CRESCO – A Cresco businessman has been sentenced to 10 years in federal prison for continually harassing an ex-girlfriend who lived in Minnesota.
In sentencing 58-year-old Michael Shawn McGuire on Friday, District Court Judge C.J. Williams said the insurance agent and landlord’s campaign against the woman was a form of “mental torture” and “public terrorism.”
He was also ordered to pay a $15,000 fine, and $17,500 in restitution to the victim.
Acting U.S. Attorney Sean Berry said the prison sentence for four counts of cyberstalking sends a strong message that this kind of behavior will not be tolerated.
“Michael McGuire tormented the victim for over two years,” Berry said. “He will spend the next decade in federal prison, protecting both his victim and the public from his malicious behavior.”
McGuire and the woman met on a dating site and dated for about seven months. During the relationship, he once asked her if she liked to get revenge, and he told her he once put sugar in the gas tank of one of his tenants, according to court records.
After the breakup, McGuire began texting and emailing the victim consistently, sending her harassing messages. She told him to stop and pursued a restraining order, and McGuire apologized and asked her not to seek the order because he was dying of cancer, records state.
The restraining order was issued the following month, and McGuire went on to harass and torment her over the course of the next approximately two years, prosecutors said.
Authorities allege he created five fake Facebook profiles that contained sexually explicit messages about the victim and sent more than 80 friend requests to the victim’s friends and family.
He also printed dozens of flyers and yard signs, which contained sexually explicit messages, photographs of the victim, her contact information, and sexually explicit photographs of women appearing to be the victim.
The flyers were sent to dozens of people, including the victim’s children, extended family members, neighbors, friends, her employer and a priest.
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.
Another time, the victim found sugar had been poured in her gas tank, records state.
On yet 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 Camaro. McGuire was arrested for that incident and spent a few days in a county jail.
McGuire was undeterred by his arrest and continued to stalk and harass the victim for several more months.
In September 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.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant US Attorneys Ashley Corkery, Kyndra Lundquist and Lisa Williams and was investigated by the Kandiyohi County (Minnesota) Sheriff’s Office, Willmar Police Department, Litchfield Police Department, Renville Police Department, Pipestone County Sheriff’s Office, Kandiyohi County Community Corrections, Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, Cresco Police Department, Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.