SAN DIEGO (CN) – A 29-year-old man faces up to 5 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to cyberstalking an ex-girlfriend in a relentless campaign that included electronic surveillance, hundreds of phone calls and following her into the women’s bathroom in a shopping mall and crawling under a locked stall to confront her.
Michael F. Lutz, of El Cajon, pleaded guilty Wednesday to cyberstalking, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
Court filings and his plea agreement show that Lutz “engaged in a lengthy course of conduct that caused the victim substantial emotional distress. He also placed the victim under secret electronic surveillance as part of his harassment campaign,” prosecutors said in a statement.
“According to court documents, Lutz harassed the victim on multiple occasions and in multiple ways. For example, Lutz chased the victim throughout a shopping mall, and when she tried to escape, he followed her into the women’s bathroom and climbed under a locked stall to confront her. He subsequently fought with police and security guards and was arrested. He also made hundreds of calls to the victim’s phone after she made clear that the romantic relationship was over. In addition, Lutz tracked the victim through Global Positioning System (GPS) technology on her phone and by illegally downloading a ‘keylogger’ program onto the victim’s computer, which permitted Lutz to spy on her Internet usage. Lutz also created a Facebook profile in the name and image of another person so he could continue interacting with the victim, despite a restraining order being in place. At the time of his arrest for cyberstalking, the defendant was in the Navy stationed in San Diego but has since been discharged.”
A sentencing hearing has been set for Sept. 19. The maximum penalty for cyberstalking (U.S. Code § 2261A(2)) is 5 years in prison.