A West Richland woman has been sentenced to 20 days in jail after admitting she sent at least 200 threatening and vulgar text messages to a man with whom she was having an affair and to his wife.
Sheila M. Crouch, 39, was told in Benton County Superior Court that she can split up the time.
Ten days can be served on work release — meaning she will spend the night in jail and be let out for her job — and the other 10 days will be converted to 80 hours of community service.
The sentence includes 344 days suspended, which she can be ordered to serve if she violates any conditions. A review hearing is scheduled Sept. 14.
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She also will be on community supervision for two years.
Crouch pleaded guilty in October to one count of cyberstalking, a gross misdemeanor.
The victims were consulted about the plea agreement and reportedly were OK with it. Deputy Prosecutor Andrew Howell said the couple just wants to be left alone.
Detectives discovered Crouch used free websites and applications to get 31 different phone numbers and email accounts. She also created a blog using the wife’s name and told her to “wake up” with details and photographs about the affair, documents said.
The man’s wife contacted the Benton County Sheriff’s Office in December 2014 after receiving text messages and emails from an unknown person. The wife, who had learned about the affair a month before, said the messages had progressed to threatening physical harm.
Her husband was getting similar messages from unknown numbers and email addresses.
They changed their cellphone numbers several times, but the stalker always found their new numbers and continued the harassment, court documents said.
The messages threatened to burn down the couple’s Tri-City home and rape and kill the man’s wife, documents said.
The wife told investigators that she feared for her family’s safety.
Detectives found 126 messages on the husband’s phone over a one-month period and 71 messages on his wife’s phone, documents said.
They discovered that Crouch used free websites and applications to get 31 different phone numbers and email accounts. She also created a blog using the wife’s name and told her to “wake up” with details and photographs about the affair, documents said.
Crouch was tracked down through search warrants for the subscriber information and internet addresses, which were linked to the Red Mountain winery where she worked, a relative’s home where she was living with her husband and another relative’s home in Utah.
She told investigators she stopped after being fired from her job, documents said.