September 11, 2002 at 2:18 PM EST - Updated July 1 at 8:55 AM
CLEVELAND (AP) - A man who pursued a television reporter has become the first person convicted in Ohio of stricter federal stalking charges.
The federal stalking law went into effect in 1996 and was expanded in 2000 to include use of mail and the Internet to stalk.
U.S. District Judge John Manos sentenced Eric Bowker, 39, of Youngstown, on Tuesday to eight years in prison and ordered him to undergo therapy for terrorizing reporter Tina Knight.
A federal jury in Cleveland convicted Bowker in June of telephone harassment, using the Internet to threaten a person, stealing mail and interstate stalking.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Edward Feran said Bowker began e-mailing Knight in the spring of 2000, shortly after she started working at WKBN in Youngstown. Later, the messages became obsessive and obscene, prosecutors said.
After repeated telephone calls at her home and the station, Knight moved to Charleston, W.Va., for a job at another television station, where the calls continued.
(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)