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Nebraska man sentenced to one year in prison for Church of Scientology cyber attack

May 25, 2010 |  9:47 am

A Nebraska man was sentenced in a Los Angeles federal courtroom to one year in prison for taking part in a 2008 cyber attack that shut down websites for the Church of Scientology.

Brian Thomas Mettenbrink, 20, of Grand Island, Neb., was sentenced Monday in U.S. District Court for a cyber attack orchestrated by "Anonymous," a loose online group that accused the Church of Scientology of censorship for demanding the removal of a Tom Cruise interview that had been posted to YouTube.

Mettenbrink agreed in January to plead guilty to the misdemeanor charge of unauthorized access of a protected computer and to serve a year in prison. He was formally sentenced Monday by Judge Gary A. Feess, according to the U.S. district attorney's office in Los Angeles.

Prosecutors said Mettenbrink admitted in court papers to downloading software from an "Anonymous" message board, and in January 2008 used it to attack the church's websites with such a high volume of Internet traffic that they crashed.

Dmitriy Guzner of Verona, N.J., was sentenced last year to one year and one day in federal prison after pleading guilty to participating in the attack.

The U.S. Secret Service Electronic Crimes Task Force in Los Angeles has an ongoing investigation of the attack.

-- Tony Barboza