AP NEWS

List of STD victims declared hoax

January 10, 2018 GMT

KANKAKEE — A list posted on social media claiming it came from someone in the Kankakee County Health Department and disclosed the names of 30 people with sexually transmitted diseases is a hoax.

The list was discovered online Monday, according to State’s Attorney Jim Rowe.

“This list and the message it references is false,” said John Bevis, public health administrator, in a release sent out by Rowe’s office Tuesday night.

“The Kankakee County Health Department does not generate lists of clients or medical diagnoses of any kind. The Kankakee County Health Department is committed to providing the community and its clients quality care, including the protection of personal and private information of each person.

“I want to assure everyone that we have policies and procedures in place that protect the privacy of every person served through the department’s programs and services.”

Rowe said misinformation like this could have dangerous results.

“Those are the type of things that can easily lead to violence, retaliation, etc.,” he said.

“It may be especially detrimental where it keeps someone from seeking medical treatment for an STD or makes people feel less secure in their ability to see a physician and get treatment.”

Rowe said the list appeared to be shared numerous times. He discourages others from circulating, sharing or otherwise disseminating the false information.

“Social media is not a reliable source of information to begin with, and, of course, freedom of speech protects most speech,” he said.

“But this type of trash goes beyond the pale and may give rise to criminal charges depending on the intent behind it. My hope is that people will delete the false post and stop its further circulation.

“It is unfortunate for those who have had their names publicly tied to this hoax, and the person or persons responsible for this should be held accountable,” Rowe said.

Sheriff Mike Downey said people with information about anyone responsible for creating

and initially circulating the false list should contact the Investigations Division at 815-802-7150.