ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - An Anchorage man was sentenced to spend years behind bars after being found guilty of "cyberstalking" his former girlfriend, the same woman he was already on release for allegedly physically assaulting.
Jeffery Ray Ward, 41, of Anchorage, was sentenced to serve 40 months in prison and an additional three years of supervised release by a district judge on Monday.
At the sentencing, the judge laid out why he felt the sentence was important. “To call this a serious crime is an understatement,” judge Timothy Burgess said, adding that he was “concerned about protecting other women” in the community from Ward.
The reason behind this concern dates back to 2017, when Ward was charged with domestic violence against the same woman. While on release for that crime, the victim told police he then violated a protective order by electronically stalking, or "cyberstalking" her via social media.
According to the victim, Ward threatened to put the victim's "dirt on blast" and hacked her social media accounts, posting nude, sexually explicit photos of the victim in areas available to her friends and family to see. Additionally, he changed her associated email address and passwords, so that she could not regain control of her social media account.
“While a significant amount of our efforts go toward drug trafficking related and firearms based violent crime, domestic violence is an insidious threat to Alaskan families," said U.S. Attorney Bryan Schroder. "Where appropriate, the U.S. Attorney’s Office will bring charges to hold domestic abusers accountable.”
The Anchorage Police Department's cyber detectives department, whose goal is to protect Anchorage residents while online, said they were "pleased to partner with the US Attorney’s office to prosecute Mr. Ward.”