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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of New York

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Hamburg Man Pleads Guilty To Stalking A Local News Reporter

CONTACT: Barbara Burns
PHONE: (716) 843-5817
FAX #: (716) 551-3051

BUFFALO, N.Y. - U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that Paul E. Lubienecki, 63, of Hamburg, NY, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara to stalking. The charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. 

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Aaron J. Mango and Charles M. Kruly, who is handling the case, stated that the defendant harassed and intimidated Victim 1, a local television reporter, causing the victim to be in reasonable fear of death and serious bodily injury, and causing substantial emotional distress. Specifically, on six separate occasions between August 20, 2019, and February 4, 2020, Lubienecki left harassing and threatening voicemails for Victim 1 relating to the victim’s reporting on the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo, which appeared on Channel 7 WKBW. The defendant left these voicemails with the intent to harass and intimidate Victim 1. Lubienecki used a TracFone cellular telephone with a phone number that appeared as “unknown” when he left these voicemails.

“While the First Amendment guarantees freedoms regarding both religion and expression,” stated U.S. Attorney Kennedy, “it does not protect a pattern of conduct—such as that admitted to by this defendant—which causes substantial emotional distress or creates a reasonable fear of the death or serious bodily injury to another.” 

The plea is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Stephen Belongia, and the East Aurora Police Department, under the direction of Chief Shane Krieger.

Sentencing is scheduled for November 9, 2021, at 12:30 p.m. before Judge Arcara.

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Updated August 3, 2021