24-year-old Patrick Macchione has been sentenced to four years in prison after being found guilty of the cyber-stalking charges brought against him by his University of Central Florida classmate Kristen Pratt. Macchione contacted Pratt via Facebook after meeting her in a class in 2008. Though the initial interaction was polite, the messages quickly turned threatening and spread to other forms of social media such as Twitter and YouTube. (Though it hasn't been updated since 2009, Macchione's disturbing Twitter account remains active. His YouTube channel, however, has been disabled.)
It is likely that Macchione will serve only 2 years of his sentence behind bars, a fact that comes as an intense blow to the prosecutors that sought a 15-year sentence. In an interview, Kristen Pratt claims that she will now live the rest of her life looking over her shoulder. She says, "[The fear] will never be gone. It's always going to be there. I am always going to have to worry about something like this happening."
It is a testament to her strength and bravery that, despite her fears, Pratt has turned herself into a somewhat public figure in order to spread awareness on the dangers of stalking. For people in similar situations, Pratt, whose claims were initially dismissed by police, advises, "Keep going, keep trying, keep pushing, keep yelling, keep running, because, at the end, there is someone who is going to help you."