A Plagiarist Faces the Judge

banner_crime
To an author, there are few crimes more heinous than plagiarism. Every author knows the agony of the untold story, the grueling birth of a novel, the joy of finally bringing that creation into the world and holding it up for all to see.

Having that joy stolen from you is an unspeakable cruelty.

That’s why Rachel Ann Nunes’ plight has struck a chord with so many authors. Rachel’s novel, A Bid for Love, was stolen, mutilated, and repackaged as a sloppy knock-off titled The Auction Deal.

Rachel’s work has already hit #1 on the Amazon bestseller lists for Christian fiction, but the plagiarist believed she could improve it by injecting explicit sex scenes into the work. She then offered the book for sale under her pen name, Sam Taylor Mullens, and pretended that it was her own, original creation.

The plagiarist tried to take credit for Rachel’s inventiveness, hard work, and perseverance. It was a cowardly act, but it paled in comparison to what followed.

An impersonal crime becomes personal

It’s said that character is what you do when nobody is looking. Mullens felt invisible and untouchable behind her pseudonym, and her true character was quickly revealed.

First, she attempted to deflect criticism by offering a bewildering series of lies: that she had permission to use the work; that the work had been given to her by a mysterious, nameless man who later died in a car crash; that she was the niece of the CEO of Rachel’s publisher; and that she had collaborated with Rachel to write the book.

When those flimsy lies failed to stand up to scrutiny, she turned to a campaign of harassment and vicious libel against Rachel.

1 star reviews left by fake accounts

1 star reviews left by fake accounts

One woman, dozens of identities

Mullens had been inflating her ratings and reviews with an army of fake accounts — at present count, more than 20 of them — on Goodreads, Amazon, Facebook, and various blogs. When the plagiarism scandal was exposed, she used those sockpuppets to leave 1-star reviews on Rachel’s books. She disparaged Rachel personally with false allegations of fraud and with jaw-dropping audacity, accused Rachel of being the bully. And Mullens used her accounts to harass various bloggers sympathetic to Rachel, hoping to intimidate them into silence. She failed miserably.

Mullens proudly portrays herself as an indie author… but indie authors are a supportive community. They don’t prey on their fellow authors. They don’t cannibalize their family.

They don’t steal each other’s work.

Dire consequences

Today, I’m happy to report that the plagiarist is being held accountable for her actions in a spectacular way. She has been identified as Tiffanie Rushton, a Utah schoolteacher. Rushton has been served with a summons to appear in Federal court on complaints of copyright infringement, defamation, false light, injurious falsehood, harassment, false advertising, and deceptive trade practices. If the suit is successful, she faces statutory damages of $150,000.00, plus damages for each sale of the infringing work, damages to compensate for the other allegations in the complaint, and attorney’s fees.

The compensatory damages could be tripled due to the nature of the offenses.

Tiffanie Rushton / Sam Taylor Mullens Schoolteacher by day, brazen thief by night.

Tiffanie Rushton / Sam Taylor Mullens: Schoolteacher by day, brazen thief and cyberbully by night.

Additionally, the plaintiff’s attorneys have requested a string of injunctions prohibiting her from using fake accounts and identities to promote herself, prohibiting further disparagement of Rachel or Rachel’s works, prohibiting her from using any name other than her own online, requiring a retraction of all her attacks on Rachel, and requiring Rushton to publicly admit her plagiarism.

It’s likely that Rushton will declare bankruptcy to avoid paying the judgment, which makes the injunctions critical.

Her next victim

According to the complaint and evidence I have personally witnessed, Rushton is responsible for at least one other act of copying someone else’s work, and there may be more victims who are unaware that their hard work has been stolen. She is currently soliciting ARCs under the names [REDACTED] and Lucy Evans. (Please note that there is a legitimate author by the same name who is not involved in this case.)

