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FBI agents arrest professor for cyberstalking news reporter

Adjunct professor Paul Lubienecki appears in a still frame from a WKBW broadcast after being charged with cyber-stalking a local news reporter. (Photo: WKBW)

A Catholic professor was arrested on Wednesday after he allegedly stalked a television news reporter, according to federal prosecutors in upstate New York.

Paul E. Lubienecki, 62, of Hamburg was charged after federal authorities say he cyber-stalked a television news reporter who was investigating allegations of sexual abuse by clergy members connected to the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo.

Prosecutors didn’t name the alleged victim, but Buffalo ABC affiliate WKBW (Channel 7) said investigative reporter Charlie Specht was the target of Lubienecki’s ire. Authorities said Lubienecki left multiple voice mail messages on the reporter’s phone, some of which contained threats of bodily harm.

“I know where you live — I’m gonna find you, I’m gonna kill you,” one of the voicemail messages left on Specht’s phone said according to the station.

Lubienecki was arraigned this week on two felony counts of cyber-stalking. A magistrate judge released the suspect on bail but ordered him to stay away from the alleged victim in the case until the case is resolved.

Charging documents in the case were not available as of Wednesday evening.

Lubienecki was an adjunct professor at Christ the King Seminary before the Diocese closed it earlier this month following allegations of a sexual abuse cover-up reported by WKBW and other news outlets. He is also listed as an adjunct professor at the State University of New York’s Fredonia campus.

Neither school offered a comment about his arrest, though the Diocese told the Buffalo News he had been placed on leave while the criminal charges against him work their way through the court system.

If found guilty, Lubienecki faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, though maximum sentences are rare and his actual punishment could be significantly less based on a number of factors, including his standing in the community and any prior criminal offenses, if any.

WKBW is owned by the E.W. Scripps Company.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).