Illinois Man Sentenced to Two-and-a-Half Years in Prison for Posting Nude Videos of ESPN Reporter on Internet
|U.S. Attorney’s Office March 15, 2010|
LOS ANGELES—A Chicago-area man was sentenced this afternoon to 30 months in federal prison for taking nude videos of television personality Erin Andrews and posting the videos on the Internet after being rebuffed when he offered the videos for sale to a celebrity website.
Michael David Barrett, 49, of Westmont, Illinois, was sentenced by United States District Judge Manuel L. Real, who also ordered the defendant to pay $7,366 in restitution to Ms. Andrews.
During the sentencing hearing, Judge Real noted that, as a result of Barrett’s conduct, Ms. Andrews will suffer for the rest of her life.
Barrett pleaded guilty December 15 to a federal charge of interstate stalking with the intent to harass and to cause substantial emotional distress. Barrett admitted that he stalked ESPN reporter Erin Andrews over an 18-month period. Barrett’s conduct included tracking Ms. Andrews to at least three different hotel rooms in three states in 2008. Barrett made the videos after removing the peephole device from the door in one of the hotel rooms and using his mobile phone to capture video of Ms. Andrews while she was naked.
In January 2009, TMZ.com was offered the opportunity to purchase the nude videos via e-mail messages, an offer that the celebrity website immediately declined. Barrett subsequently posted 10 of the videos on the Internet, identifying Ms. Andrews as the victim.
During today’s sentencing hearing, Ms. Andrews told the court of the fear, anxiety and public humiliation that she suffers as a result of having been stalked. “I’m being victimized every day...and I did nothing to deserve it,” Ms. Andrews said, adding the videos will likely always be on the Internet.
In court papers filed in support of their request for a prison sentence in this case, prosecutors told the court that Barrett posted on the Internet another 32 videos that depicted another 16 as-yet-unidentified victims.
The case against Barrett was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Los Angeles Field Office, which received assistance from the FBI’s Chicago Field Office.