Nova Scotia

Online hoax creator apologizes at hearing

A young Queens County woman apologized for the pain she caused by assuming a fake identity in an online romance.
Jessica Boudreau apologized for creating a fake online identity that upset the family of Brandon Wentzell. (CBC)

A young Queens County woman apologized today at an adult diversion hearing for the pain she caused by assuming a fake identity in an online romance.

Jessica Boudreau led on Brandon Wentzell, who eventually died after abusing alcohol and the painkiller Dilaudid.

She was eventually charged with public mischief and by going through the adult diversion process, Boudreau will avoid a trial  and possible legal punishment.

If she follows the conditions of the adult diversion program, she will also avoid a criminal record.

Derek Jones, Wentzell's uncle, says Boudreau's punishment is public humiliation.

"Although there wasn't anything said about this fictitious person, I know she knows she did wrong," Jones said after the hearing.

A double life

It started when the 18-year-old created a double life by taking on a fake online identity, calling herself Clarissa Chistiakov.

Then Boudreau led Bridgewater Police Service on a false suicide investigation, after texting Wentzell's mother, Cheryl Veinotte, saying Clarissa had committed suicide, just hours after her son died.

Boudreau used another woman's photo and started a virtual romance with 19-year-old Wentzell, and for months communicated with him on Facebook, the phone and through text messages.

Wentzell was repeatedly stood up by Clarissa, Veinotte says.

Her son died before he discovered that Clarissa was not real.

Wrapped in a lie

"I think she got so wrapped up in this whole internet thing and it just went so far that she didn't know when to stop it," Veinotte said. "Even after he had passed away, she wanted to stop but I don't think she … really knew how."

Five police officers investigated the claim of a sudden death.

"It's a serious, serious situation," said Sgt. David Ramey. "When you have an individual coming to us with false statements, it's just simply a waste of police time and resources."

"You spend all those resources and get nothing out of it, other than having to go back to the individual who made the initial complaint and charge that person.  It's a sad story."

Veinotte said she got the apology she wanted to hear.

"There was a lot of tears by myself. Jessica's dad, he shed tears as well. He was really sorry for what happened. I do genuinely feel Jessica is also sorry," said Veinotte.

Boudreau told Veinotte Wednesday she didn't know how to stop lying once she got started.

"She did cry, not as many tears as myself," Veinotte said after the hearing.

"I don't solely hold her responsible," Veinotte added. "She had a piece, Brandon had a piece and the person who gave Brandon the pills."