Washington woman sentenced to 52 months in prison for cyberstalking and harassing Montana man, public officials

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FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen at the United States Department of Justice headquarters in Washington, D.C.

MISSOULA  — A Washington woman who was convicted by a jury of cyberstalking a Montana man and Montana public officials by hacking the man’s email and sending harassing and threatening communications was sentenced today to 52 months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, U.S. Attorney Leif M. Johnson said.

Kathy Ann Hendrickson, also known as Kathy Thorberg, 60, of Walla Walla, Washington, was convicted on Feb. 16 of cyberstalking following a three-day trial.

U.S. District Judge Donald W. Molloy presided.

In court documents and at trial, the government presented evidence that Hendrickson met the victim, identified as John Doe, on a dating website sometime in 2015 or 2016. The two communicated online and eventually met in person on several occasions at John Doe’s residence in Trout Creek. John Doe ended the relationship and then suspected Hendrickson of stealing his personal information. Hendrickson started harassing John Doe as early as May 2018 when, using an anonymous email account, sent him an email stating, “I’m going to bring you down.”

Hendrickson also hacked into John Doe’s account, using a password she stole from his address book, and sent threatening emails, including death threats, to herself and to Sanders County Commissioners and another county employee. Hendrickson also used John Doe’s email address to send a threatening email to then-Governor Steve Bullock in another attempt to subject John Doe to law enforcement scrutiny.

Court documents further alleged that Hendrickson not only used a fake email account to harass victims, but also used a burner phone. While Hendrickson’s real phone contained incriminating evidence, the burner phone was not recovered during the investigation.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy J. Racicot prosecuted the case, which was investigated by the FBI.

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