Man charged with waging cyberstalking war against roommate

A Massachusetts man has been charged with waging a relentless cyberstalking campaign against his former roommate that included the creation of fake online accounts soliciting sex in her name that caused men to show up at her home, federal prosecutors said Friday.

Ryan Lin, 24, faces up to five years in prison if convicted of the cyberstalking campaign, which authorities said was so disturbing it forced the woman to move out of state. Lin's attorney declined to comment.

Lin began stalking the 24-year-old woman in April 2016, after he answered a Craigslist advertisement and moved into a house she was living in Watertown, near Boston, authorities said.

Prosecutors said Lin hacked into the woman's online accounts and stole private photos and diary entries from her computer that included details about her medical, psychological and sexual history. Lin then sent her personal information to hundreds of others, including her co-workers, young sister, and parents' colleagues, they said.

One email including sexually implicit images and diary entries was sent from a fake account using her father's name to employees of the New Hampshire school district, where her father lives, an FBI affidavit said.

Lin also created fake profiles of the woman on websites dedicated to prostitution and sexual fetishes that said she wanted to participate in a rape fantasy and "gang bang," authorities said. The phony posts caused at least three men she didn't know to show up at her home looking for sex, the affidavit stated.

Prosecutors said Lin also created a fake Facebook profile for one of the woman's roommates in a different house, in Waltham, that threated to "shoot up" a school. Another school shooting threat was made to look like it came from the woman's former boss, the affidavit said.

Lin graduated from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute with a degree in computer science, officials said.

For his initial court appearance on Friday, Lin was wearing glasses, jeans and a grey collared shirt as he was brought into the courtroom in handcuffs. Prosecutors asked for Lin to be held in jail, calling him a flight risk. Magistrate Judge David Hennessy set a detention hearing for next week.

Harold Shaw, special agent in charge of the FBI's Boston Field Division, said Lin's actions caused a "huge amount of angst, alarm, and unnecessary expenditure of limited law enforcement resources."

"This kind of behavior is not a prank, and it isn't harmless. He allegedly scared innocent people, and disrupted their daily lives, because he was blinded by his obsession," Shaw said.

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