Alabama Man Charged With Aggravated Stalking and Cyber Stalking

People have the right to privacy, and they have the right to not have their peace disturbed.  When their privacy and/or peace are violated, it can lead to criminal charges as we see in this case.

Sean Michael Vest

NPR reports that in January 2017, the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office arrested 31-year old Sean Michael Vest on 15 counts of aggravated stalking and cyber-stalking.  The alleged harassment occurred between December 16, 2016 and the time that Vest was arrested in January.  The Sheriff then began looking for more alleged victims in a complex cyber-stalking case.

According to Pensacola News Journal, in the six weeks following his arrest, 32 alleged victims have come forth, and the number of counts against Vest increased to 26.

Vest represented himself as ‘”Mr. Pervert.”  He used a series of harassing text messages and phone calls to several women by pulling their public photos off social media.  He did that through all hours of the day and night.  Deputy Amber Bernard is leading the investigation and stated about Vest’s actions;

 “He then used these photos on some sexual dating websites, along with some graphic images and graphic content.”

Vest is also accused of collecting photographs of victims, including children, from social media sites and selling them to sexual websites. 

Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan says;

“We want the public to understand that if you engage in Facebook; any sort of social media activity – if you post pictures of yourself and your children, we sadly live in a world today that there are no protections for you not ending up a victim of an Internet-based crime.”

One of the victims changed her telephone number, but the same text messages started coming through to her husband, mother and mother-in-law.

Vest used programs that gave him phone numbers outside of the United States.  However, one of the phone numbers he allegedly used was linked to a Facebook account in his name.

Police narrowed their investigation to victims having something in common, and found that several were from the same graduating class at Catholic High School.  They singled out Vest as someone who has a problem with them.

A statement that speaks volumes was made by Assistant State Attorney John Molchan who said that one challenge to cyber-stalking is that it didn’t exist 20-25 years ago.

“This is one of those areas of the law where the law has not caught up with the technology that is out here,” Molchan said. “This is one of those cases that we will learn from.”

Sean Michael Vest is in the Escambia County Jail under $375,000 bond.  His next court appearance is scheduled for May.  If convicted, Vest faces 75 years in prison.

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3 Responses to Alabama Man Charged With Aggravated Stalking and Cyber Stalking

  1. crustyolemothman says:

    “This is one of those areas of the law where the law has not caught up with the technology that is out here,” Molchan said. “This is one of those cases that we will learn from.”

    Of course the law has not caught up with the problem! It is the politicians who refuse to take action and pass laws that would help to prevent this from happening that are at fault, and in most of the southern states the prosecutors would not take action even if the laws were in place. They see this as a victimless crime, until it happens to one of them, then suddenly it is a major incident. I hope this man, if found guilty, is sentenced to enough years in prison to cause other perverts like him to think twice in the future!

    • Xena says:

      Mothman,
      Last year I had several conversations with a legislative aid for a state senator. We talked about laws that are as good a blank pieces of paper because State Attorneys will not charge.

      The legislative aid reached out to someone in Springfield who told him that all Illinois law has civil options. Now, that’s just great! Throw victims into the civil courts at their expense for what State Attorneys refuse to do.

      Regarding “victimless” crimes, I spoke to several people who came by campaigning for mayoral candidates in or most recent election. I shared with them that whenever there is a crime, there is a victim. The two candidates running for major parties both expressed how they would concentrate less on “victimless crimes” and more on “violent crimes.” One conversation was very good, because I explained to the person the history of so-called victimless crimes in Chicago and how it led to vigilantes, more gangs for “protection”, and violent crimes. That’s mainly because until the perpetrator is charged, he/she continues to brutalize and victimize people.

      That is what law enforcement needs to keep in mind.

      • crustyolemothman says:

        Perhaps it might be seen as a stretch, but these laws are enforced sort of like the laws that allow a poor man to go to prison for stealing a loaf of bread and not a rich man who steals millions of dollars in a “white collar” crime. Once again we see the weak link in the system is the states attorney fail to do their job of prosecuting the criminals equally! These same states attorney and their federal counterparts will go out of their way to ensure that only the cases they want to prosecute make it to the court system. They will intimidate private citizens by threating to lock them up if they reveal their corruption, and the citizens are at their mercy because the deck is stacked against them. Oh well, life is too short to spend worrying about the past and we need to work to force positive change to the system…

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