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Social media adding stress to St. John's process server’s work

A Facebook post from a man accusing a process server of assault promoted several negative comments, including these.
A Facebook post from a man accusing a process server of assault promoted several negative comments, including these. - Submitted

In his two decades serving court documents, he’s been cursed at countless times, assaulted and chased.

“I’ve seen a lot,” he said. “None of it’s bothered me.”

But the St. John’s process server — who did an interview with The Telegram but doesn’t want to be identified for fear of retaliation from some members of the public — has never before been so disturbed about doing his job as he has been recently.

It’s all due to a Facebook post, which he said is spreading false accusations that he assaulted a woman.

Last week, he said he had tried to serve court documents issued from a law firm to a woman outside her workplace, but, the woman — who was being sued by a former boyfriend for money owed — tried to avoid him.

“When someone says something about someone, people (on social media) jump on the wagon, even when it’s an untruth … People are brave on social media. They would say things on Facebook that they’d never say to your face.”
— Process server

He said he had tried to serve her several times before, both at her workplace and at her home, but to no avail.

“I’m persistent and I finally got her this time,” said the 66-year-old, who serves documents such as subpoenas, statements of claim and divorce papers, and also carries out repossessions.

He said the woman, who was in the passenger side of a car, got out, but quickly got back in when she saw him walking towards the car. He said the woman’s mother, who was driving, got out and attempted to intervene.

“She was cursing something shocking. ... She stuck her finger right in my face and told me to go away,” said the man, who said the woman accused him of harassment.

“I told her I’ll go anywhere the law allows me to go. … They knew I was looking for her.”

He said when the mother turned to talk to her daughter, he quickly threw the papers into the car window and announced she had been served. He said he never had any physical contact with either of them.

The man then got in his sports car and drove off.

A few days later, a client informed him about Facebook posts about the recent encounter with the women.

A man who said he was the younger woman’s father had posted on his Facebook page that the server had pushed his daughter’s mother. There was no mention the man had been trying to serve court documents, but the post did include photos of his sports car driving away.

“I’m pretty sure I know who owns the car,” read the last sentence of father’s post, which the process server had photocopied.

The post fuelled a flurry of disturbing comments.

“In the woods with him son. F--- the rules you have your own rules,” one person replied.

Another said, “Take a sledge hammer and give it eight to the hood of his (car)…”

“Crush his f---ing skull,” another wrote.

But the most concerning to him was the post that read, “Remember, in cases where they can’t find the body, there’s only a 3% conviction rate.”

The man said things can quickly get out of hand on social media, where people easily jump to conclusions and feel freer to express negative, and often abusive, comments.

“When someone says something about someone, people (on social media) jump on the wagon, even when it’s an untruth …,” he said. “People are brave on social media. They would say things on Facebook that they’d never say to your face.”

The comments were so disturbing, it prompted him to contact the RNC and Facebook. Not long after, the post was removed.

He said the mother had filed a complaint of assault to the RNC, but nothing came of it.

He said social media has made it more difficult to do his job.

“I don’t know who’s right and who’s wrong (in a court case), and I don’t care. It’s my job to just serve the person,” said the man, whose family is concerned about his driving his sports car, which they fear is now recognizable because of the photo that had been posted.

“I understand people get tangled up in situations, but don’t shoot the messenger.”

He said issues with addictions have affected people’s behaviour and his job is getting more dangerous. Many times, he said, he takes along his brother for backup when serving papers.

“It’s getting worse and worse. Years ago, people had respect for uniforms. It’s not like that anymore ,” said the man, a former sheriff’s officer, who continued work as process server after he retired 10 years ago.

He said his family is trying to convince him to retire and he’s considering it.

“I’m really thinking about it,” he said. “I don’t want my family worrying anymore.
 

rosie.mullaley@thetelegram.com

Twitter: TelyRosie

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