EVERETT — In a unique case of cyberstalking, a Mountlake Terrace man was sentenced Thursday for using randomized phone numbers to stalk and sexually harass young women.
Ray Boughner Jr. III, 22, was sentenced to 9 months in jail in Snohomish County Superior Court, but he’ll be released for time served.
He pleaded guilty in November to three counts of cyberstalking and two counts of communication with a minor for immoral purposes. In a signed statement that was part of his plea agreement, Boughner admitted targeting 13 women “using lewd, lascivious, indecent and obscene language, anonymously and repeatedly and threatening to inflict injury on them or their family with intent to harass, intimidate, torment and embarrass them.”
Lynnwood police say Boughner used an application called TextPlus to obscure his identity behind anonymous numbers and to send a barrage of rape threats to upwards of more than 20 women, many of whom were minors at the time they received the messages. Advertising itself as a free talk and text service, the application assigns random phone numbers with an area code of the user’s choosing and grants the ability to switch to another number at any time, with little trouble.
The harassment began as early as 2013, with many victims fitting a similar profile, Lynnwood detective Bill Koonce said in an interview earlier this year after Boughner’s arrest. Most attended Mountlake Terrace High School and graduated in 2015, the same year as Boughner. They were typically confident and popular — qualities Boughner allegedly felt he didn’t possess.
Speaking to the court Thursday, Koonce said these types of cyber crimes have become more common as the internet becomes more prevalent in everyday life.
Some of the victims, “especially the younger ones, seemed to be as profoundly affected as victims who had been physically assaulted,” Koonce said.
For years, the young women didn’t feel safe, whether they were at home or at school, Koonce said.
None of Boughner’s victims showed up to court to speak.
Knowing that Boughner would be released, Judge Joe Wilson announced the sentence with some hesitancy, remarking on the young man’s likelihood to reoffend. Wilson told Boughner that he would have to stay committed to mental health treatment if he is to successfully reintegrate into society.
“Mr. Boughner, you have a long (row) to hoe,” Wilson said.