In a shocking case that sheds light on the dark side of online gaming, an Orange County man has been sentenced to 2 years in federal prison for his relentless stalking and harassment campaign against a professional online gamer. Evan Baltierra, 30, of Trabuco Canyon, targeted the victim after meeting her at a gaming convention in 2019 and proceeded to harass her relentlessly through social media. From creating hundreds of fake accounts to send threatening messages, to posting photoshopped images of the victim on pornographic websites and sending them to her friends and family, Baltierra’s actions caused significant distress and forced the victim to stop streaming altogether. This article explores the disturbing details of this case and the legal consequences faced by Baltierra for his despicable conduct.
In a disturbing case of online harassment, an Orange County man named Evan Baltierra has been sentenced to 2 years in federal prison for stalking and engaging in a long-running harassment campaign against a professional online gamer. This relentless campaign of harassment involved various tactics, including the creation of fake social media accounts, sending threatening messages, distributing photoshopped images, posting personal information and nude images, and even harassing the victim during live video game streams. This article will provide a comprehensive overview of the case, detailing the various instances of harassment and the legal proceedings that followed.
Arrest and Pretrial Release Violation
Baltierra’s arrest came as a result of violating the terms of his pretrial release. After being initially arrested for his actions, he continued to harass the victim, leading to his arrest once again. This violation of pretrial release conditions demonstrated the seriousness and persistence of Baltierra’s harassment campaign.
Victim’s Encounter with Defendant
The victim, a prominent professional gamer, first encountered Baltierra at a gaming convention in Anaheim in November 2019. Following this meeting, Baltierra made the victim feel uncomfortable by expressing a desire to meet her in her hometown in Canada. In response, the victim blocked Baltierra on various social media accounts. However, this did not deter him from continuing to harass her through the creation of multiple fake social media accounts and the sending of threatening messages.
Details of the Harassment Campaign
Creation of Fake Social Media Accounts
To further harass the victim, Baltierra resorted to creating hundreds of fake social media accounts. These accounts were then used to send threatening messages to the victim, causing her significant distress and fear.
Threatening Messages Sent to the Victim
One particularly alarming message sent to the victim via Twitter in January 2021 read, “[t]imes ticking…waiting for the right opportunity.” These threatening messages added to the victim’s fear and anxiety, as she had no way of knowing what Baltierra was capable of.
Distribution of Photoshopped Images
Perhaps one of the most disturbing aspects of Baltierra’s harassment campaign was his creation and distribution of photoshopped images. Baltierra hired an unknown third party to create multiple images of the victim, placing her face onto pornographic images. These images were then posted to multiple pornographic websites and internet forums, as well as sent to the victim’s friends and family. Baltierra also posted links to the images on various social media websites, instructing others to search for the victim’s name to see the explicit photos.
Posting Personal Information and Nude Images
In addition to distributing the photoshopped images, Baltierra took things a step further by posting the victim’s personal information on social media websites and during her live video game streams. This included revealing the victim’s real name and city of residence, which were listed on a protective order that the victim had obtained against him. By exposing this personal information, Baltierra put the victim at risk and further intensified her fear.
Harassment During Live Video Game Streams
Baltierra’s harassment campaign extended to the victim’s live video game streams. Using multiple accounts, he continually posted harassing messages, disrupting the victim’s streams and making it difficult for her to continue with her work. Ultimately, this constant harassment forced the victim to stop streaming in February 2021, impacting her professional career and livelihood.
False Police Report and Attempted Home Address Obtaining
In a desperate and concerning act, Baltierra called the victim’s local police department and made a false report, claiming that the victim had made online threats to commit suicide. Additionally, during this phone call, Baltierra attempted to obtain the victim’s home address. These actions further exemplify the lengths to which Baltierra went to intimidate and harm the victim.
Continued Harassment After FBI Search and Guilty Plea
Even after the FBI had searched Baltierra’s residence and he had been charged and pleaded guilty to a felony offense, the harassment against the victim did not cease. Baltierra continued to post fake nude photographs of the victim and attempted to contact her online, leading to his arrest in September 2022.
Guilty Plea and Sentencing
In July 2022, Baltierra pleaded guilty to one count of stalking. As a result, he has been sentenced to 24 months in federal prison, a reflection of the seriousness of his actions. United States District Judge Fernando M. Olguin presided over the case and also ordered Baltierra to pay $2,544 in restitution. This sentencing sends a clear message that online harassment and stalking will not be tolerated.
As part of the sentencing, Baltierra was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $2,544. This restitution is meant to compensate the victim for the emotional and psychological harm she endured as a result of Baltierra’s actions.
Investigation and Prosecution
The investigation into Baltierra’s harassment campaign was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Their thorough investigation, which included searching Baltierra’s residence, gathering evidence, and building a case against him, played a crucial role in bringing him to justice.
Prosecution by Jake D. Nare
Assistant United States Attorney Jake D. Nare of the Santa Ana Branch Office was responsible for prosecuting the case against Baltierra. Nare skillfully presented the evidence and argued for the appropriate consequences during the legal proceedings. His dedication to seeking justice for the victim and holding Baltierra accountable is commendable.
In conclusion, the case against Evan Baltierra serves as a stark reminder of the dangers of online harassment. The comprehensive and persistent nature of Baltierra’s harassment campaign highlights the urgent need for effective legislation and enforcement to protect individuals from such malicious behavior. While his guilty plea and subsequent sentencing may provide some closure for the victim, it is essential for society as a whole to work towards preventing and addressing online harassment to ensure the safety and well-being of all individuals in the digital realm.