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No police report in Spring Grove board member's hack

Christopher Dornblaser
505-5436/@YDDornblaser
  • A Spring Grove Area School District board member has not reported his Twitter hack as of Thursday.
  • SWRPD Chief Greg Bean said Saturday that their department had not received a report of the hack.
  • Bean said the department would usually contact the social media site to investigate further.

A Spring Grove Area school board member who claims his Twitter account was hacked when it tweeted out a slur last week has not reported the crime to police.

Matthew Jansen, who also was an elected delegate to the Republican National Convention, said Wednesday that someone hacked into his account and tweeted, "Well than this wetbacks family should be thrown out of the country," in response to an article from Breitbart, a conservative news website.

York County Republican delegate Matthew Jansen called the pastor of a Dallastown church after seeing their sign wishing Muslims a "blessed Ramadan."

He emphatically denied sending the tweet, saying it was a complete "smear job."

On Thursday, when asked if he had reported the hack to police, he said it had not occurred to him to do so, and that he might report it. He did not return follow-up phone messages left Saturday.

Reached Saturday. Southwestern Regional Police Chief Greg Bean said Jansen has not filed a report with his department, although it's possible Jansen could report the hack to another agency. Southwestern Regional Police covers the townships of Heidelberg, Manheim, North Codorus as well as Spring Grove.

Bean said the department occasionally receives reports similar to what Jansen claims happened to him.

"We do get calls such as that; we do look into (them) as best as we can," he said.

Bean said investigators would typically reach out to the social-media sites and see what they can do from there.

"We would certainly take the lead from them," Bean said.

Kyle King, spokesman for the York County District Attorney's Office, said Saturday that for things similar to Jansen's claim, the charges for suspects could vary.

“It depends on the case,” he said.

'Celebgate': In October 2016, Lancaster County resident Ryan Collins, 36, was sentenced to 18 months in prison for his role in hacking into the email and online accounts of several female celebrities and stealing private information, including nude photos and videos, according to The Associated Press

Prosecutors said he gained access to more than 100 Google and Apple accounts from November 2012 to September 2014, the wire service reported. Many of them belonged to famous women, so the hack was coined "Celebgate."

Last November, an Arizona man was charged with trying to hack into email accounts at more than 75 universities nationwide, according to AP.

Jonathan Powell allegedly targeted dozens of schools and successfully hacked into student email accounts at a New York school and one in Pennsylvania. He's accused of stealing students' personal information and searching online accounts for potentially embarrassing content.

Spring Grove school board member denies tweeting slur

Spring Grove School District board member Matthew Jansen's Twitter reportedly posted this early Monday morning. Screenshot courtesy Amy Gunzelman.

Background: In Jansen's case, the slur was tweeted from his account on Feb. 6.

He said he was asleep when it was tweeted, and that he was shocked when he discovered it. He called the language used "terrible" and "incendiary."

Jansen reiterated that he would never say the word being used.

“It’s just so foreign from the way I talk,” Jansen added.

He said he immediately reported it to Twitter as a hack and filed a complaint saying a tweet was posted that he did not write.

He said he had been having issues with his phone, and that might have have led to his account being compromised. On Thursday he said he changed his Twitter account password and made it private.

Pastor shocked by Spring Grove Area board member's message

While Jansen said he did not post the tweet, he said he did understand why some people might be skeptical.

“I do say some stuff that’s confrontational, but that’s kind of me," he said.

In June, Jansen called out Rev. Christopher Rodkey, pastor at St. Paul's United Church of Christ in Dallastown, when there was a sign that said, "Wishing a blessed Ramadan to our Muslim neighbors" in front of the church.

Matthew Jansen responded to comments about his Twitter's post, saying the slur was once used in the 50's during the Eisenhower Administration. Screenshot courtesy Amy Gunzelman.

Jansen called the pastor and left a voicemail, asking if there was something wrong with the pastor.

He posted a picture of the sign along with the church's phone number on his Twitter.

A few weeks later, Jansen dined at the Hadee Mosque in Harrisburg for Iftar, the meal Muslims partake in after sunset during Ramadan.

Jansen said at the time that the event was "informative" and "enlightening."

— Reach Christopher Dornblaser at cdornblaser@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @YDDornblaser.