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Calif. To Try 1st Cyber-Stalk Case

January 23, 1999

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ In the first case filed under a new state cyber-stalking law, prosecutors say a 50-year-old man retaliated against a woman who rebuffed his advances by impersonating her on the Internet as someone who fantasizes about being raped.

The woman was not physically harmed, but six men showed up at her small North Hollywood apartment between last April and July saying they were responding to her online ads.

The woman didn’t even own a computer.

Gary Steven Dellapenta, a security guard, is charged with stalking; using a computer to commit fraud, deceive or extort; and solicitation to commit sexual assault, district attorney spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons said Thursday. He was jailed in lieu of $300,000 bail.

His lawyer, Irene G. Nunez, declined to comment.

Prosecutors said Dellapenta met the woman at church. His romantic advances were unrelenting, and she asked the church’s elders to oust him from the congregation, prosecutors said.

Authorities said Dellapenta sent e-mails to men who responded to his ads posted on America Online and other Internet sites. They said Dellapenta not only told numerous men what the victim looked like, her address and phone number, but how to bypass her home security system.

California’s cyber-stalking law took effect Jan. 1. The law applies to e-mails, faxes, the Internet, pagers or any electronic communication.

Similar laws exist in Arizona, Alaska, Connecticut, New York, Oklahoma and Wyoming.

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