Cyber stalking

Virtual adultery with a twist

Spanish man found guilty of assuming false online identity to threaten his partner over her infidelity

Juan A. S. A. knew his partner Nuria S.U. had had a series of affairs, including one with his own brother, but he was determined not to lose her. So he embarked on a strategy involving blackmail and pornographic videos to win her back.

I spy. A man on a mission with his cell phone.
I spy. A man on a mission with his cell phone.Claudio Álvarez

That strategy saw him assuming a false online identity as ‘Johnny’. Using this alias, he went online and ‘met’ Nuria S.U. She soon sent him erotic videos via WhatsApp and other private channels.

As the relationship remained virtual, Nuria was unaware until much later that ‘Johnny’ was, in fact, her partner Juan and that the pornographic material she had filmed would be used against her in a vicious game of ‘stay with me or else’.

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His strategy failed and the couple split up in 2012, but Nuria is currently suing Juan for failing to provide child support for their son and neglecting his duties as a parent. What’s more, the case is being heard at a domestic violence court in Madrid because Nuria was found to be a victim of abuse and blackmail in July 2015, when Juan, 36, was found guilty of coercive control within the family environment.

At that time, he was sentenced to 41 days of community service with a restraining order obliging him to stay at least 500 meters from his ex-partner and refrain from contacting her for three years by any means, including computers or in a written, verbal or visual manner.

These were precisely the means by which Juan tried to blackmail Nuria in his campaign to win her back in January 2014. He sent her hundreds of messages and when he wasn’t threatening to kill himself – warnings occasionally accompanied by images of bleeding wrists – he was threatening to send the pornographic images she had sent ‘Johnny’ to her work colleagues, family and close relatives.

One of the messages Nuria received from Juan, and which was read out in court, said: “You’re going to find out what it’s like to be socially stigmatized for the rest of your life (…) there won’t be a corner of the world left that doesn’t know the truth (…) this can only end in two ways – by being a happy family or with the three of us losing everything.”

Nuria was tricked into sending erotic videos of herself to her partner after he used a false identity to 'meet' her online

Juan used the couple’s son as leverage, implying he would end up an orphan unless they got back together. Meanwhile, Juan’s defense attorney pleaded leniency on the grounds of his client’s emotionally fragile state and the psychological problems he was suffering due to the break-up. It was put to the judge that Juan was dealing with an adjustment disorder that prevented him sleeping and clouded his judgment.

While the judge refused to take these arguments into consideration, he was not severe when it came to Juan’s sentence. Taking into account recent modifications to Spain's domestic violence legislation, the judge concluded that there had been “minor coercion,” which carries a sentence of between six months to a year in prison or community service of between 31 and 80 days.

The sentence also complies with current legislation in the Madrid region that condemns “any physical or psychological aggression towards a woman that compromises her health, her physical integrity, her sexual liberty or any other circumstance that produces fear and anxiety that threatens this freedom.”

You’re going to find out what it’s like to be socially stigmatized for the rest of your life Juan A. S. A.

Be it Johnny or Juan, all these lines were crossed. Juan was undoubtedly guilty, reacting to the split-up by threatening to kill himself. The fictitious Johnny was just as guilty. By creating a character and seducing Nuria on the social networks where she picked up partners, he managed to accumulate an arsenal of videos and sexually explicit images to threaten her with.

English version by Heather Galloway.

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