Former Drexel University Student Sentenced for Cyberstalking Classmate
PHILADELPHIA – United States Attorney William M. McSwain announced today that Jacob Waitze, 23, of Southbury, Connecticut, was sentenced today to 24 months’ imprisonment, followed by 3 years’ supervised release. Waitze previously pleaded guilty to cyberstalking in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2261A(2)(b).
During the 2015-16 school year, Waitze, a former Drexel University student, used a computer and the Internet to engage in a campaign of harassment and intimidation against a Drexel student following a personal dispute with the student. Waitze impersonated the victim in a variety of Internet forums, suggesting that the victim was either a pedophile who needed help or someone interested in receiving child pornography material. In doing so, the communications and statements Waitze made typically included the victim’s true name, the victim’s actual e-mail address, photographs of the victim, and/or actual personal details concerning the victim, such as the victim’s status as a Drexel student. As a result, the victim received multiple unwanted emails, both from persons who were offended by the posts and from persons who wanted to engage the victim in conversations related to child pornography.
“In taking on the victim’s persona online, Waitze used the Internet as a weapon to carry out his personal vendetta,” said U.S. Attorney McSwain. “By giving others the impression that this victim was interested in child exploitation, Waitze caused the victim a great deal of harm. Today’s sentence demonstrates that my Office will hold cyberstalkers accountable when they misuse technology in this manner.”
“HSI is hopeful that today’s sentencing provides the victim in this case a sense of relief after the months of abuse and harassment they endured at the hands of Mr. Waitze,” said Marlon V. Miller, Special Agent in Charge of HSI Philadelphia. “HSI takes these crimes seriously and will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to hold accountable cyberstalkers who cause long-lasting damage to the reputations of their victims for their own selfish gain.”
The case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations, the Philadelphia Police Department, and the Drexel University Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Seth Schlessinger.