Plymouth Man Pleads Guilty to Cyberstalking Campaign
BOSTON – A Plymouth man pleaded guilty today in federal court in Boston to anonymously stalking three women by text message and social media, including one woman he stalked throughout the 14-months that they dated.
Joseph Kukstis, 29, pleaded guilty to three counts of stalking by electronic means. U.S. District Court Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV scheduled sentencing for Nov. 19, 2018. Kukstis was arrested and charged in April 2018 and has been in custody since.
From August 2015 until February 2018, Kukstis targeted a woman he was dating, with an anonymous harassment campaign. Kukstis sent the victim hundreds of degrading text messages, many of which urged her to kill herself, and threatened that her harasser would come to her home. Kukstis also sent private, intimate pictures of the victim to her friends and acquaintances through a “spoofed” Instagram account he created in her name. In addition, Kukstis harassed men who he believed were romantically involved with the woman. Kukstis also attempted to obtain 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. In January 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.”
In connection with his plea, Kukstis also admitted to cyberstalking four other girlfriends and acquaintances. These included a friend from elementary school who he attempted to drive apart from her then boyfriend. Kukstis also sent the victim anonymous text messages stating that she was fat, worthless, and that she should kill herself.
Kukstis also cyberstalked another woman with whom he was in a romantic relationship. In early 2013, Kukstis texted the victim and her friends from anonymous phone numbers, calling her names and harassing her. He also attempted to access the victim’s email and social media accounts. The victim obtained a civil restraining order against Kukstis in February 2013.
In 2014, Kukstis was in a romantic relationship with another woman who he texted posing as her childhood crush and solicited intimate pictures of her. When she complied, Kukstis (posing as the childhood crush) threatened to tell Kukstis about this “betrayal” if she didn’t confess herself. In November 2014, as a result of these and similar encounters, the victim ended her relationship with Kukstis and obtained a civil restraining against him. Kukstis repeatedly violated the restraining order by contacting and anonymously harassing the victim.
In November 2017, Kukstis began messaging with another woman via Instagram, Snapchat, and text message. Kukstis also began sending the victim anonymous text messages through Pinger, including messages in which he posed as the victim’s ex-boyfriend, against whom she had a civil restraining order. When the victim confronted Kukstis for impersonating her ex-boyfriend, Kukstis responded with text messages stating: “You’re fat this was funny you suck;” “Glad your day is ruined;” and “Kill yourself [Jane Doe C].” Kukstis also sent the victim pictures of a partially clothed acquaintance of one of the other victims.
The charges of stalking provide 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.