Idaho professor sues TikToker over allegations of killing of 4 college students

A University of Idaho professor who says she was wrongly accused of ordering the unsolved murders of four college students last month, alleges in a federal lawsuit filed this week against the self-proclaimed internet sleuth who masterminded the allegations posted on TikTok, slander.

The lawsuit, filed Wednesday by history department chair Rebecca Scofield in Idaho District Court, also accused TikTok user Ashley Guillard of falsely alleging that the professor planned the murders with another University of Idaho student .

The videos began appearing on the platform on November 24 and have garnered millions of views, according to the lawsuit, which says Guillard claims to solve high-profile murders using tarot cards and “other readings.”

The lawsuit appears to be the latest example of what one expert called “dangerous” speculation surrounding the four count murders in Moscow, Idaho on November 13.

Authorities have not identified any suspects in the murders of Kaylee Goncalves, 21, Madison Mogen, 21, Xana Kernodle, 20, and Ethan Chapin, 20, nor have they found a murder weapon that police say is live is a weapon, like a knife.

The Moscow Police Department has previously described what it described as misinformation “inciting fears in the community and spreading false facts” in the case. The department has created a “rumor control” section on its website under the frequently asked questions about the case.

The department did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the lawsuit.

According to the lawsuit, Scofield, who began working at the university in 2016, never met the murdered students, nor did they take a class with her. The suit states that she was visiting friends with her husband in Portland, Oregon when the students were killed.

After an attorney for Scofield sent Guillard a cease and desist letter on Nov. 29, she continued to post what the lawsuit describes as defamatory videos. After Guillard sent a second cease and desist letter on Dec. 8, she showed the document in a TikTok video and said Scofield needed to “file actual legal documents with a federal court” and ask them to remove them, the lawsuit states.

A week and a half later, Guillard released more than 20 videos falsely claiming Scofield was involved with the student and claiming she ordered the killings to cover up the relationship, the lawsuit says.

“Professor Scofield never met Guillard,” the suit reads. “She doesn’t know her. She doesn’t know why Guillard singled her out to repeatedly falsely accuse her of ordering the tragic murders and being involved with one of the victims. Professor Scofield knows she was harmed by the fake TikToks and false statements.”

The lawsuit adds that the allegations have caused significant emotional distress and damage to Scofield’s reputation.

“She is concerned that Guillard’s false testimony could motivate someone to harm her or her family members,” the lawsuit reads, adding that she recently installed a security system in her home.

In an email to NBC News, Guillard reiterated her allegations against Scofield.

Neither Scofield nor TikTok immediately responded to requests for comment Friday night.

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