British Columbia

B.C. man jailed again for refusing to remove revenge website targeting ex-wife

A Burnaby, B.C., man convicted of harassing his ex-wife with a vulgar website and a torrent of threatening emails is heading back to jail for continually refusing to pull the site down.

Patrick Fox was originally jailed in 2017 for vulgar website

Patrick Fox served two years of a four-year sentence handed down in 2017 for criminal harassment after creating a website intended to 'destroy' his ex-wife. He was sentenced on Monday for breach of probation, following his release. (CBC)

A Burnaby, B.C., man convicted of harassing his ex-wife with a vulgar website and torrent of threatening emails is heading back to jail for continually refusing to pull the site down.

Patrick Fox, 47, was sentenced in Vancouver on Monday to one year and four months in jail for breaching his probation. He was charged after leaving the website up and running, despite multiple court orders to take it down after his original jail term.

After credit for time served, Fox has six more months left in his new sentence.

Fox was first sentenced to four years in prison in 2017 for an online harassment campaign tormenting his ex-wife.

The website falsely labelled his ex-wife, Desiree Capuano, as a white supremacist, child abuser and drug addict. The site, which has now been been up for seven years, calls Capuano a "horrible, lying, sociopathic monster" and also contained intimate photos.

Fox used Google ads to direct internet traffic from workplaces and neighbourhoods near Capuano's home in Arizona to his website. After credit for time served, Fox was released after spending two years in prison. He was supposed to remove the website and remain on probation for three years.

Last August, after another run-in with authorities, Fox said he would never deactivate the site.

"They can lock me up for the  rest of my life, but I will never take down the website," he said in a post.

Desiree Capuano pictured in 2017. (CBC)

Fox was arrested again in Vancouver last September. His sentence Monday also includes another year of probation. 

"The probation order includes protective conditions regarding his former spouse and her family, and he has also been directed once again to remove any websites in her name or directed at her," the Crown said in an email.

Authorities have been unable to remove the revenge website because it's operated through a server in a foreign country.

Thousands of emails

At the time of Fox's 2017 conviction, a B.C. Supreme Court justice described his harassment as "boundless." Court heard Fox sent hundreds of thousands of emails to Capuano and people she knew. Court also heard how Fox allegedly bragged he copied 600 to 1,200 people, including co-workers, on emails that insulted Capuano and detailed her personal life.

In one email, Fox promised to "ruin" Capuano's life and "destroy" her "slowly and incrementally."

Capuano ultimately lost her IT job in 2015. She said she was told "security risks" posed by Fox's behaviour were part of the reason for the job loss.

Fox's was a landmark case in how criminal harassment charges are applied in Canada, as he only attacked his wife online. 

The case was also one of the first Canadian attempts to use the charge of criminal harassment to counter online attacks.

With files from Bal Brach, Natalie Clancy and Eric Rankin

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