A federal judge yesterday sentenced Joseph Kukstis, 29, to 41 months in prison for cyberterrorizing several women - and their family members and friends - over a three-year period.
The US Attorney's summarizes summarizes the case against Kukstis for just the one Boston woman he was dating even as he was trying to ruin her life:
From August 2015 until February 2018, Kukstis targeted a woman he was dating through an anonymous harassment campaign, whereby he 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. In addition, Kukstis 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.”
A second woman, whom Kukstis targeted only after they broke up - after four months - filed a victim statement that describes the effect of being barraged by hundreds of hateful messages, and having similar messages being constantly sent to her friends and family members:
have a layer of anxiety that covers me and keeps me from trusting not just the men I choose to date, but everyone; in fear this could happen again. I prefer not to be alone because I am worried that I will be cornered in a bad situation and in the instance that Mr. Kukstis shows up, I would be anxious and terrified to see him, even after all this time has passed. Unfortunately, as a result of Mr. Kukstis, I still live in fear every single day that I could be harassed to the point of depression and suicidal thoughts like I was five years ago. I have not had any desire to pursue a long-lasting relationship since I was twenty years old and I’m not sure I will again. I see a therapist regularly and have been working hard for five years to eliminate some of the negative thoughts and feelings tied to this crime, however I’m not sure I will ever fully heal. I am fearful Mr. Kukstis will retaliate against me for coming forward and speaking about this. Nevertheless, I know how important it is to share my experience and how this has impacted my life in order to show the court the impact Mr. Kukstis has had on my life.
The sentencing memorandum by prosecutors goes into just what he did in far greater detail.
In August, Kukstis pleaded guilty to three counts of stalking by electronic means. He has been in federal custody since his arrest in April.
His attorney sought a sentence of no more than 18 months, saying Kukstis is really, really sorry, has finally ditched the drugs that influenced his behavior and that he realizes he was a maladroit misfit who didn't really know how to handle relationships:
During the last several years, he failed to grasp the seriousness of this kind of conduct. His manner of handling rejection and trust in relationships was immature at best, frightening at worst. He affected the lives of people he cared about and, in one instance, someone he did not know well at all. He accepts responsibility for each act. He now expresses understanding of the wrongfulness of his conduct, and regret for how he hurt those around him. He is rational and clear-headed without the high dosages of medication and marijuana that predated his incarceration.
His attorney continued:
The requested sentence of 18 months balances the need for incarceration with the goals of rehabilitation. Mr. Kukstis has never served a jail sentence before. The last seven months away from his family have been eye opening. Mr. Kukstis spent this time taking available classes and communicating with his family. He looks forward to the opportunity to participate in additional counseling and mental health treatment on supervised release.