals with credit and debit card fraud but has a broad definition. "Someone assumed someone's identity without their consent and to use their identity for an unlawful purpose," Staubus explained.

Yennie said this type of impersonation goes beyond "kids just being kids;" as an educator, he hopes kids can take a lesson from this case. "The internet and all these tools we have are good, but use them appropriately," Yennie said.

Quesenberry was arraigned in court Thursday morning. We learned he was appointed an attorney and will be back in court in March.    

News 5 tried to contact Quesenberry for comment but got no response.