The user posted videos in which she claimed to solve the murder of four people through Tarot cards. The teacher says she doesn’t know her, has never been with the students, and the baseless allegations have forced her to install a security system.
A professor at the University of Idaho is suing a TikTok user who, on social media, claimed that the professor killed four students through an ‘investigation’ with Tarot cards.
The defamation charge was filed on Wednesday, more than a month after four college students were killed in a stabbing attack in Moscow, in the US state of Idaho, on November 13.
According to NBC News, history department professor Rebecca Scofield believes that Ashley Guillard, a self-proclaimed ‘investigator’ on the social networking site TikTok, falsely and unjustifiably accused her of planning and ordering the murders of the four young men, aged 20 to 21.
In videos that began to be published starting November 24, Guillard told of solving murders using Tarot cards and “other readings,” in a series of allegations that Moscow police have pointed to as “dangerous speculation” surrounding the quadruple homicide.
Ashley Guillard, who considers herself a ‘medium’, has even commented that her sources are the cards and ‘her brain’.
About five days after the publication of videos accusing the teacher of committing the murders – videos that had already been viewed millions of times on TikTok – Rebecca Scofield’s lawyers sent a letter to the creator of the videos, threatening a lawsuit if she did not stop.
Instead, Ashley Guillard continued with the allegations, showing the letters in her videos. A second letter arrived on December 8, but Guillard claimed that the lawyers’ documents were false and challenged her to counter her claims.
About a week and a half later, Guillard had already posted more than 20 videos, going on to suggest that the faculty member was romantically involved with one of the students and claimed that she had ordered the murders to cover up an alleged relationship.
In the lawsuit, Scofield, who has worked at the university since 2016, says that he never met the students, and they never attended a class of his. Scofield also claims that at the time of the attack, the faculty member was with her husband in Portland, Oregon (nearly 600 kilometers from the incident), visiting friends.
“Professor Scofield never met Guillard. She doesn’t know who he is. She doesn’t know why Guillard chose her to falsely and repeatedly accuse her of ordering these tragic murders and of being involved with one of the victims. Professor Scofield does know that she has been hurt by these videos and false allegations,” the lawsuit further states.
The professor and researcher also argues that Guillard’s accusations have damaged her reputation at the university and have caused stress on her family, forcing her to install a security system in her home.
The allegations and rumors surrounding the murders have become so recurrent that the Moscow police were forced to create a page on their website dedicated to clearing up the wave of misinformation about the case.
The victims of the attack were Kaylee Goncalves (21), Madison Mogen (21), Xana Kernodle (20) and Ethan Chapin (20). Police have not found any weapons and a suspect has not yet been found, but authorities believe the victims were killed with a melee weapon, potentially a knife.