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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Delaware

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, January 10, 2020

New York Man Sentenced To 18 Months In Federal Prison For Cyberstalking Conspiracy

WILMINGTON, Del. – U.S. Attorney David C. Weiss announced that Kristian James O’Hara, age 25, of Bardonia, New York, was sentenced today to 18 months in prison by the Honorable Colm F. Connolly, U.S. District Judge for the District of Delaware.  O’Hara pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit cyberstalking on April 3, 2019.

According to court documents and statements made in open court, O’Hara led an 18-month cyberstalking conspiracy designed to intimidate and harass a former college classmate and her parents.  From December 2016 through May 2018, O’Hara and his co-conspirator Vincent James Palesky harassed the victim and her parents in multiple ways.  They frequently sent late-night food orders to her apartment, spoofed phone calls to her phone, and left disturbing voicemails at her childhood home in Delaware, falsely claiming the victim gave them a sexually transmitted disease.  O’Hara drew upon his friendship with the victim in order to gain information about her location and her activities, which he then used to further his cyberstalking campaign. 

In May 2018, O’Hara escalated the conduct by signing up the victim’s work email address for membership at websites including Pornhub.com, barraging the victim’s new cell phone number with spoofed calls, and posting the victim’s name, likeness, and cell phone number on a sex-chat website.  Each time his victim took steps to deter him, O’Hara found new means to inject himself into her life.   The persistent nature of O’Hara’s conduct caused his victim to fear leaving her home alone.  

O’Hara and Palesky also cyberstalked five other individuals between 2016 and 2018, including former high school acquaintances, another college classmate, and coworkers.  O’Hara bragged to others about the “standard procedure” they used to psychologically harm victims.

U.S. Attorney Weiss stated, “This defendant used the Internet to terrorize a young woman and her parents.  He and his co-conspirator committed dozens of separate acts, culminating in the defendant posting the victim’s name and number on a sex-chat website.  Thanks to the courage of this family, the diligence of the lead FBI investigators, and assistance from other jurisdictions, O’Hara was quickly stopped and today appropriately punished.  Members of our community deserve to be free from criminal online harassment and to feel safe in their homes. We are committed to prosecuting Defendants who use the Internet to cyberstalk others.”

"Those who think they can use the anonymity of the Internet to terrorize people will quickly realize the investigative abilities of the FBI and cyber task force partners," said FBI Baltimore Special Agent in Charge Jennifer Boone. "The FBI’s mission is to protect the American people and we will always support our communities against cyberstalking."

This case was investigated by the FBI Baltimore - Wilmington Cyber Task Force, with support from the FBI New York Cyber Task Force, Newark Cyber Task Force, and the New York City Police Department, and the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices in District of New Jersey and Southern District of New York.   The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Whitney Cloud and Cybercrime Section Chief Jamie M. McCall. 

Topic(s): 
Cyber Crime
Component(s): 
Updated January 10, 2020