If you have provided a copy of your work to Tiffanie Rushton or any of her other aliases, you may be at risk. Rushton’s fake identities include:

  • Sam Taylor Mullens
  • Lucy Evans
  • Jennifer [REDACTED]
  • Macey [REDACTED]
  • Abigail [REDACTED]
  • Abby [REDACTED]
  • Abigail [REDACTED]
  • Jennifer [REDACTED]
  • Mercedes [REDACTED]
  • Emma [REDACTED]
  • Bethany [REDACTED]
  • Moonshine and Books
  • Simple Book Reviews
  • Elle [REDACTED]
  • Gibby [REDACTED]
  • Hailey [REDACTED]
  • Hannah [REDACTED]
  • Ky [REDACTED]
  • Rylee [REDACTED]
  • Sierra [REDACTED]
  • W [REDACTED]
  • Aubrey [REDACTED]
UPDATE 9/12/2014: A statement made on Donna K. Weaver’s blog alleged that the aliases used by Tiffanie Rushton were, in fact, the names of her students. This was confirmed by consulting the school’s yearbook. At the request of a parent and out of an abundance of caution, I am redacting all of the names which appear in the yearbook.
Tiffanie Rushton soliciting ARCs under a student's name

Tiffanie Rushton soliciting ARCs under a student’s name

A plea for restraint

Let me stress that this matter is being handled in the courts where it belongs. As infuriating as the situation may be, we are not vigilantes or bullies, and retaliation is entirely inappropriate. Under no circumstances should any person take it upon themselves to harass any party in the case, even if it’s just “giving her a piece of your mind.” It may be just a stern rebuke from your perspective, but multiplied by dozens or even hundreds of other rebukes, it becomes a brutal assault.

Also keep in mind that she operates under a number of names, some of which are shared by innocent persons.

Holding Tiffanie Rushton accountable may prevent other authors from being defrauded and attacked, but it must be done through proper channels. If you would like to help bring this con artist to justice, please donate and share Rachel’s fundraiser at http://www.gofundme.com/ctdxpw. She will need all the help she can get to fight back.

Together, we can stand against plagiarism.

I can’t imagine the price of an ARC is worth one’s honesty or reputation.
Sam Taylor Mullens, July 26, 2014

Updates

Additional information

Permission is granted to reprint this article in part or whole, with attribution to the author, John Doppler.
This article and its comments originally appeared on The John Doppler Effect.

About John Doppler

Author, cruciverbalist, serial hobbyist… John Doppler blends science, art, and humor into a delicious smoothie of chaotic evil.

Bookmark the permalink.

124 Comments

  1. Fine reporting, John! I’m off to download the pleadings now.

  2. John, one clarification, now that I have reviewed the entire federal court docket – there has been no motion for injunctive relief filed or allowed – the complaint requests the relief, but until there is no injunction on record in the docket.

  3. Very disturbing and sad.Thank you for giving us a heads up.
    BTW. there really is an author named Jennifer Greer. She is Not the person in the photos. She is in my critique group. I’ll let her know that someone is using her name as an alias.

    • I’ve found there are several authors and individuals who share names with Rushton’s sockpuppets. I’m not sure if that’s a deliberate attempt to deceive, or just coincidence. Thanks for alerting the real Jennifer!

  4. Will be interesting to see this play out in the courts.

  5. Who would do this? This is appalling!!

    • Yes indeed, that’s her “real” account. She had deactivated it during her initial panic, then brought it back when she thought she had gotten away with the plagiarism. I expect she’ll deactivate it again soon.

      • I have 3 mutual friends on that account. Two are authors. I’ll be sure to let them know.

      • Boy, were you right about it going down soon. It disappeared while I was checking out her friends list.

        • She’s quite predictable once you’ve seen her in action.

          Prediction #2: she’ll resurface in a week or so when the panic has worn off, and loudly proclaim her innocence to the world — supported by several emphatic sockpuppets who agree with her every word while insisting that they’re real people.

          This will be followed by wails of “I’m the victim!” and a byzantine conspiracy theory involving anyone who’s spoken out against her plagiarism.

          • Not only that, but she will repeatedly and constantly assert that she is being “harassed” and “bullied,” even though she’s the one doing so to others, and no one has done it to her.

    • The page has been taken down now. What a crock this all is. I hope they are able to get justice!

  6. Pingback: Dear Plagiarizer: Breaking Bad – A Bad Idea

  7. Pingback: Dear Plagiarizer: Breaking Bad - A Bad Idea | One Handed Writers

  8. I’m fighting my own battle against plagiarism after having my agent-submitted works stolen by Star Trek: The Next Generation. Despite having had the short story version of one script later published in a 1989 fanzine (Quastar 6), complete with my WGA registration number, yet still Star Trek stole the story and aired it in 1992 as… “The Inner Light.” That particular episode won the Hugo Award. The credited author was a network programming executive named Morgan Gendel.

