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Hawaii man sentenced to supervision over cyberstalking

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A Hawaii man who pleaded guilty to cyberstalking a Utah family by sending more than 500 people to their house for unwanted services including food deliveries, plumbers and prostitutes was sentenced Thursday to three years of supervision and ordered to adhere to strict limitations on use of the internet.

Loren Okamura, 45, apologized while appearing from his home in Hawaii during a video conference hearing based out of U.S. District Court in Utah. Okamura said he was struggling with depression after his wife died when the cyberstalking occurred. He was given credit in the sentence for the nearly one year he spent in jail before being released in October 2020, several months after he accepted a plea deal.

“I would like to apologize for my actions,” Okamura said. “These events are not in my character. I’m looking to close my chapter and start a new chapter.”

Prosecutors called the case an “extreme” example of the darker and seedier side of modern technology.

Okamura’s online stalking in 2018-2019 targeted a father and his adult daughter who live in a quiet, middle-class suburb of Salt Lake City, prosecutors alleged. He sent the woman threatening messages and posted her picture and address online, authorities said. One email told the woman she should “sleep with one eye open and keep looking over her shoulder.”

The cyber harassment was “extensive and horrific,” said Karin Fojtik, a prosecutor handling the case for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Utah. She objected to loosening strict rules Okamura must follow to be able to use the internet.

Fojtik said having to get approval from his probation officer for internet use is “a small inconvenience on Mr. Okamura compared to the harassment that he imposed on the victim.”

U.S. District Judge Clark Waddoups agreed while giving Okamura’s probation officers permission to adjust the internet restrictions to enable Okamura to do some of the basic things needed to function in society.