Plymouth Man Charged with Cyberstalking Campaign
BOSTON – A Plymouth man was arrested today and charged in federal court in Boston with anonymously stalking a woman by text message and social media for more than two years, including throughout the 14-months that they dated.
Joseph Kukstis, 29, was charged with one count of stalking by electronic means. He will appear before U.S. District Court Chief Magistrate Judge David H. Hennessy later today.
According to the charging documents, between September 2015 and about October 2017, Kukstis targeted the victim with an anonymous harassment campaign that was intended to cause - and did cause – the victim substantial emotional distress.
Kukstis’ course of conduct included: (1) sending the victim hundreds of degrading text messages, many of which urged her to kill herself; (2) instilling fear in the victim that her harasser was coming to her home; (3) sending private, intimate pictures of the victim to her friends and acquaintances through a “spoofed” Instagram account he created in the victim’s name; (4) harassing men who Kukstis believed were romantically involved with the victim; and (5) attempting to obtain or obtaining unauthorized access to the victim’s social media accounts.
Kukstis also sent himself harassing messages that he then shared with the victim, purportedly as proof to her that he, too, was a victim of the stalking.
On Jan. 22, 2018, Kukstis sent an e-mail from an account in his own name to the victim, saying: “it was me the entire time, I hate myself for it.”
The charge of stalking provides for a sentence of no greater than five years in prison, three years of supervised release, a fine of $250,000, and restitution. Sentences are imposed by a U.S. district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling and Harold H. Shaw, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division, made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorney Seth B. Kosto of Lelling’s Cybercrime Unit is prosecuting the case.
The details contained in the charging documents are allegations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.