  9. I am SO GLAD Rachel is pursuing legal action. I was plagiarized last year (by a USA Today bestselling author!) but I couldn’t afford to take her to court. She took down the book with the stolen material, but never acknowledged what she did and she’s publishing new works on Amazon. It’s immensely frustrating to know there’s nothing I can do to stop her. I’ll be donating to Rachel’s Go Fund Me. A clear message must be sent.

  10. This is sad on all accounts.

  11. After reading through the alias names this woman used, I noticed the name ‘Hailey Williams’. I wonder if she’s a fan of the band Paramore? That’s the lead singers name in that musical group. I sincerely hope this sorry excuse of a human being is held accountable on every charge. Its too bad they couldn’t also include some mandatory psychiatric help. I certainly wouldn’t want someone like this teaching my child!

    • Excellent catch, Rae! We completely missed that connection.

      And yes, I hope she gets help too, for whatever dysfunction drove her to do this. Unfortunately, that won’t come from a civil case. However, if the evidence in Rachel’s suit reveals fraud or identity theft, it could lead to criminal charges being filed.

  12. I’m having this problem too. Not only did my plagiarist copy my work but two other authors in the same book! I consulted an attorney who said it would cost upwards of 10k to go into federal court. How do people afford to protect their copyright?

    I am very happy though that this is working out for Rachael! Best of luck and my warm regards to her.

    • It’s a horrifying expense, Cindy, and I think that’s why so many plagiarists get away with it. I would love to see a nonprofit that represents authors with pro bono representation, so that protection under the law wouldn’t depend on your income.

      • A non-profit would be a great idea. The fees required to go after these people are enormous and I can’t imagine many people have 10k lying around for legal bills. It is outrageous that these authors have to deal with such things.

    • $10k barely gets you into the courtroom. The cost of a full trial is more like $50k, minimum. All recoverable with a win, automatically, but you can’t get blood from a stone.

      • Guess I’m extremely naive. It seems the US justice department (or some branch) would persue action against the plagiarist. It’s not free to register your work and the average author can’t afford to litigate. Does this problem happen with any specific genre?

        • Unfortunately it happens with almost every genre. I haven’t been able to find specific numbers, since I’m sure there is so much that never gets reported, but five minutes on Google sends you to so many sad stories of people fighting for their work.

        • It costs $35 to register. $35.

          When you have a registered copyright and a clear case of infringement that entitles you to statutory damages and attorney’s fees, lots of lawyers are interested.

          • Against a major publisher with assets that could be attached to satisfy the judgment, maybe. That isn’t the case here, unfortunately. Now, if you could somehow attach Amazon as “aiding and abetting”, that might change, but I don’t see a judge at any near point ruling that Amazon itself has a duty to check each and every book indie publishers and self-publishers put up for plagiarism.

            In an ideal world, they would, but…

      • Exactly. Even if you win, the plagiarizer will likely just declare bankruptcy. You’ll never see a dime of what you’re owed and the lawyers still need to be paid. It’s hopeless for most victims of plagiarism.

        • Note: A judgment against Rushton for copyright infringement and libel in this case would not be dischargeable in bankruptcy court, should be be considered a debt “incurred as a result of willful and malicious injury to another or to the property of another.”

          See this: http://www.pepperlaw.com/publications_update.aspx?ArticleKey=1505

          • That’s good to know, Pete. Thanks!

          • Which, unfortunately, won’t mean much since the plagiarist apparently doesn’t have assets to attach, and is likely to be unemployed in the very near future. She might get a job flipping burgers or something, but name me a lawyer who is willing to put up $10s of 1000s in effort for $40-50 bucks a month garnished from those wages.

          • Greg, I know nothing about Ms. Rushton’s financial affairs. Are you stating facts or just prognosticating?

          • Pete: no, I don’t have personal knowledge of the exact state of her finances, but several have commented that she does not appear to have any significant assets. As for speculating about her soon becoming unemployed, I find that a reasonable conclusion based on how similar situations (employee brings ill repute to employer by malfeasance) are being handled at this present time. Furthermore, with the recent revelation that she was using HER STUDENTS’ IDs as aliases, she may even be up for additional Federal charges (civil and potentially criminal). There’s no way her school district can keep her.

