BENTON, KY — A Marshall County 911 dispatcher accused of identity theft allegedly pretended to be the ex-wife of the man she was seeing, using text messages and social media to impersonate the victim, according to an affidavit.
Tonya Clevidence, 46, of Benton, was arraigned in Calloway County District Court Tuesday on a felony count of identity theft and a misdemeanor count of harassing communications. Clevidence is accused of impersonating a Murray woman over the course of about two years, the Murray Police Department says.
According to an affidavit by a Murray police detective, the victim separated from her husband in August 2017. In early 2018, during divorce negotiations, the victim learned that her ex-husband was seeing Clevidence.
The victim's ex-husband blamed her for sending harassing text messages to him and Clevidence, the affidavit says. In reality, the affidavit says Clevidence was using a spoof app to send those texts to make the messages look like the victim wrote them. The harassing messages continued, causing the victim's ex-husband to constantly blame the victim for the texts and even report her to Kentucky State Police. The affidavit says Clevidence also sent the fake messages to her own family and to her ex-husband.
In October 2018, the victim received a Facebook message from a woman who used to date her ex-husband, the affidavit says. The woman accused the victim of sending harassing messages. But it wasn't the victim who was sending the messages. Instead, Clevidence created a fake Facebook account and filled the profile with information that led people to believe it was the victim's account, the affidavit says.
The document states that the fake Facebook account then began posting negative comments about Clevidence and her ex-husband. The posts eventually became more sexually explicit, showing photos of the victim's ex-husband and other women, according to the affidavit. This led to a friend of the victim's ex-husband accusing the victim of trying to ruin his life.
On Oct. 29, the detective requested a search warrant for the fake account. After receiving the information, subpoenas were issued for IP addresses linked to the account, the affidavit says. The detective states in the affidavit that the IP addresses were traced back to several places — including county facilities, a church that Clevidence goes to, Cleavidence's home, and Clevidence's family.
The detective interviewed Clevidence on Dec. 5. The affidavit says she initially denied involvement, but eventually admitted to creating the fake Facebook account and the posts associated with it. But Clevidence claimed her original intent was to get more information on her ex-husband instead of pretending to be the victim. The affidavit says Clevidence apologized for her actions, "but that she just could not stop." Clevidence also claimed during the interview that she spoof-texted the victim's ex-husband because he was spoof-texting Clevidence's ex-husband.
On Tuesday, the Marshall County Fiscal Court sent a certified "intent to terminate" letter to Clevidence, saying she has five days to appeal her firing from the 911 center.
Local 6 could not reach Marshall County 911 Director Chris Freeman Tuesday, but the county did send the following statement from him:
"The individual choices and actions of this employee are not a reflection of Marshall County 911 and the tireless efforts of our telecommunicators to serve the people in our communities," said Freeman. "There is a heightened expectation for those who work in a profession of public trust and we take that very seriously. We are committed to providing the highest standard of service and anything less will not be tolerated."