Year
1999
Month Day
January 19

Man charged in California cyberstalking case

A mere three weeks after California passed a law against cyberstalking, Gary Dellapenta is charged with using the Internet to solicit the rape of a woman who had rejected his advances. Dellapenta terrorized a North Hollywood woman by placing ads in her name that claimed she had rape fantasies and provided her address and instructions for disarming her security system. At least six men saw the Internet ads and came to the woman’s home. Many more called with obscene messages.

On January 1, 1999, California had become the first state to ban cyberstalking, or stalking that involves electronic communications. Dellapenta went afoul of the new law by using the Internet to get back at the woman who had repeatedly rejected his romantic interest in her.

At first the woman had no idea why men were banging on her door in the middle of the night saying that they were there to rape her. When she finally learned about the Internet ads, she placed notes on her door explaining that the ads were false. However, Dellapenta then placed new ads saying that the notes were part of the fantasy. He was caught when the victim’s father pretended to respond to the ads and traced their origin.

In April, Dellapenta pleaded guilty to one count of stalking and three counts of solicitation of sexual assault and received a six-year prison sentence.

FACT CHECK: We strive for accuracy and fairness. But if you see something that doesn't look right, click here to contact us! HISTORY reviews and updates its content regularly to ensure it is complete and accurate.

ALSO ON THIS DAY

Fleetwood Mac reunites to play “Don’t Stop” at Bill Clinton’s first inaugural ball

On January 19, 1993, the band Fleetwood Mac reunites to perform at the recently elected U.S. President Bill Clinton’s first inaugural gala. Fleetwood Mac had faced much intra-band squabbling since their 1970s heyday, why they released one of the biggest albums of all ...read more

Charles Wilkes claims portion of Antarctica for U.S.

During an exploring expedition, Captain Charles Wilkes sights the coast of eastern Antarctica and claims it for the United States. Wilkes’ group had set out in 1838, sailing around South America to the South Pacific and then to Antarctica, where they explored a 1,500-mile stretch ...read more

Indira Gandhi becomes Indian prime minister

Following the death of Indian Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri, Indira Gandhi becomes head of the Congress Party and thus prime minister of India. She was India’s first female head of government and by the time of her assassination in 1984 was one of its most controversial. ...read more

First air raid on Britain

During World War I, Britain suffers its first casualties from an air attack when two German zeppelins drop bombs on Great Yarmouth and King’s Lynn on the eastern coast of England. The zeppelin, a motor-driven rigid airship, was developed by German inventor Ferdinand Graf von ...read more

Edgar Allan Poe is born

On January 19, 1809, poet, author and literary critic Edgar Allan Poe is born in Boston, Massachusetts. By the time he was three years old, both of Poe’s parents had died, leaving him in the care of his godfather, John Allan, a wealthy tobacco merchant. After attending school in ...read more

President Ford pardons Tokyo Rose

President Gerald R. Ford pardons Tokyo Rose. Although the nickname originally referred to several Japanese women who broadcast Axis propaganda over the radio to Allied troops during World War II, it eventually became synonymous with a Japanese-American woman named Iva Toguri. On ...read more

Production begins on “Toy Story”

On January 19, 1993, production begins on Toy Story, the first full-length feature film created by the pioneering Pixar Animation Studios. Originally a branch of the filmmaker George Lucas’s visual effects company, Industrial Light and Magic (ILM), Pixar first put itself on the ...read more

Robert E. Lee born

Confederate General Robert Edward Lee is born in Westmoreland County, Virginia. Lee commanded the Army of Northern Virginia during most of the Civil War and his brilliant battlefield leadership earned him a reputation as one of the greatest military leaders in history as he ...read more

First McDonald’s drive-through opens in Beijing

On January 19, 2007, Beijing, China, the capital city of the planet’s most populous nation, gets its first drive-through McDonald’s restaurant. The opening ceremony for the new two-story fast-food eatery, located next to a gas station, included traditional Chinese lion dancers ...read more

John Wilkes expelled from British Parliament

On January 19, 1764, the British Parliament expels John Wilkes from its ranks for his reputedly libelous, seditious and pornographic writings. Over the next 12 years, Wilkes’ name became a byword for Parliamentary oppression both in Britain and in Britain’s North American ...read more