            My comments are definitely NOT established fact, I think that they are a highly probable prediction of what will happen.

  13. I have her as “friend” and even read that book “Hasty Resolution” (if that is even her book-shich btw I thought sucked) and I just checked and noticed she had deactivated her account under Sam Taylor Mullens. Wow. People are just sad and pathetic. I hope that those she plagerized work from get some compensation or that she faces a punishment in accordance ro what she has done.

  14. You and me both, John. It seems there is a decision of the FBI now that investigates, mainly because of so much piracy and theft via the internet.

  15. I meant division of the FBI. Dang auto correct.

  16. This is terrifying! How did Rachel find out that her work had been stolen?

    • It’s my understanding that a reviewer who had read Love to the Highest Bidder, the 1996 edition of the story, was approached by Sam Taylor Mullens to review her ARC, and realized that the story had been plagiarized.

      Four reviewers subsequently confirmed that the ARC they received was Rachel’s work with sex scenes inserted into her work.

      Upon notification that she had infringed on Rachel’s copyright, Tiffanie Rushton offered a number of increasingly desperate and outlandish explanations about how she had been given the manuscript by a mysterious man who later died in a car crash, about how she was the niece of Rachel’s publisher, etc.

      Several of the explanations were offered through Rushton’s fake accounts, claiming to be friends of Sam Taylor Mullens, and some attempted to intimidate Rachel with threats of harassment.

      It’s bewildering.

      Rachel has posted samples of the abusive emails and examples of the plagiarism at http://rachelannnunes.blogspot.com/2014/08/standing-against-plagarism.html

  17. Nice job, John. And you’re right, giving people like this a “piece of your mind” is pointless and only gives them the opportunity to use emotive terms like “bullying” to gain sympathy for their sorry selves. In this case, at least, the courts can handle it better than we can.

    • Thanks, Jane! It’s an infuriating case, and people are understandably angry. But it’s easy to slip into a mob mentality, and it’s easy for one snide comment to multiply into an avalanche of abuse.

      It’s best just to spread awareness of the issue without piling on. Tiffanie Rushton will be held accountable for what she did, so there’s no need for vigilantism.

  18. People like this make authors view reviewers like myself with a bit of suspicion when they are wanting reviews. I hope they bury her since it is really worse than stealing something like your car or breaking into your home. Novels are something that is uniquely the creation of the author and for some psychopath to steal their work and put their name on it is really much more cruel than the punishment that present laws will allow.

  19. The blood from a stone is the heart of it. Most plagiarists will not have made enough to even cover a tenth of the cost to pay you back. I like Rachael’s idea of crowd source funding.

    • The obvious solution is to make plagiarism a CRIMINAL offense.

      • I agree with you, Greg. I’m sure the issue is more complicated than it seems, but if someone stole a car, the owner of the car wouldn’t have to file the suit and pay the legal fees, our justice system would charge the thief and a civil prosecutor would represent the “people” against the defendant. It seems like plagiarism should be handled similarly once proof of the theft has been provided to the authorities.

        • There are issues to work out. For example, if you steal a car, that is an item of relatively easily fixed value, so the severity of the theft can be determined for prosecution. Stealing a car is going to be a bigger crime than stealing a pair of $10 sunglasses.

          What is the value of a niche genre writer’s book? Mind you, I’m NOT trying to diminish the crime against Rachel. But a prosecutor WILL want to know if he’s trying a petty pickpocket or an armed bank robber. That’s how the criminal justice system works.

          The other thing to keep in mind is that the biggest IP thieves tend to be corporations, in point of fact. And they control government, which controls who gets called a criminal and who doesn’t.

  20. Pingback: Plagiarism court case | ascribelog

  21. I’m a British author and the first two mysteries in my main series were plagiarised in July this year (or at least, that’s when I found out about it). I contacted all the retailers and online distributors and they removed the thief’s fakes of my work. And, in my case, if you care to read the thread from the post I placed on kboards, you’ll see that there IS something worse than plagiarism. In the thread, it was revealed that the man who stole my work is also a self-confessed paedophile and was recently sentenced in a UK court. I couldn’t afford to sue him and thought it unlikely I’d succeed in parting him from any cash anyway. His Name’s Karl Jones. Here’s the link: http://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,190095.0.html Delighted to contribute towards this author’s legal costs.

