The Richmond woman who allegedly was kicked out of Richmond Mall for wearing a dress that mall officials said actually was a shirt now claims she is the victim of a malicious online poster.

Richmond attorney Wesley Browne said Friday that a poster on a forum associated with the Richmond Register Web site “planted a false story” on Aug. 13 stating that Kymberly Clem was kicked out of the mall for intentionally exposing herself to a woman with two children.

Browne called the online poster “malicious” and said the online post was “fictitious.”

Clem claims she was kicked out of Richmond Mall last weekend after being approached by a security guard who “made me turn all the way around while he stared me up and down,” she said.

The 20-year-old Eastern Kentucky University student said she was wearing a dress she had purchased at the mall on the previous day.

She had only been at the mall for about 10 minutes when the guard approached her, Clem said.

“The only thing he said was that other people didn’t like the way I looked, so he wanted me to leave,” Clem said.

The guard also told Clem several women had complained because their husbands were staring at her, she said.

Mall officials claim the item of the clothing in question actually was a shirt. Mall manager Vicki Strunk said the clothing was purchased at DEB in the mall, and a DEB employee said Tuesday the clothing Clem was wearing was a shirt.

Strunk said any mall patron who wears a top but no bottom is subject to be escorted off the premises.

The incident has garnered media attention from across the nation and the online forum in question has had numerous posts about it. Most of the posters share their opinion about whether appropriate action was taken. Some debate what kinds of clothing should be allowed in public places.

“The individual responsible for the fabricated story provided no personal information,” Browne said in a press release. “The poster’s account was set up the same day the false story was posted. The individual had not posted on the Web site before the false story was posted, and has not since.”

On Friday, Browne requested that the Richmond Register have the post removed. After reviewing it and consulting with the paper’s attorney, the post was removed Friday afternoon.

“The user was banned from our forum and the post and references to it were removed because the user violated the terms of service agreement for using the forum,” said Jim Todd, editor of the Richmond Register. “By signing up to use the forum, the user agreed not to use the site to harass other participants or knowingly display any false, defamatory, abusive, obscene, threatening, racially offensive, sexually explicit or illegal material.”

While it is associated with the paper’s Web site, the forum is owned by Groupee Inc., a Web service operated by Infopop Corp.

Browne said he has contacted Groupee to try to find out the identity of the anonymous poster.

“People think they can make these posts anonymously, but there is always a means of finding out,” Browne said. “Once we learn the identity of the malicious coward who posted this fabrication, we will file suit, and we will proceed without mercy. People are entitled to their opinions, we understand and respect that, but creating lies to hurt someone who is already so vulnerable is not only disgusting, it is a violation of law.”

 Browne said Clem has received interview requests from the CBS Early Show, the Tyra Banks Show, Dr. Phil, Inside Edition, the Fox News Channel and dozens of radio stations nationwide. She has not agreed to give any further interviews, the attorney said.



Lorie Love can be reached at 624-6690 or llove@richmondregister.com.

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