In all, there were about 100. Each said he had communicated with her. All expected sex.
The unrelenting onslaught was organized by an angry ex-boyfriend, who had assumed the woman’s identity online and crowdsourced his harassment to dozens of unwitting accomplices he lured to her home, prosecutors say in court papers.
The case, which goes to trial next month in federal court in Virginia, is among a number around the country in which stalkers are accused of stealing their victim’s online persona and using the power of social media as a weapon.
The Fauquier County woman thought it was only a matter of time before she was assaulted, raped — or worse. She turned her home into a fortress with security cameras, floodlights and a gate.
“I live in fear of anyone coming to my door,” the woman said. “I’m a prisoner in my own home.”
A relationship sours
Things began very differently.
The 64-year-old retired protocol officer for the Department of Defense lost her husband in 2009. The woman asked not to be named for fear of continued harassment.
She met Kenneth Kuban, a film preservationist at the Library of Congress, on a dating site in 2010. Like her, the 61-year-old worked for the government and had also recently lost his spouse. It seemed like a good match.
But she quickly realized they were not compatible. He used her barbecue grill as an ashtray and drank directly out of her milk container, court papers say. He had unusual proclivities in bed.
“He was just a Neanderthal type of man,” the woman said during a pre-trial hearing.
When she ended the relationship in February 2011, he responded with a barrage of daily phone calls and e-mails that continued for four months, according to prosecutors. He begged her to come back, but she said she ignored him.
She got a restraining order in July 2011.
Then Kuban, who has no criminal record, took to the Web, authorities said.
Another knock at the door
For a Prince George’s County woman, the nightmare began the same way — with a knock at the door.
The man on her doorstep last June told her she had invited him over for sex during an instant-message chat, according to court documents. She had no idea what he was talking about and told him she was not interested.
The 33-year-old mother of four had divorced Michael Anthony Johnson II, an unemployed computer specialist from Hyattsville, in 2011. Their relationship was tempestuous.
Johnson went to her home one night in 2011, got in her car and waited for her until the next morning. When she got in, Johnson wrapped his hands around her neck. She escaped, and Johnson was convicted of assault.
Now, she believed Johnson had her in his sights again. When she logged onto Craigslist in the days after the man showed up at her home, she found ad after ad. They had increasingly vile titles including one that read: “Rape Me and My Daughters.”