Alleged bomb-threat-making cyberstalker was a horrible person in high school and college, too, investigators say

A man determined to torment a former roommate in Watertown used skills gained as a computer-science major and a professional software writer - along with some basic human engineering - to repeatedly target the woman, her family, her friends and her colleagues with sexually explicit messages, bomb threats to institutions in Waltham and Chelmsford made in their names, for some 18 months until his arrest last week, according to an affidavit by an FBI agent on the case.

Ryan Lin, 24, currently faces one charge of cyberstalking. But the affidavit suggests the possibility of additional charges - for example, for possession of the child pornography Lin allegedly used as part of his online harassment campaign, and for the bomb threats.

And the affidavit leaves open the possibility other people could be charged - Lin allegedly posted the woman's person information on a well known "doxxing" site, where additional people may have used it to harass her.

Officials charge that starting in April, 2016, Lin not only sent the woman and her acquaintances harassing messages but stuck her name on bomb threats to schools and institutions that included Brandeis and Bentley universities, the Waltham Public Library, public and private schools and daycare centers in Waltham, and public schools in Chelmsford.

He allegedly and repeatedly sent messages in her name and purporting to describe her sexual desires - including with children at one point - to acquaintances of her family members. He also revealed personal information she had never told anybody about - except her personal journal, stored on Google Docs.

In one case, he managed to find and contact somebody who had hired the woman to dog sit - allegedly telling her the woman had killed her dog. That brought Weston Police racing to the person's house - where they found the dog OK. In another case, he allegedly posted her alleged rape and BDSM desires on a fetish site that led to at least three men simply showing up at her new home looking for her.

Lin tried to hide his tracks through extensive use of various anonymizing networks and techniques to hide his IP address - such as the use of VPNs and the anonymizing TOR network, but he also used simpler techniques to gain access to the woman's diary and photos. These included simply walking into her unlocked room when they shared a Watertown apartment with two other people and turning on her un-password-protected laptop, the affidavit says.

The harassment proved so unrelenting the woman finally moved out of Massachusets altogether, officials say.

As they were following the digital footsteps that Lin proved unable to hide - such as his browser history on his former work computer and information from at least one of the VPN providers he allegedly used - investigators were also talking to people who knew him, going back to his days in high school in Connecticut, where several of his classmates told Waltham detectives that he forged Facebook pages in their names and sexually harassed female students, the affidavit states.

At Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where Lin majored in computer science, two other students went to court to try to get him to leave them alone and stop impersonating them, the affidavit says, adding one also charged him with e-mailing her rape threats.

Before he moved in with the woman and the other two roommates - whom he had contacted via a Craigslist ad - he threatened to kill his previous roommate, the affidavit alleges. And while he reserved his ire for the woman, he also worried the other two people: He'd leave half-eaten food in closets and once smeared mayonnaise on the living-room floor as part of "redecorating," the affidavit states.

Innocent, etc.



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PDF icon Complete Lin affidavit265.83 KB


Holy crap

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We need a serious overhaul of our mental health laws and syatem. Too many violent and unstable people are on the streets. This is just as, ifnotmore so, important as our firearms laws.

I hate to tell you this, but

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I hate to tell you this, but some people do bad things because they are bad people, not because they have mental illness.

Sometimes it's both

This guy is a psychopath. Perhaps mental health would have helped him control his desires but impossible to think he wasn't fully aware of his actions. Hopefully he's put away for a long, long time.

Regardless this guy is hopeless.

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All he will do to counselors and such (if he is forced to see them) is just stonewall them. He knew what he was doing. I guarantee you he is in disbelief that he actually got caught. I would have loved to have been on scene as the police officers cuffed him that day. The look on his face must have been priceless when they told him the evidence against him was overwhelming.

I hate to tell you this

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but his behavior is indicative of a seriously mentally ill person, at the very least, a severe personality disorder. Yes, we have too many people on the streets, in schools, in the workplace, who should be locked up in a psych hospital, of which, there aren't enough.

No wayhis family haven't been aware for a long time that he's unstable and a possible danger to other humans and non-humans.

I hate to tell you this bit

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I hate to tell you this bit but it is ignorant to confuse people with mental illness with criminals: not all people who have mental illness commit crimes against innocent people. You might want to stick with your day job and lay off the armchair psychology.

I hate to tell you both this, but

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I think neither of you has sufficient information to evaluate this person.

If you're certain that you can, that could be a sign of your own mental disorder.

While most mentally ill people are NOT violent,

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those who are either off of their meds, or are not being medicated properly (i. e. either with the incorrect dosages, or the wrong medication(s) altogether), can be and often enough are capable of doing things that are rather awful...and vicious, to boot.


All criminals have mental health problems to a degree. It's unlikely he would have been involuntarily restrained for his prior actions even if he was taken to someone with the power to do so -- the situations when that's done far exceed his prior actions.

Certain behaviors indicate

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Certain behaviors indicate mental illness all by themselves. There is no need for a mental health professional to weigh in before we as a society can arrive at a consensus that the boy ain't right.

Shooting up a crowd of strangers is not the action of a healthy mind. Drowning one's own children in a bathtub is not a mentally healthy act. Full stop. We can argue all day about the proper response and treatment in those scenarios, but you cannot claim they come from a place of sound and normal reasoning.

Most people with mental illness are harmless, or at most, pose a heightened risk only to themselves. This particular dude is neither harmless nor healthy. He is an asshole AND something has gone horribly wrong in his mind.


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Thanks for sharing

this guy obviously was not only a criminal but mentally ill.

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There are, and have been people like that out there.

Look at Ted Bundy (long executed for his crimes), who came off sweet and mild, and killed many young girls, ranging from middle school to college age.

Ed Kemper--A serial killer who was notorious for picking up female hitchhikers, killing them, dismembering them, and burying their parts all over the country.

Those examples are from long ago, but they are good ones, and there are still people somewhat like that who are out there. Don't kid yourselves.