Tampering charge filed in Hickman yearbook prank

Tuesday, June 11, 2013 | 8:59 a.m. CDT; updated 9:54 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, June 11, 2013

COLUMBIA — A Hickman High School student accused of changing another student's name in a yearbook to a sexually suggestive term has been charged with a misdemeanor.

The 17-year-old high school junior was arrested May 14 on suspicion of felony property damage and harassment. But online court records show the Boone County prosecutor on Monday filed the lesser charge of misdemeanor tampering.

The girl is accused of changing a senior's last name from Mastain to "masturbate" in the 100th edition of the Hickman Cresset yearbook.

The school decided against reprinting more than 700 yearbooks and instead placed stickers on the altered pages with the student's correct surname. Administrators estimated it would have cost $41,000 to reprint the books.

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Wayne Savage June 11, 2013 | 2:28 p.m.

As I understand it, Missouri's tampering statute would require the prosecutor to prove, among many other elements, that the name alteration was made "for the purpose of causing substantial inconvenience." Quite a stretch, as yearbook pranks of this nature usually are undertaken for the purpose of causing humor, tasteless as it is.

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