UGA student charged with cyberstalking Massachusetts woman

Georgia

(WRBL) – A University of Georgia graduate student is set to go before a federal judge on April 23 on charges of cyberstalking and extortion through interstate threats.

Gary E. leach, 23, of Athens, Ga. was arrested by the FBI after an investigation into his contact with a 24 year old resident of eastern Massachusetts known as Victim 1.

According to charging documents, Leach obtained private video calls and photographs of a sexual nature from the victim through false promises of payment and secretly recorded the victim during these calls. Leach allegedly threatened to share the recordings with the victim’s family if she did not continue to send him content of a sexual nature over Instagram. The charging documents also say Leach repeatedly harassed and extorted the victim for additional interactions of a sexually explicit and degrading nature.

Leach is accused of using anonymous Instagram accounts to contact and harass the victim, including accounts featuring nicknames for the victim and several variations of the username “u.kno_who.”

Charging documents show when Victim 1 tried to block messages and follow requests from Leach’s numerous accounts, Leach created other Instagram accounts from which to contact her. 

The charge of stalking by electronic means provides for a sentence of up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. The charge of extortion by interstate threat of injury to reputation provides for a sentence of up to two years in prison, one year of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

You can read the affidavit detailing the charges against Leach below.

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