“YouTube stalker” Patrick Macchione gets four year jail sentence for creepy YouTube video, Twitter threats, and incessant calls

24-year-old Patrick Macchione was sentenced to four years in jail Friday in Orlando for cyber-stalking charges stemming from disturbing YouTube videos, Twitter messages, and phone calls he made to a young woman, Kristen Pratt, in 2009. They met in 2008 in class at the University of Central Florida. Later, he contacted her on Facebook in a normal, “Let’s catch up” type manner, but on the turn of a dime his communication with her became sinister, and he began calling her incessantly. Eventually he posted a creepy series of videos on YouTube, and threatened her life on Twitter. Pratt became panic stricken, and was unable to relax until he was behind bars.

He’s been sentenced to four years (the prosecution sought 15 years) and will be out in two years because he’s already served two years. He will, however, be on probation for 15 years after that. Under the terms of his probation, he will not be allowed to use the internet, and must seek mental health care, including involuntary injections.

Pratt told Robin Roberts on GMA this morning that when Macchione first contacted her, their conversation seemed fairly routine and normal, but all of a sudden things became scary. Although when they first met, Macchione was going to school on a full scholarship, but by the time he was posting harrassing YouTube videos of his privates, and stalking her on the phone and in person, he had become homeless. In his destitute position, he became even more desperate.

She became aware of the videos through her friends, because he was contacting all of them via Facebook to ask them to tell her about the videos (in one of them he implores Pratt to tell him her address so he can make it the “best day of her life.” When Macchione contacted Pratt via Twitter he sent this ominous message: “It is up to you now to save your life. I have no options. I will not be arrested.”

Macchione apologized to Kristen Pratt in court “I want to apologize to her, definitely for scaring her.”

Pratt told GMA “I feel like it’s not over yet. It will never be over, I will always have to deal with it. But it’s nice to have some closure after so much. It’s a little bit less of a burden now.”

Social media is a wonderful thing, but all these different tools that we use to help connect us with people, and allow us to be creative and have fun can also be used to threaten, intimidate, and glean information about us by people with nefarious purposes (see Lindsay Lohan’s latest legal drama for more on that.) Stay safe online!