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Divorce Case Ends in Felony Charge for Snooping Husband

A Michigan man is facing felony computer misuse charges after he logged into his wife's email account and discovered she was cheating on him. The couple has since been granted a divorce, but the man is left to defend himself against accusations that he hacked into his wife's Gmail account.

The Rochester Hills man, 33, used a laptop he shared with his wife to log into her email account, in which he found emails that confirmed she was cheating on him with her second husband. The wife had been married twice before. The husband became concerned, as the second husband had been previously arrested for assaulting her in front of her son from her first marriage.

Amid growing concern regarding the child's welfare, the man decided to hand over the incriminating emails to the child's father, the woman's first husband. The first husband responded by immediately filing an emergency motion in order to obtain child custody.

After the wife found out the man had signed into her email account and shared her emails, she contacted authorities. The man was arrested in February of 2009 and will go to trial on February 7. He was charged under a law that is intended to prohibit individuals from stealing identities and trade secrets.

In an interview with the Free Press, the man defended his actions, saying he did what he had to do to protect the well-being of the woman's child. Meanwhile, Oakland Country Prosecutor Jessica Cooper called the man a "hacker," who skillfully obtained private information in a "contentious" manner.

Frederick Lane, an expert in electronic privacy, says 45 percent of divorce cases involve snooping, including the use of email, Facebook or other online sites, in order to gather information about the other spouse.

Source: CBS News "Man Charged in Reading Cheating Wife's Email," 27 December 2010

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