FRESNO (CBS SF) — The Department of Justice announced Thursday that a federal grand jury indicted a Ceres man for cyberstalking an Airbnb guest for most of this year.
The grand jury indicted Kevin James Strutz, 49, for harassing the victim, who officials identified only as an adult woman who stayed at his home in Ceres back in February of this year. The victim ended her stay early after she discovered a message on a cellphone that he left in the shared bathroom. Yet Strutz continued to contact her through social media — once through a fake Facebook profile — over the next several months, according to U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott.
“The messages became increasingly aggressive and one included an image of the victim exiting a shower that had been taken without her knowledge or consent at the Airbnb residence,” the Department of Justice said in a statement. “Strutz sent the image to her with a demand that she send him a sexually explicit video or he would send the photo to her friends and family.”
If convicted of the charges, Sturtz faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000-fine.
Local law enforcement also noted that Strutz may have victimized more than one person. Anyone with additional information or who believes that they might be a victim can contact the FBI at tips.fbi.gov.
To read the criminal complaint, visit the Department of Justice website.
Airbnb released the following statement regarding the case:
“We have no tolerance for the reported behavior and worked quickly to support the survivor once she brought it to our attention, including banning the associated host accounts from our platform at the time. We assisted the FBI in their investigation and hope justice is appropriately served.”