Intent to harass: Stalker pleads guilty to fake Craigslist sex ads
The former Library of Congress film preservationist, whose fake ads on Craigslist sent more than 100 men seeking sex to his ex-girlfriend's house, pleaded guilty to three felony counts August 12 in U.S. District Court.
Kenneth Kuban, 61, admitted that while purporting to be the ex-girlfriend, he'd posted at least 165 ads in the free website's "casual encounters" section, gave interested men her address in Fauquier County, told them to ignore the no-trespassing signs and security gate she'd had installed, and in some instances, directed them to perform specific sexual acts on her when they arrived at her house. Using both his home computer in Reva and his work computer in Culpeper, he set up fake email accounts to respond to inquiries.
Kuban was arrested in March and charged with four felony counts. He pleaded guilty to three of those: stalking in violation of a protective order, which carries a one-year mandatory sentence, identity theft, and violating a state protective order. He faces up to 15 years in prison.
Judge Glen Conrad questioned Kuban extensively about his decision to plead guilty. "I'm just taking responsibility for my actions," Kuban told the judge. "I did do most of the things the government said I did." He denied that he intended to "maim or hurt anyone," but admitted that he pretended to be the victim "not to intimidate, but to harass."
U.S. Attorney Tim Heaphy presented a detailed statement of facts. Kuban met the victim, referred to as "L.M." in court documents, in September 2010 on an online dating site and they had a romantic relationship until early February 2011, when L.M., a widow and retired protocol officer for the Department of Defense, told Kuban it was over.
He seemed to have a hard time letting go, and called her five to six times a day and sent numerous emails, according to Heaphy. In March 2011, he had a third party contact her, and in July 2011, he posed as her husband and had Verizon cancel her phone, email and Internet service.
The victim got a protective order in October 2011, and Kuban was forbidden to contact her— a prohibition he ignored by creating bogus profiles of the woman using her photo and personal information on a dating website, upon which he then made derogatory statements about her.
His first foray into harassment on Craigslist was to post a shed for sale under the pseudonym "Sara Jenkins," and then direct people to L.M.'s house.
The woman obtained a second protective order on December 26, 2012, and Kuban was prohibited to have indirect contact with her. A week later, he began posting the fake sex and porn-for-sale ads, some with her photo and address.
One man from Maryland came to her residence February 21 after being directed by Kuban to ignore the security gate. He broke the gate by bending its arm and proceeded on to the residence.
By March 12, undercover Library of Congress agents responded to one of Kuban's casual encounter ads, and he emailed two of the agents and urged them to come to L.M.'s home. When they arrived, Kuban wrote that he'd forgotten to unlock the gate, and told them to walk on up to her house.
He also posted a Craigslist ad for a load of free dirt to be dumped in her driveway. After his arrest, Kuban admitted that the purpose of his schemes was to make his ex's "life a living hell."
As far as the victim is concerned, he succeeded. The woman, 64, broke up with Kuban because of his conduct– she complained in an April bond hearing that he threw cigarette butts in her grill, drank orange juice and milk out of the bottle, and liked nipple torture— and his psychiatric issues. Kuban told the judge he had a history of depression.
"She was fearful that the telephone and email harassment may evolve into Kuban actually physically harming her," said Heaphy.
When numerous men began showing up at her door looking for sex, she grew concerned that one might attempt to harm her and that some might be sex offenders. "Out of fear, she began carrying a Kel-Tec P-11 9-millimeter handgun in her pocket in her own home," said Heaphy. She'd often keep her hand on the gun when she answered the door, he added.
Local police put a squad car near her driveway in February, and men still knocked on her door. One showed up with a crowbar, presumably to pry open her security gate, according to the prosecutor. Just before Kuban was arrested, he posted an ad for a group sex party at her house.
"In short, this is a sophisticated scheme, promulgated from a government computer," said Heaphy. "Frankly, it traumatized [the victim]."
Kuban said he'd changed his earlier "not guilty" plea after speaking to his fiancee, who was sitting in the courtroom. "I don't really have family members," he said. "We both agreed to it, that it was best for my welfare."
Judge Conrad reminded Kuban that the sentence would be based on "the outrageousness" of his conduct. "You're not a young man," he said. "It's a serious matter."
Sentencing is set for November 15.