When Stacey came to us, she was facing one of the most relentless and twisted stalkers we had ever come across.
When Stacey came to our office, she didn’t know who to trust. More than 120 bomb and shooting threats had been called in to local schools and daycares in her name, strangers had come to her house expecting to fulfill rape fantasies with her. Stacey’s pet-sitting clients had been told she went crazy and suffocated their animals, her family had been bombarded with child sexual abuse images.
It all started when the 25-year-old posted an ad for a housemate on the internet, and Ryan Lin responded.
The very day he came to look at the apartment, Lin accessed our client’s computer. He stole private photographs, personally identifiable information, and sensitive details about her medical, psychological and sexual history, and distributed the material to hundreds of people she knew. He impersonated her father online and sent montages of intimate photos of his daughter to all his professional colleagues encouraging them to masturbate to the pictures. Then came the shooting threats called in to local schools, the child abuse images flooding her family…
You might have thought this type of extreme, relentless stalking, which not only devastated Stacey, but terrorized an entire community (imagine trying to contain a school full of children, parents, and teachers under a shooting threat at letting-out time, or being one of the cops and the superintendents who had to do bomb sweeps of the school and were terrified there would be an active shooting and/or a real bomb), would be an easy homerun, right?
Not so simple. Just as relentless as Lin was, we had to push twice as hard with every solution, contact, and challenge we could pull out of the bag.
We needed to gain the trust of our horrified client, understand the situation and everyone involved, assemble the multitudes of complex evidence, package it up, and insist that our connections at the Department of Justice would meet with Stacey, take it seriously, and pursue the case.
At just 23 years old, Lin was a one-man wrecking crew. And we knew it would take a powerful team to support us in bringing him down. So we started assembling them.
US attorney Amy Bukart, Mona Sedky at the Dept of Justice, the Waltham Police dept, and folks at the FBI, all came together on behalf of our client. In fact, at Ryan’s sentencing, practically half of Waltham, Massachusetts turned up to give victim impact statements about his reign of terror on their town.
Lin pleaded guilty to 25 offenses that included distribution of child pornography, computer fraud and abuse, identity theft, and bomb threats.
He was sentenced to 210 months. That’s 17 ½ years.
And this week, the prosecution team in US v Ryan Lin won the 2019 Assistant Attorney General’s Award for Distinguished Service! To all of you, especially those at Waltham PD who were deeply invested in this case (dozens of cops and municipal workers and school board members were at the sentencing): Thank you for fighting alongside us to get safety and justice for Stacey.
The offenders we deal with aren’t all that unique. They follow patterns of behavior that we have come to understand after years of dealing with them. But each of our clients in unique, and the solutions we find and the teams we assemble to help them, are unique too. It is our job to remind you that you have a team, whether you know them yet or not. Your job it just to find them.