VALLEY FALLS, KAN. (KSNT) – Is the mayor of a small Kansas town the victim of cyber-bullying?
Charlie Stutesman of Valley Falls says he is – and it’s become the talk of the town.
It involves a blog titled: “Mayor Charles Stutesman, Valley Falls Kansas: dancing with the devil.”
We do want to warn you, some of the images in this story are not appropriate for young children.
“I said it, I posted it…I have to live with it,” Stutesman said.
Valley Falls’ Mayor Charlie Stutesman says what started out as a twitter fight with a stranger in Idaho….has become an all-out personal attack being waged in a very public forum – social media.
Jason Wade Taylor, who blogs under “Quagmire America” took some of Stutesman’s old tweets and posted them on his blog.
Tweets laced with profanities, vulgar language and inappropriate images.
“I really thought about going back and deleting the tweets. However, I knew the screen shots were out there,” Stutesman said.
Unfortunately for Stutesman, someone in town saw the blog and told a friend – who told a friend.
The private squabble had become very public.
“I had a citizen come to me and said, ‘this twitter deal has got to stop’ and I go “okay, what you are talking about?” and the blog has hit the town,” Stutesman said.
Stutesman says he tried to contact the blogger to end the attacks without success.
Instead Taylor posted this – and this – and this – and this.
So, the question we put to Stutesman was – why?
Why, would a political figure post images and statements so inappropriate on social media?
He says for “shock value” among friends , and…
“Whatever it was I posted them, do I wish I hadn’t of? Yeah. I’m not upset that I posted it, and lashed out at the person I was posting to. My methods were wrong,” Stutesman said.
But, he says Taylor’s methods are wrong too, claiming Taylor is now also targeting the mayor’s wife and church in posts.
We tried to get Taylor’s reasoning for the posts – he never replied.
Which leaves Stutesman – and the residents of Valley Falls – in the midst of this on-going cyber war.
And in the online world – there are very few rules regarding what elected officials can and should not say.
“Normally this would be political suicide for any politician,” Kansas First News Political Analyst Dr. Bob Beatty said.
The ultimate decision on what’s appropriate comes down to the people they serve.
“Whether they believe that politician has gone over the line. and in the end, it’s up to those constituents as to whether they want to do something about it,” Beatty said.
“Am I apologetic: yes. Am I going to stand here and say ‘I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry’…..no,” Stutesman said.
So, an unrepentant mayor is taking his lumps, and trying to move forward..
“I don’t need this to end up at a council meeting. We have far bigger things to worry about in the City of Valley Falls than the mayor being a knuckle-head on twitter and being attacked for it,” Stutesman said.
Stutesman says he’s complained to authorities about the blog – but neither the FBI nor local sheriff say they’ve filed a formal investigation underway.
If you want to hear more…we’ve posted part of our un-edited interview with Mayor Stutesman.