A Cresco man who cyberstalked a Minnesota woman for nearly two years was sentenced on July 30, 2021, to ten years in federal prison.
Michael Shawn McGuire, age 58, from Cresco, Iowa, received the prison sentence after a December 8, 2020 guilty plea to four counts of cyberstalking.
Information disclosed at the sentencing and plea hearings showed that in the fall of 2017, the victim, who was living in Minnesota, met McGuire on an online dating website. The two dated for approximately seven months before the victim broke up with McGuire. At that point, McGuire began texting and emailing the victim consistently, sending her harassing messages. In the summer of 2018, the victim obtained a no-contact order prohibiting McGuire from contacting her or anyone in her family. McGuire went on to harass and torment the victim over the course of the next approximately two years.
During that time, McGuire created five fake Facebook profiles. The profiles contained the victim’s name or photo and contained sexually explicit messages about the victim. The fake profiles sent over 80 friend requests to the victim’s friends and family. McGuire also made dozens of flyers and yard signs, which contained sexually explicit messages, photographs of the victim, and sexually explicit photographs of women appearing to be the victim. The flyers and yard signs contained the victim’s name, phone number, and address. The flyers were delivered to dozens of people, including the victim’s children, extended family members, neighbors, friends, her employer, a priest, and businesses she associated with. The yard signs were left in multiple places in the town the victim lived in, including her employer’s parking lot, her church lawn, and a popular local restaurant. On one occasion, McGuire spray painted a sexually explicit message including the victim’s name on a business front in the victim’s hometown. On another occasion, McGuire texted the victim that she should call the police because he was violating his restraining order, then proceeded to follow the victim around town in his car. McGuire was arrested for that incident and spent a few days in a county jail.
At the sentencing hearing, the judge pointed out that McGuire was undeterred by his arrest and continued to stalk and harass the victim for several months after his arrest. In the fall of 2019, investigators searched McGuire’s place of business in Cresco. There, they located and seized multiple items, including photos of the victim and her family and friends, her Facebook friends list, supplies used to make the flyers and yard signs, rubber gloves, and rope.
McGuire was sentenced in Cedar Rapids by United States District Court Judge C.J. Williams. Judge Williams described McGuire’s conduct toward the victim and her friends and family as “a form of mental torture” and “form of public terrorism in a way.” McGuire was sentenced to 120 months’ imprisonment. He must also serve a three-year term of supervised release after the prison term. There is no parole in the federal system. McGuire must pay $400 to the special assessment fund, a $15,000 fine, and $17,500 in restitution to the victim.
“Michael McGuire tormented the victim for over two years,” said Acting United States Attorney Sean R. Berry following the sentence. “He will spend the next decade in federal prison, protecting both his victim and the public from his malicious behavior. This sentence sends a strong message to all that this kind of behavior will not be tolerated.”
The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Ashley Corkery, Kyndra Lundquist, and Lisa Williams and was investigated by the Kandiyohi County (Minnesota) Sheriff’s Office, Willmar (Minnesota) Police Department, Litchfield (Minnesota) Police Department, Renville (Minnesota) Police Department, Pipestone County (Minnesota) Sheriff’s Office, Kandiyohi County (Minnesota) Community Corrections, Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, Cresco (Iowa) Police Department, Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.