    • Ugh, that is horrible, Geraldine! I don’t understand why Amazon hasn’t applied any sort of plagiarism checked to their books. These systems aren’t foolproof, but they do detect a significant percentage of infringements.

      Perhaps it’s time to gather up a list of all the plagiarism perpetrated on Amazon, and urge them to take steps to rein it in.

      • I believe the time has probably come for Amazon and other sellers to get tougher about all the various frauds perpetrated on their sites, but will they? After all, a sale of an iffy book is still a sale. Look at all those books that are just reprinted Wikipedia articles. Look at the fact that seen from a certain angle, most sites are just vast porn delivery services.

        Actually I bet if you looked at the internet as a whole and analyzed what people were using it for, you’d find it was one-quarter information and three-quarters crime, porn, sleaze and cat photos. Such is human nature.

  22. Unfortunately it’s the internet. The new wild wild west spread out over every continent of the world. The same reason book pirates exist is the same reason people like this exists. It’s so easy to get away with and if caught, you can just disappear. The internet is too vast to really catch everyone. I’m sure it’ll only get worse. The best you can hope for is to sell enough books to survive on, and have enough fans that might catch the thefts. Unfortunately, once your book is out there, it’s OUT THERE. What makes the internet such a great place to sell for indies, also makes it terribly easy for them to be taken advantage of.

  23. What a thoughtful and incisive commentary on a troubling issue. And your readers’ comments are equally well-written. It is impressive when the creative community gets behind an issue like this, and I trust something good will come out of it. I do hope the sellers pay attention to suggestions like that of John and Jane

  24. I’m particularly appalled that plagiarist Tiffanie Rushton is a TEACHER! Unfortunately she’s probably judgment proof because she has no money. I’ve already made a donation to Rachel’s legal fund via GoFundMe.

  25. One of the things that bothers me most about all of this is, naturally, the theft, but also her hiding behind her religion and her job and her kids. And, sadly, all of those things will be impacted by her actions and light finally being shone into dark corners.

    Thanks for reporting on this, John.

  26. Very happy to see this person being brought to justice and her vile acts being brought to light. Very sorry for what Ms. Nunes had to endure, but in the end, right makes might. 😉

  27. I am so glad that all of this is out in the open now. I will continue to support Rachel in any way I can, including by donating for her legal fees or just emotional support.

  28. I went to high school with Tiffanie and several years ago we talked books at a reunion. She told me Stephenie Meyer’s sister was her neighbor and asked me to send her my work in progress and she’d see if she could get her to read it. I’m going to have to search the internet now to see if she used my book. I’m furious. I’ve been working for 6 years on this book. I’ve been following Rachel’s blog about this but now that the “writer’s true name has been revealed I’m appalled that I know some one this devious. She needs mental help.

  29. I agree that Tiffanie Rushton needs mental health assistance. However, she isn’t crazy. It’s very apparent she knows right from wrong, and chose plagiarism.

  30. I serioiusly doubt that she needs mental health assistance. Don’t give her that excuse. She’s a thief, pure and simple. Theft isn’t a sign of mental illness. Thieves simply want what others have, be it jewelry and cash in a home invasion, a joy riding kid who takes a car and trashes it, or a plagiarist who wants to cash in on someone else’s work. The plagiarist also is attention seeking, in that they also want recognition, but that’s not a mental illness, either.

  31. This woman is a teacher at my daughter’s school! This is shocking, to say the least. I am going to let the school district know. She shouldn’t be allowed to be teaching children. If my daughter were in her class, I would not be letting her go back!

  32. I’ve donated to Rachel, and for one am happy to see that they’ve discovered the perpetrator. This is disgusting. It’s also disgusting when people think it’s okay to either receive for free or purchase a single copy of your book and then upload it to torrent sites where it’s then given away free. Many people say, “well, those people probably wouldn’t have bought your book anyway.” Isn’t that akin to someone walking into a store and stealing a necklace, and excusing it by saying, “well, that person probably wouldn’t have bought the necklace anyway.” It’s time to stop all thievery of books, and stop excusing people from being made to answer for it!

