Saturday, April 21, 2018
Public safety

Police: Man, 57, cyberstalked 19-year-old he met at high school

LARGO ó The two met in 2015 during a school trip, police said.

She was a high school student. He was a chaperone ó and the husband of an administrator at Calvary Christian High School in Clearwater.

The pair waited until she graduated and was of age, Largo police said, before they engaged in a consensual sexual relationship.

But when she ended it last year, police said, she soon found herself fearing for her safety.

Bruce William Joseph, 57, was arrested Tuesday and accused of cyberstalking and harassing his former paramour.

The identity of the woman, who is now 19, was withheld by police. Her mother held a news conference on Tuesday to talk about the case. The Tampa Bay Times is also withholding the identities of the woman and her mother because of the nature of the allegations.

Largo police said Joseph created fake social media profiles posing as her, sent nude photos of her to people she knew and directed men to her home under the auspices of having sexual relations with her.

He faces a felony charge of aggravated stalking and misdemeanor charges of criminal use of personal identification and sexual cyber harassment.

The mother said her family knew Joseph, and called his relationship with her daughter an "affair" because it took place while he was married.

"I hope he goes to jail, because he has harassed my whole family," the mother said. "I was so mad, and hurt. I just didnít understand how someone who I felt loved my family could do this."

Police wouldnít say exactly when the relationship started, but the mother said it was in 2016. Joseph regularly visited the woman at an out-of-state college, police said, until she ended it in late 2017.

Almost immediately, police said, the online harassment started.

Joseph created several social media profiles, including on Instagram and Snapchat, in the womanís name and uploaded photos of her, the reports said.

Posing as her, police said Joseph started electronic conversations with men who thought they were talking to the woman herself.

Then, police said, he started directing them to her physical location.

"The defendant would give directions to the victimís home and on two occasions men have arrived at her home believing they were going to have sex with the victim," the arrest report said.

The woman had sent Joseph nude photos of herself during their relationship. Police said Joseph then sent those photos to her family and friends.

"The victim has become extremely afraid to leave her home and fears for her safety due to the (defendant) sending strangers to her house," the arrest report said. "The victim has also become emotionally distressed due to the constant harassment from the (defendant) over texts and phone calls."

Largo police said they started investigating Joseph in early February, after they were approached by a private investigator, John Hubbard. He said the mother hired him in January after the harassment grew extreme.

Hubbard said he tracked the online activity to the 57-year-old through social media accounts and phone numbers that matched IP addresses used by Joseph. Then Hubbard said he contacted law enforcement.

The arrest report said a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) number and a fake SnapChat account were found to be registered to Josephís home in Largo.

Joseph was booked into the Pinellas County jail and then freed later Tuesday after posting $50,300 bail. St. Petersburg attorney Peter Andrews, who represented Joseph in court that day, declined to comment.

What was even more maddening for the mother, she said, is that she spoke to Joseph about the harassment while they were enduring it.

"Before I knew it was him, we would talk about this," she said. "I would confide in him. And all the time it was him."

"Iím hurt ... Iím so hurt and disappointed."

Times senior news researcher Caryn Baird. Contact Josh Solomon at (813) 909-4613 or [email protected] Follow @ByJoshSolomon.

Comments
New Port Richey Woman dies in single-car crash on SR 580

New Port Richey Woman dies in single-car crash on SR 580

A 49-year-old woman died early Saturday in a single-car crash on State Road 580.Kristin Carlin, of New Port Richey, was driving in the eastbound lanes of SR 580 when she failed to round a curve and veered off the road near Charles Avenue, a Clearwate...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Man with multiple gun arrests now accused of fatally shooting Durant High football player

Man with multiple gun arrests now accused of fatally shooting Durant High football player

The first time deputies arrested Samuel Morrissey Jr., he faced charges of possession of marijuana and carrying a concealed firearm. He plead no contest in September, and the judge gave him a break by withholding adjudication. Ten days later, the 20-...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Man who attacked woman and stole her shorts arrested, deputies say

Man who attacked woman and stole her shorts arrested, deputies say

Deputies arrested a man they said tackled a woman in February and removed her shorts before fleeing.Robert Mark Hembree Jr., 31, was arrested late Friday. He faces charges of sexual battery and petit theft.PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Detectives seek man who a...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Dade City man killed in early morning hit-and-run, police say

Dade City man killed in early morning hit-and-run, police say

A Pasco County man was struck and killed in an apparent hit-and-run early Saturday, police said.Thomas Michael Burdeshaw, 53, who lived on Sundance Drive in Dade City, was hit about 1:45 a.m. on the 36000 block of Blanton Road, police said.Witnesses ...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Police searching for person who shot a man to death in Largo

Police searching for person who shot a man to death in Largo

CLEARWATER ó Police are looking for a person who shot and killed a man late Friday at the Melrose on the Bay apartments on Bolesta Road. Ricardo Guzman, 32, called 911 just before midnight and told the operator he had been shot, said Lt. Randall Chan...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Motorcyclist dies after crash on Memorial Highway

Motorcyclist dies after crash on Memorial Highway

TAMPA ó A motorcyclist driving north on Memorial Highway died after he crashed into a guard rail late Friday, police said."The man failed to negotiate a curve in the road and struck a guard rail," said Lt. Brett Owen. "No other vehicle was involved i...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Cops used dead manís finger in attempt to access his phone. Itís legal, but is it okay?

Cops used dead manís finger in attempt to access his phone. Itís legal, but is it okay?

LARGO ó Most people agree what the Largo detectives did at the funeral home was legal.What they diverge on is whether it was appropriate."I just felt so disrespected and violated," said Victoria Armstrong, whose fiance, Linus F. Phillip, was shot and...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Deputies: Woman in road rage incident targeted ... a school bus?

Deputies: Woman in road rage incident targeted ... a school bus?

TAMPA ó Deputies are searching for a woman accused of blocking a special needs school bus with her car, getting out and banging and kicking on the bus door until she broke the glass.And there were four children inside, deputies said, as she shouted a...
Published: 04/20/18
St. Pete police search for missing 20-year-old woman

St. Pete police search for missing 20-year-old woman

ST. PETERSBURG ó Officers are searching for a 20-year-old woman who they believe to be missing and who could be in danger.Kayla Brandi Boone was last seen at about 11 p.m. Thursday in the 2700 block of Fourth Street S, according to St. Petersburg pol...
Published: 04/20/18

Deputies: 19-month-old child found in New Port Richey pond has died

NEW PORT RICHEY ó The 19-month-old child that was found in a pond on Thursday afternoon has died, according to the Pasco County Sheriffís Office.The incident took place at about 12:31 p.m. Deputies and firefighters were called out to a home in the 47...
Published: 04/20/18