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In Ohio, Man Sentenced to 8 Years

September 11, 2002

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CLEVELAND (AP) _ A man convicted under stricter federal laws that outlaw cyber-stalking was sentenced to eight years in prison.

In June, a jury convicted Eric Bowker, 39, of stalking television reporter Tina Knight by sending obscene e-mails and telephone messages and by stealing her mail.

He became the first person in Ohio to be convicted under an expanded federal stalking law enacted in 2000 that includes the Internet.

U.S. District Judge John Manos sentenced Bowker on Tuesday to eight years and ordered him to undergo therapy.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Edward Feran said Bowker began e-mailing Knight in spring 2000, shortly after she started working at WKBN in Youngstown, Ohio.

Later, the messages became obsessive and obscene, prosecutors said, and they continued even after Knight took a job at another station and moved to Charleston, W.Va.

At the time Bowker was convicted, defense attorney Richard Lillie said Bowker’s actions were ``sad, pathetic and ridiculous″ but not a crime. ``He was infatuated, but infatuation is not criminal,″ he said. He had said he planned to appeal.

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