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Press Release

Portland Man Sentenced in Online Threat Case

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Oregon

The Creator of Malicious Websites is Sentenced to Federal Prison

PORTLAND, Ore. – The creator of websites that facilitated the posting of malicious and defamatory information about people was sentenced to federal prison today for making a threatening communication.  United States District Judge Marco A. Hernandez sentenced Cyrus Andrew Sullivan to 24 months in federal prison for making a threatening communication to a victim of one of Sullivan’s websites.  Sullivan, 30, resided in Portland, Oregon before his arrest in the case. 

The case arose from an investigation involving websites created by Sullivan, which facilitated the posting of malicious and defamatory information about people.  The people about whom such information had been posted were informed they could pay a fee to another website created by Sullivan to have some of the information removed.  Sullivan’s conduct gained so much notoriety that he was the subject of a national television show hosted by Anderson Cooper in March of 2012.

One of Sullivan’s victims, a woman from Portland, Oregon, demanded that Sullivan remove false and malicious information about her on one of the websites.  When Sullivan refused to remove the information unless she paid him $10,000, she fought back.  She aggregated publicly available information about Sullivan and posted it online for other people, including other victims, to see.  On June 4, 2012, when Sullivan realized what the victim had done, he threatened to kill her.  On June 7, 2012, Sullivan was arrested by detectives with the Portland Police Bureau, and has been in custody since that time.  He has prior convictions for criminal mischief in the second degree, assaulting a public safety officer, harassment, and recklessly endangering other persons. 

The defendant was initially charged in Multnomah County Circuit Court with coercion, but that case was dismissed in favor of federal prosecution.  On April 15, 2013, Sullivan pleaded guilty to making a threatening communication.  In pleading guilty, he admitted that he sent an email message via the Internet containing a threat to kill another person, which a reasonable person would take as a serious expression of an intention to inflict bodily harm.  His sentence was enhanced because he made multiple threats.  His sentence was also enhanced because he engaged in obstructive conduct which involved threatening the victim and a judge during a release hearing, and threatening an investigator with the Oregon Consumer Protection Section of the Oregon Department of Justice. 

Upon release from custody, Sullivan will serve a three year period of supervised release.  During his supervised release he must abide by a number of conditions which include mental health counseling, and restricted access to computers and the Internet.

The case was investigated by the Portland Police Bureau, the Oregon Consumer Protection Section of the Oregon Department of Justice, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with the assistance of the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office.  The case was prosecuted by Assistant U. S. Attorney Sean B. Hoar.

Updated January 29, 2015