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178 Web posters who thought they were anonymous are being sued, and the website where they made the offending posts has been ordered to release information to help identify them.

A couple, Mark and Rhonda Lesher, was accused of sexually assaulting a woman, and the websites for McKinney, Clarksville, and other Texas cities near where the couple lived, soon became Ground Zero for tens of thousands of graphic attacks about them -- even after they were acquitted.

The couple's attorney has offered conditional immunity to people who revealed information about some of the most egregious of the posters.

Topix.net, which has removed many of the postings, has until March 6 to comply with the court order, and is considering its options. According to one article about the case, however, Topix.net may be able to provide only IP addresses at most, because it does not require registration.

An Idaho legislator late last year proposed making such anonymous posting illegal.

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