Abuse of Usenet: Cyberstalked

The Story Continues: January 1, 1999-Present

If you are new to this site, please read Abuse of Usenet: Cyberstalked - How It All Began first; read about the cyberstalkers arrested; or jump to the most recent update.
A collection of media that discuss this case

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Hitchcock's lawyer, John Young, notified her on January 8, 1999:
"Stephen Weingrad made a motion to be relieved as counsel to Sprachmann and Leonard."
Cyberstalking: A Real-Life Problem
Amy Lynn Boyer
CyberSnitch Headquarters
Computers and Law Web Site
Protecting Yourself From Online Crime
The CyberPrivacy Primer
The National Center For Victims of Crime
Department of Justice
Office for Victims of Crime
Safety Ed
The Terrifying Truth About
Online Stalking
Cyberstalked: Our Family's Story
Are you being stalked?

On a related note, Weingrad is in hot water himself, according to the 7 January 1999 issue of the Legal Newswire,
"2nd Circuit Sanctions Attorney for Poor Brief
The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals took the unusual step this week of sanctioning New York attorney Stephen Weingrad, and not his client, for filing a deficient appellate brief in a copyright case. The panel, possibly signaling a new get-tough attitude toward appellate advocacy, ordered Weingrad to pay his adversary's appellate fees, estimated to be close to $30,000, as a sanction for a frivolous appeal. (New York Law Journal)"

Eric Wenger from the New York State Attorney General's Office notified Hitchcock and her lawyer on 8 February 1999 that:

"I just received a copy of an Order 
from Justice Abdus-Salaam that strikes the 
pleadings of the Woodside respondents (for their 
failure to attend a series of court conferences) 
and grants us the relief that we requested, 
including injunctive relief, restitution, costs 
and penalties."

On 9 February 1999, Hitchcock testified before the New Hampshire legislature on behalf of House Bill 345-FN, which would make email harassment a Class A misdemeanor. The bill is going to a sub-committee, of which Hitchcock is a part of. For more information, please read the full text of the bill.

Hitchcock received a generous contribution to the HELP Fund on 10 February 1999 from the Eventemp Corporation. Please read the details of this in a post that appeared in the news.admin.net-abuse.email newsgroup.

Hitchcock was scheduled to be deposed by defendant Ursula Sprachman via telephone on 17 February 1999. Sprachman canceled the deposition (this is the second time a deposition has been canceled by Sprachman).

The NYS Attorney General's Office released their official press release, "SPITZER OBTAINS JUDGMENT AGAINST PHONY ONLINE LITERARY" on 17 February 1999.

Hitchcock was notified that NH House Bill 345-FN passed the House amended and is headed to the senate. The amended bill is now online.

Hitchcock testified before the NH Senate Panel on 19 May 1999 on behalf of the above- mentioned amended bill. The bill was unanimously passed and will go into effect when Governor Jeanne Shaheen signs the bill instead of January 1, 2000, the date noted in the bill text. Hitchcock is also working with other New England states on getting the same kind of Internet harassment bill passed.

The defendants Sprachman and Leonard have not retained a new attorney as of this date.

Jayne Hitchcock and the whoaprez received a contribution and supportive letter from the Bookmark Literary Agency in New York City.

Hitchcock was present on 25 June 1999 when New Hampshire Governor Jeanne Shaheen signed HB345 into law, making online harassment/cyberstalking a crime. It is a Class A Misdemeanor offense, with fines up to $2,500 and/or up to a year in jail. The law went into effect immediately, at approximately 1:45 p.m. on 25 June 1999. Hitchcock is now hoping to get an emergency bill passed in Maine this fall.

Hitchcock was named President of WHOA (Working to Halt Online Abuse) by past President and WHOA Founder Lynda Hinkle.

Hitchcock's civil suit is in the deposition/discovery phase; a pre-trial hearing was scheduled for 7 December 1999 at Eastern District Court in New York, with depositions of the defendants scheduled for that day and the day before.

The defendants did not show up for either the scheduled depositions nor the pre-trial hearing. Hitchcock's lawyer was asked to submit a letter to Judge Gershon regarding this, so she could make a decision.

Before Hitchcock's lawyer could get the letter to the judge, one of the defendants, Ursula Sprachmann, contacted the judge and claimed Hitchcock's lawyer had not properly followed civil procedure for discovery. (NOTE: Discovery has been ongoing for three years, yet the defendant decided to now question it). The judge rescheduled the hearing for 14 Jan 2000 at Eastern District Court in Brooklyn, New York.


On 10 January 2000, Hitchcock received a telephone call from John McDermott, the U.S. Postal Inspector from Hicksville, New York. He told her:

"James Leonard and Ursula Sprachmann were arrested today and they're in my custody. They'll be going to federal court in Uniondale (New York) where they will be processed on charges of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and perjury."

Here is a copy of the legal documents filed by the USPIS against James Leonard aka John Lawrence and Ursula Sprachman.

Leonard and Sprachman made bail on 10 January 2000 ($50,000 bond each, of which $10,000 was cash). Sprachman has retained a lawyer for the criminal charges and both Sprachman and Leonard aka Lawrence have pleaded the "fifth" in Hitchcock's case, canceling the scheduled pre-trial hearing on 14 January 2000 for fear of "incriminating" themselves in their criminal case.

