PENNSYLVANIA MAN SENTENCED FOR CYBER-STALKING AND CHILD PORNOGRAPHY OFFENSES
GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN – U.S. Attorney Patrick A. Miles, Jr., announced today that Joseph J. Ostrowski, 29, of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, was sentenced yesterday to serve 30 years in federal prison by a federal judge in the Middle District of Pennsylvania for offenses that included a charge of cyber-stalking in the Western District of Michigan.
The investigation of the cyber-stalking charge by the Lansing, Michigan FBI and the Michigan State University Police Department (MSUPD) resulted in the execution of a federal search warrant for Ostrowski’s residence in Wilkes-Barre in May 2012. That search resulted not only in the seizure of evidence of cyber-stalking of MSU students, but also in the discovery that Ostrowski – at the time the head football coach of a local high school – was committing numerous child-pornography felonies in Pennsylvania. Charged both in the Western District of Michigan with cyber-stalking and in the Middle District of Pennsylvania with numerous child pornography felonies, Ostrowski pled guilty to both cases in Pennsylvania as part of a plea agreement that allowed for the transfer of the Michigan case to Pennsylvania for guilty-plea and sentencing.
The investigation began in 2011 after MSUPD was made aware of MSU student social-networking sites being compromised and exploited by a then-unknown perpetrator to harass, threaten, and intimidate MSU students. When investigation by the MSU Police Computer Forensic Unit obtained information indicating that the perpetrator resided outside of Michigan, the Lansing FBI was contacted for assistance and joined the investigation. Working together, FBI and MSUPD obtained and executed the federal search warrant that resulted in Ostrowski’s arrest and ultimate conviction.
Commenting on the sentences, U.S. Attorney Miles stated, “Internet communications and social networking are positive in many respects, but they can also be very dangerous. Those who criminally exploit others through the Internet and social networks deserve prosecution. Thanks to the outstanding work of MSUPD and the FBI, there’s one more on-line predator out there who won’t be logging on again anytime soon.”
Addressing the fact that Ostrowski’s stalking crime involved taking over the social-network accounts of numerous victims by, in part, exploiting personal information that had been posted on those sites, Miles also observed, “People of all ages need to be careful and think twice about personal information they share on the Internet and to whom.”
Robert D. Foley III, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Detroit, added, “Those individuals who seek and obtain pornographic images of minors, and conduct intrusions through the Internet will face severe consequences for their crimes. The FBI is committed to working with the MSUPD and to holding these deplorable criminals accountable.”
The case was investigated by the Lansing and Wilkes-Barre offices of the FBI and by the MSUPD. It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Hagen W. Frank, who serves as the principal of the Identity Theft and Cybercrime Task-Force of the U.S. Attorney’s Office.