  33. Pingback: This Month in Mormon Literature, Early September 2014 | Dawning of a Brighter Day

  34. Does anyone know when this thing will really go to court? It’s killing me to think about her teaching at my daughter’s school, knowing what she really is and what she has done. I wish the local media would report on this so people would know.

    • Rushton was served with the papers, and has 21 days from the time she’s served to file a response. So the case is already working its way through the judicial system, but there’s no way of knowing yet whether it will be settled out of court.

      There’s already been some media coverage, and hopefully, more outlets will pick up on the story soon. This case deserves to be in the spotlight, because it demonstrates just how destructive a plagiarist can be.

      http://www.standard.net/Local/2014/09/04/Rachel-Ann-Nunes-lawsuit.html

  35. I am gobsmacked. I cannot believe someone would do this. I note Amazon still has Sam Taylor Mullens author page up: http://www.amazon.com/Sam-Taylor-Mullens/e/B00J3IVYZA/ref=sr_tc_img_2_0?qid=1410096390&sr=1-2-acs where it lists a few more titles she has supposedly written. I wonder if these have been plagiarized! I hope Rachel can resolve this case asap for her own peace of mind..

  36. Pingback: Truth & Consequences | Alexis D Craig, Author

  37. This story made today’s online edition of the SL Tribune.

    http://m.sltrib.com/sltrib/mobile3/58378145-219/nunes-book-rushton-lawsuit.html.csp

    Thank you and David Farland for bringing this story to light.

  38. Pingback: Plagiarism Sucks Ass: Update on Plagiarist Sam Taylor Mullens aka Tiffanie Rushton and the Plagiarism of Sgt. Chase Weston | books, life, & wine

  39. Pingback: I’m not a Christian but I still love you. |

  40. This made me laugh so hard when I read the first screen shot. From her reviews, you can CLEARLY see why she needs to plagiarize others work….My question is, how can they put someone with such poor writing skills in front of children to guide them. (Though, I must admit I read her comments in a nasally, whiny voice, so that may have contributed to my laughter.)

    Anyway…Off to buy a copy of Rachels book.

    • Have you seen her Amazon author page?

      “She publishes romance novels as a Indie Author excluseively with Amazon.”

      I hope she teaches math, because English is not her forte.

  41. Hello, I’ve been following this story since Rachel told us about it at LDStorymakers. It floor me, and scared me to death all at the same time. (Especially since one of her sockpuppets has a name close to mine. AND I work on a Ute Reservation, like she said she does. That’s downright creepy.) One thing that made me smile, though, was toward the end where as one of her sock puppets, she said something like, “Oh I never ever, like ever, sell or share ARCs…” I giggled and said to myself, “Yeah, that’s because you’re keeping it all to yourself, and won’t share it with other plagiarists, you greedy little thing!”

    • Not so far from the truth, Loralee! =)

      The comment about ARCs was actually another jab at Rachel and the bloggers who stood up for her.

      When Rachel was informed that The Auction Deal was a rip-off of her novel, she asked for a copy. Tiffanie was furious that the reviewers had provided Rachel with evidence of the plagiarism, so she falsely claimed they were sharing and *selling* ARCs.

      It’s one of the reasons Tiffanie is facing a strong defamation claim.

    • The ARC comment she made was a jab towards me. She actually went on a smear campaign against my blog accusing me of selling, sharing, and pirating ARCs.

  42. The plagiarism is bad enough, but sadly many examples are popping up lately of disgruntled and jealous writers creating sock puppets and/or paying other bloggers to give 1 star ratings of books they feel compete against theirs, or in one case, a spiteful writer whose short story was not accepted into an anthology spent money on getting other bloggers to give 1 star reviews and trash said novel. One of the bloggers, when confronted, admitted she was also an aspiring author and that she regretted doing it (she had strayed from her ‘usual’ practice of selling good reviews!) – the price for this treatment of another author? $5. People are so pathetic and in cases like this I hope karma comes into play and Rachel has a win – even the publicity will be good and hopefully give other writers like Tiffanie a scare and make them think twice.

  43. I am a published author and I do not like people who steal. Please remember she is innocent until proven guity in a court of law. She has a family and we must think about her three innocent children abd the children she teaches. To smear her name is not Christian. I am not taking sides, but there are always two sides to a story.

