The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

February 20, 2013

This Internet romance has an unhappy ending

By MARK TODD - mtodd@starbeacon.com
Star Beacon

JEFFERSON —  A months-long cyberspace romance ended with a big thud over the weekend after the couple’s first face-to-face meeting, according to the Ashtabula County Sheriff’s Office.

A Cleveland man, after falling out of favor with his local love interest, reportedly threatened to manipulate images of the woman she has transmitted to him over the past few months, and also sent her threatening texts, deputies said.

The sheriff’s office was contacted Saturday by a 20-year-old Geneva Township woman about the incident. The woman told deputies she had met the man through an on-line dating service and had conducted a seven-month Internet relationship with him.

The woman extended an invitation to meet Saturday at the home of her mother. The session apparently did not go well, deputies said. The woman and her mother grew suspicious of the man’s boasts, including a claim he was ready to purchase a $3 million house, and concluded he was a liar, according to a report. The man was informed he was no longer the woman’s boyfriend and was asked to leave.

He left, but later began sending a series of “hurtful” texts to the woman and — at one point — indicated he knew how to “do things” to the photos the woman had sent him over the months. The woman got the impression he was going to paste her face onto the bodies of naked women and send the images out on the Internet, deputies said.

Deputies contacted the 26-year-old man, who initially was wary of speaking, citing his constitutional rights, according to a report. Asked if he had indeed hinted he would do something with the woman’s photos, the man was vague, deputies said.

The man was advised by a deputy to cease the texting and not to contact the woman any further, according to a report.