Shostack + Friends Blog


Why I don't engage with Sean Hastings

Mr. Hastings has been charged with crimes against me, and the police advise me to not engage. An excerpt from a letter about the charges against Mr. Hastings

I have decided the time has come for me to speak up about someone who has been threatening, stalking and harassing me for over two decades. His actions have taken a toll on my health, my family, my business and my reputation. I have not done the things he accuses me of doing.

For over twenty years, Sean Hastings has told me he is “obsessed” with me. He has repeatedly threatened to kill or maim me. He has made these threats in person, on the phone, via email, and online. He even threatened to accuse me of awful things if I reported his threats to the police.

Twenty four years ago, in the year 2000, Mr. Hastings chased me into a hotel room to threaten me. I went to the police in Montreal, where I lived at time. I provided them with a written statement and copies of his emails. His emails told a different story than the one he tells today. Victims of stalking and harassment know how difficult it can be to get the police to charge anyone.

The police charged Mr. Hastings with threatening me and criminal harassment. They also specifically advised me not to respond to any further threats or efforts at contact.

The written threats which I brought to the police included the following:

  • “I am willing to try just about anything to get over this. I would prefer a non-violent solution, but if I can’t find one, I will quite happily remove you from the planet in a particularly messy and painful fashion if that’s what it takes to make me feel better. In fact just writing that made me smile. :-).”
  • “Adam will lose some piece of his anatomy (my choice).”
  • “The constant pain I am in is being added to the debt you owe, such that where once I could simply have given you a good beating and called it even, I now feel the need to permanently disfigure you. At some point in the future it is likely that I will cease to be rational enough to have the ability to honor my agreements, and by that time it may be that your death will be the only satisfactory punishment.”
  • ”If this means […] so I won’t have to think about things Cypherpunky and the associated people, then so be it. If it means killing Adam, then that’s fine too.”
  • “I really don’t want to hurt you, but I also really have to.”
  • “Either I hurt you enough to feel better (possibly this means killing you) or you kill me . . . . So choose to face me at a specified place and time with specified weapons, or just wait and let me surprise you. I leave that up to you. Either way, I look forward to seeing you soon.”
  • “I was planning on getting Adam alone somewhere, knocking him out and removing some fingers from his left hand . . . . I held off at the last possible instant even though I had him alone in his hotel room with no witnesses to say I had actually gone in with him. Instead I gave him the wire cutters I had bought specifically for the purpose as a souvenir. As I handed them to him with one hand I was putting the lead shot blackjack back into my pocket with the other. It was a very very near thing.”

I have gone to the police repeatedly over the years because of his ongoing harassment. All my contact with the police has been at my initiative. Again, I have told the police that I have done none of the things he has accused me of doing, to anyone. Every law enforcement professional I have spoken to over the years advised me that any response to his harassment would only encourage him. Concerned for my safety and the safety of those I love, I took that advice even as Mr. Hastings continued his threats and harassment and even as he eventually started defaming me online.

Mr. Hastings has attempted to take away my safety, my reputation, and to damage my life. Living with his ongoing threats, harassment, and defamation has been traumatic for me and my family.

To stay safe, I have taken substantial steps to protect my physical location, including not registering to vote, maintaining a post office box, and joining the State Address Confidentiality Program.

I am speaking out because after more than twenty years of harassment, I am tired of the impact these claims have on me and those around me.

I would like to put this unwarranted harassment behind me and get on with my life. My lawyer has sent Mr. Hastings a demand to cease and desist. This will be my only statement if he does so.

This post can be found via an easy URL,

Update, June 18: I am deeply grateful to the many people expressing support including those who spoke about their experience with Mr. Hastings or haven been a victim of an obsessed person.