    • Debra, there is a clear difference between smearing someone’s reputation, and holding them accountable for their own actions. To “smear” someone implies that they are being defamed or slandered, that the accusations are untrue.

      But if you’ll read the evidence presented in the article and the associated links, you’ll see that Tiffanie Rushton is indisputably the person behind the plagiarism and harassment of Rachel Ann Nunes, and the plagiarism of Sgt. Chase Weston.

      And please note that, Tiffanie Rushton’s side of the story has been presented as well. Unfortunately, her side of the storykeeps changing.

      Originally, she told Ms. Nunes that the story had been given to her by a mysterious, anonymous man who died in a car crash.

      Then she falsely claimed that she had been given permission to use the work.

      She falsely claimed that she was Rachel Ann Nunes’ niece, and that Rachel had given her the authorization to use the copyrighted work.

      The lies go on and on. But the facts that can be verified point to the inescapable conclusion that Rushton is a plagiarist who bullies her victims. She must be held accountable in a court of law to prevent her from victimizing others.

      Finally, it is a shame that Rushton has let down her students and inflicted a devastating lawsuit on her family. However, let’s keep that in the proper perspective, please: they are victims of her reprehensible conduct, not a shield for her to hide behind to escape the consequences of her actions.

      If you have any questions about the facts of the case, I’m happy to answer those questions to the best of my ability.

      • Fwiw, when Shey Stahl was caught plagiarizing me and several other authors, she also hid behind her daughter and her disabled husband. Somehow us calling her out on what she’d done meant we were attacking them?? Like she had nothing to do with it?

        Sigh. Sadly these plagiarists’ reactions follow a pattern so closely I could write a script for it at this point.

        • They do seem to share the same traits. I’m reminded of the descriptions in The Sociopath Next Door: a complete lack of conscience, remorse, and moral responsibility.

          Frightening.

    • Please read the update on this article as well. We’ve just learned that Tiffanie Rushton used the names of her 8-year old students to commit these violations.

      If we want to protect children, then Tiffanie Rushton should be removed from her job immediately.

    • I don’t see showing facts as a smear campaign. She also did not do a Christian thing when she began a “smear” campaign against me. She publicly went on facebook and posted that I was selling and sharing ARCs. However, she didn’t stop there. She went on to personally message every author I had done promotion for and told them that I had sold or pirated their ARC. These allegations against me were completely false and since she had no proof to back her claim, none of the authors believed her statements. There are screenshots of her changing story on the plagiarism. From the captured evidence, anyone can draw their own conclusion. In fact, when I took screen shots of her communications with me, I made sure to get both my and her messages in so the whole story could be seen. The messages she sent me are enough to make me shake my head (and I’m a psychology major). I hope that she gets whatever help she needs and I hope she has learned a lesson in plagiarizing.

      • Crystal – Most likely these are LDS people that are held to a higher standard because of oaths and promises made in holy places. We believe in being involved with things that are lovely and of good rapport, fleeing quick to forgive and slow to judge. This investigation is the opposite.

        • Please note that “K” / “Koster” is posting from Tiffanie Rushton’s computer at 12:20am, using similar email addresses at Yahoo and GMail.

          I’ll let you draw your own conclusions from that information.

          • Oh, goodness. I can’t even. I guess she hasn’t learned her lesson. I’m pretty confident that her lawyer (assuming she has retained one) would not approve of this.

          • Has someone notified Rachel Nunes that she did this? If Rachel is seeking an injunction to keep her from using aliases online, this evidence that she’s STILL doing it might be something her lawyer would want to know.

          • Yes, all relevant information is being forwarded to Rachel and her attorneys for use in the lawsuit.

        • When it comes to moral and ethical codes, I hold everyone to the same standards. Plagiarism is a violation of those codes no matter your religion. As for forgiving “you” (since it has been determined you are using Tiffanie’s computer), I forgave you a long time ago for the smear campaign you ran against me behind my back yet talked sweet to my “face”. But, when you break the law, it’s not up to us anymore. That is all in the hands of the court system. But, continuing to create aliases online and continuing to behave in such ways will not help you in your legal battle. Have a wonderful day.

          John, I’m sorry if I overstepped my boundaries with this comment, but it was just some things that needed to be said.

  44. John, could you please delete the last names of the aliases you listed that Mrs. Rusthon used? My daughter is one of those named and most of them were students from last year. Very young kids that should be protected. Thanks!