James Leonard aka John Lawrence got more bad news on Friday, 28 January 2000 when he appeared at a hearing in Uniondale, NY to get a lawyer appointed to him. Magistrate Orenstein informed Leonard that his wife (Sprachman) had plenty of assets, so he would have to hire a lawyer. Immediately after the hearing, US Postal Inspector John McDermott arrested Leonard on a new charge - making false statements to a federal officer. The false statements were when Leonard was asked at the previous arrest if he had a criminal record and he said he did not. McDermott found that Leonard not only had a criminal record, but that he'd done prison time on charges that include burglary (this happened about 20 years ago).

Leonard was also denied an appointed lawyer for this new charge and was held on $50,000 bond and $10,000 cash bail. Since it was after normal banking hours, it's thought that Leonard will have to spend the weekend in jail.

US Postal Inspector McDermott informed Hitchcock on 22 February 2000 that Sprachman and Leonard (aka Lawrence) were indicted on charges of conspiracy to commit mail fraud, perjury and making false statements to a federal officer. Their lawyers are reviewing paperwork provided by the USPIS and will either have their clients plead guilty or go to trial.

The federal trial of Ursula Sprachman and James Leonard aka John Lawrence was scheduled for 22 May 2000 in New York City, but was canceled on 17 May 2000 when they decided to plead guilty instead. They have agreed to pay restitution to writers who paid them money. If anyone paid them money or would like to write a letter to the judge, please e-mail Jayne Hitchcock for further information.

Ursula Sprachmann and James Leonard aka John Lawrence will be sentenced on 26 July 2000.

POSTPONEMENT #1: Sentencing of Sprachman and Leonard aka Lawrence has been postponed until 23 August 2000.

POSTPONEMENT #2 - Sentencing of Sprachman and Leonard aka Lawrence has been postponed until 10 October 2000.

POSTPONEMENT #3 - Sentencing of Sprachman and Leonard aka Lawrence has been postponed once again, to 30 November 2000.

POSTPONEMENT #4 - Sentencing of Sprachman and Leonard aka Lawrence has been postponed again, to 18 January 2001; Hitchcock's lawyer has a conference scheduled for 31 January 2001 for her civil suit.

POSTPONEMENT #5 - Sentencing of Sprachman and Leonard aka Lawrence has been postponed to 02 March 2001.

POSTPONEMENT #6 - Sentencing of Sprachman and Leonard aka Lawrence was postponed again to 25 April 2001

POSTPONEMENT #7 - Federal sentencing is now scheduled for 08 May 2001. The hearing for Hitchcock's civil suit is scheduled soon after.

A status hearing (not the sentencing, as first thought) was held on 08 May 2001. A date was set for the sentencing, 23 May 2001, with Hitchcock's hearing for her civil suit scheduled for 30 May 2001.

At the sentencing, the Judge asked to see further evidence of the harassment against Hitchcock and scheduled a new date for the sentencing, 26 June 2001.

Hitchcock's civil suit was heard on 30 May 2001, but the decision regarding that is pending the outcome of the federal sentencing, scheduled for 26 June 2001.

POSTPONEMENT #8 - Federal sentencing was postponed until 3 July 2001 due to the Judge having to reschedule.

POSTPONEMENT #9 - The defendants have postponed the federal sentencing again. The new date is 16 August 2001.

RESTITUTION: Woodside victims who paid them money have been receiving restitution checks in the mail in relation to the New York State Attorney General's suit against Woodside. The NYSAG won the suit in a default judgement in 1999 and finally, victims are getting their money back!

POSTPONEMENT #10 - The defendants have postponed the federal sentencing again. The new date is 19 September 2001.

POSTPONEMENT #11 - Due to the terrorist attacks, the sentencing has been postponed again. As soon as a new date is scheduled, it will be added to the site.

The new federal sentencing date is scheduled for 30 November 2001. No date has been set for Hitchcock's civil suit yet.


The federal sentencing hearing began on Friday, November 30th, continued the following Monday and concluded Thursday, December 6th.

James Leonard aka John Lawrence (and other personas online) received the maximum allowed, 8 months in prison and 3 years probation

Ursula Sprachman received 3 years probation, due to her age and poor health.

They were also ordered to finish paying restituion of almost $2,000 to those writers they hadn't paid from the NY Attorney General's case (several of the writers received restitution this past summer).

Hitchcock's lawyer made a handshake deal in front of the magistrate to settle her suit against them, but can't divulge particulars at this time.

Hitchcock says, "This wasn't just a win for me, it's a win for all writers and all online victims."

She thanks the following: her "Posse" for all their help and support and misc.writing for everyone who kept her spirits up when there were days she felt like giving up. She also noted them in her new book (out July 31, 2002).

According to court paperwork Hitchcock received, James Leonard should have begun serving his 8-month jail sentence May 2002. However, he has been putting it off by claiming he's helping Ursula get help for her "ill health" to make sure she's taken care of while in jail.

On 20 August 2002, Leonard filed an appeal, citing "ineffective assistance of counsel." He remains out of jail pending the appeal.

In September 2002, the US Postal Inspection Service contacted Hitchcock and let her know Leonard was in jail.

Hitchcock was notified by a former neighbor of Ursula and James (in Adirondack, NY) that Ursula died in late 2003, probably after he got out of jail in April. When the writers who were scammed were notified of this news, one replied with:

"Ding dong, the witch is dead."

Jayne Hitchcock was named Lifetime TV's "Champion For Change"

Jayne A. Hitchcock is available to speak about cybercrimes to consumer and law enforcement/security personnel groups or organizations, librarians, educators, and more.

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