Man charged with cyberstalking may have victims in Snohomish County

  • Fri Oct 15th, 2010 10:15pm
  • News

By Diana Hefley Herald Writer

EVERETT — A man Snohomish County prosecutors in 2008 described as an “explicit menace who uses his cell phone to scare, annoy, and harass young girls all over the Puget Sound region,” is facing more than 200 new criminal charges.

Police are wondering if there are more victims.

William Pritchard, 23, was charged in King County in late summer with 269 counts of cyberstalking plus communicating with a minor for immoral purposes, harassment and extortion. He is accused of terrorizing a King County teen he met over MySpace.

Based on a review of his phone records, there may be other victims living in Snohomish, King, Pierce and Thurston counties, King County sheriff’s Sgt. John Urquhart said Friday.

“We subpoenaed his phone records and he’s made calls all over,” Urquhart said.

Detectives believe Pritchard cultivated a relationship with a 17-year-old King County girl on MySpace and then began demanding nude photographs. He also is accused of sending her about 30 naked photographs of himself.

Investigators say Pritchard was able to learn via MySpace where the girl lived and her cell phone number. He left her menacing messages over a three-month period. He threatened to kill the girl and carve his name into her chest, according to court documents. He also allegedly told her that his friends would kill her and her family. He threatened to harm her if she called police, court records said.

Records show that Pritchard made 269 phone calls to the girl between December and March.

Pritchard was convicted in Snohomish County of cyberstalking in 2008 under similar circumstances. He sent “disgusting, crude, sexual and threatening” messages to at least three different high school girls, according to charging documents. He threatened to kill the teens, but only after raping them and making them his sex slaves, Snohomish County Prosecuting Attorney Mark Roe wrote in the charging papers.

Pritchard, who was homeless at the time, sent the girls pictures of his penis and pornographic cartoons featuring images from the Flintsones and Scooby-Doo. He also bragged that he could find the teens because he worked for a cell phone company, court papers said.

Two of the girls reported the threats to the school resource officer at Mariner High School in Everett. The sheriff’s deputy called Pritchard, who said, “Good luck finding me, pig. You don’t know where I’m at.” The deputy was able to track down the defendant and arrested him when Pritchard showed up for a meeting with his probation officer.

Pritchard blamed his behavior on alcohol abuse and mental illness. He told detectives that he had sent so many messages that he couldn’t remember them all, court papers said.

Pritchard was sent to Western State Hospital to be evaluated. He has been hospitalized in the past for threats of suicide. Doctors had previously stated that Pritchard provided contradictory stories about his mental health history, malingered and often exaggerated. Court records show that he’s been diagnosed several times, primarily for substance abuse, bipolar and a personality disorder.

State doctors found him competent to stand trial and determined that he was able to understand right from wrong at the time he sent the messages.

Pritchard eventually pleaded guilty to two counts of cyberstalking for the 2008 incidents. He was sentenced to 10 months in jail, about two months less than the maximum under state sentencing guidelines.

Pritchard has been in and out of jail for various offenses, including violating probation, Urquhart said Friday. When King County prosecutors charged him in August he was behind bars at the special offender center in Monroe because he was too disruptive at the Snohomish County Jail, court records said.

He wasn’t in prison when he made the threats to the King County girl, Urquhart said.

Pritchard also is charged with harassment in Pierce County.

King County sheriff’s investigators are asking anyone who has received harassing or obscene phone calls from Pritchard to call the sheriff’s office at 206-296-3311 or contact their local police department.

Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463; hefley@heraldnet.com.