    • Absolutely, that’s been done. Please accept my apologies for any distress this may have caused. I assure you that I would never have posted those names if I’d had the tiniest suspicion that they belonged to minors.

      I hope that you will file a criminal report of identity theft with your police and the FTC. The sheer callousness of her actions and disregard for her students is frightening, and there needs to be a permanent record of it with the authorities in case she tries this kind of abuse elsewhere.
      http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0040-child-identity-theft

      You may wish to file a complaint with the US Department of Education’s Family Policy Compliance Office as well.
      http://www2.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/index.html

      The Utah Professional Practices Advisory Commission (UPPAC) is an advisory panel to the Utah State Board of Education, and they may be helpful in bringing disciplinary action to bear.
      http://www.schools.utah.gov/uppac/

      Again, please accept my deepest apologies for the inadvertent disclosure, and my sympathies for the pain Ms. Rushton’s betrayal has caused. I can’t imagine what you and your family must be feeling right now.

    • That is just twisted.

      She can’t even make up her own names.

    • I am so sorry that she used your child’s name in this mess she has gotten into. At the very least, she should have created her own aliases.

  45. No, I don’t believe so, Anita.

  46. This needs blog post needs to be taken down. My child’s name has popped up on other blogs because of this. Google Tiffanie Rushton and things are still popping up. “Redacting” is not enough. I will report you and discredit your investigation. God help you, especially if you are LDS and held to a higher standard.

    • “Koster,” I’m sure you’ll understand my skepticism of your claims, considering that this post originated from Tiffanie Rushton’s computer.

      Folks, this is precisely the kind of harassment Tiffanie regularly engages in. And sadly, as I predicted, she has not learned her lesson from the lawsuits and disciplinary actions filed against her.

    • Tiffanie-
      I know you have a lot of free time now that you have been suspended from your job, but attacking John is not the wisest thing to do with that free time. The facts presented have been handled well and presented in a fair light. The only one to blame for this whole mess is yourself. You chose to steal Rachel’s book. You chose to steal Chase’s story (have you even read the letter his wife wrote in his behalf? Do you feel no regret for tarnishing his experiences?) and You were the one who violated the trust of your students, their parents and the school by stealing their identities to promote pornographic books, write reviews for pornographic books and online bullying. I am curious how you think you could discredit this investigation, do you have any proof at all to your supposed innocence?

    • Today, I was in contact with the real Koster family, and they have confirmed that (a) nobody in their household has posted comments to this blog, and (b) those comments do not represent their feelings on the matter.

      As the comment above originated from Tiffanie Rushton’s computer, it’s fairly obvious that she is not only victimizing others, but she has now begun impersonating the parents of the victims as well.

  47. This needs to be taken down. My child’s name has popped up on other blogs because of this. Google Tiffanie Rushton and things are still popping up. “Redacting” is not enough. I will report you and discredit your investigation.

    • If anyone is in contact with the real Ms. Koster, would you please direct her to the comments made using her identity? I can be reached via the “Speak!” link at the top of the page, or by email to “johndopp@” this domain.

      Thank you!

    • Reposted from above:
      Today, I was in contact with the real Koster family, and they have confirmed that (a) nobody in their household has posted comments to this blog, and (b) those comments do not represent their feelings on the matter.

  48. Good gracious. Truth is indeed stranger than fiction. If this was made into a work of fiction, it would have to be toned down considerably, because readers would have a hard time finding it plausible.

    I am, by the way, a proud friend and supporter of Rachel Ann Nunes, who is a good, sincere person in real life; there is nothing forced or fake in her character that I have ever seen. And I appreciate and support John’s posts and comments here.

  49. In light of Ms. Rushton’s continuing treachery, it is impressive that Ms. Nunes’ lawyer is giving her attorney ANY slack to file his answer late.

  50. John, despite the legal aspects of redaction in a public posting, are you able to share the redacted names in a DM or an email? The picture of that woman haunts me. I’m certain that, somewhere in my followers-followed I have seen it. I want to distance myself from any of her accounts if possible. And… I just read another posting about this topic on ASMSG that linked to a book site that is offering My book for free. Of all the unmitigated gall; they want me to give them my credit card information before I can even see what they have done! I swear…

What are your thoughts?