Charges: Eric Bolduan used social media, porn to stalk 'more than 50' victims

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FBI

Eric Bolduan, 43, and a married man who lives in Rochester and works as a software engineer, is facing federal charges for "stalking" and "interstate communications" for his alleged harassment of "multiple female college athletes" in Colorado. 

Bolduan stalked and threatened four young women living in Colorado during 2015 and 2016, the complaint alleges. Investigators also believe "there were more than 50 other victims of similar activity across the United States." 

Bolduan's Minnesota criminal record includes a 1993 conviction for attempted criminal sexual conduct and a 2004 conviction for indecent exposure.

In Colorado, Bolduan is accused of using social media sites such as Instagram to download photos of his victims, who were students at the University of Colorado, and then finding pornographic photos featuring women who looked like them. Bolduan would upload the women's actual photos alongside the graphic images onto porn websites, "often include the victim’s name, school, and contact information," as a ploy to "portray the victim as involved in pornography and promiscuous behavior."

He would then email links to these sites to the victims, their family members, professors, athletic coaches, and teammates, according to the complaint, though at that point Bolduan's harassment campaigns were only beginning.

In the case of one victim, after uploading her images with her real name -- calling her an "exposed slut" and telling users to "repost anywhere" -- Bolduan allegedly contacted first her employer, then her father, using alias email accounts to spread the pornographic photos. Using a search of the woman's name, an investigator later found images on nine different porn websites.

Bolduan later contacted the victim directly via text message, writing: "My dick will soon be in you. Many times." And, in another message: "Do the honorable thing... and kill yourself you dumb slut." In an online comment left on a WordPress blog belonging to the victim, another alias said he planned on "hunting" her, then describing in detail his plans to kidnap, rape, torture, and murder her.

To another victim, also at the University of Colorado, Bolduan followed the same pattern of mixing her real photos with graphic porn, and encouraged her to either "leave the university and never come back" or "commit suicide." In another message, Bolduan threatened to kill both the victim and her sister.

To yet another Colorado student, Bolduan (using an alias) allegedly wrote that he had seen her on campus and "approached [her] from behind" while carrying a knife in his pocket. He wrote that he wanted to "take it out and slash your neck with it," but did not because "there were too many people around." As with other victims, emails sent to the woman described in detail how she would die a violent death at the hands of her stalker.

The last of the disturbing emails quoted in the criminal complaint was sent in October 2016. Bolduan apparently used numerous tricks to cover his tracks online, both when uploading material to websites and sending emails; it took FBI investigators until June 2017 to obtain a search warrant for his house in Rochester.

Bolduan "admitted to being responsible for all of the harassment and threatening activity" against the four women in Colorado, and investigators found digital evidence in his home linking him to their stalking. At first, Bolduan told an FBI agent that he had pursued his victims to "draw attention" to the issue of "revenge porn," and admitted he was partly motivated by "anger and frustration" brought on by his impotence, which he said was the result of a medical condition.

In a subsequent email quoted in the complaint, Bolduan wrote this was true, but that his initial motivation was overtaken by "the intent of upsetting and frightening the victims and making them fear for their lives," a cause for which he wrote "there can be no justification."

In late October, Bolduan was indicted on three counts each of stalking and violating federal interstate communications laws, charges which relate only to his alleged crimes against the victims in Colorado. Each crime carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and/or a $250,000 fine.

Bolduan made an initial court appearance in federal court in Denver on Thursday, and his arraignment is schedule for Tuesday.


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