Tuesday, December 16, 2008

National Stalking Awareness Month January 2009

The 2009 National Stalking Awareness Month (NSAM) Web site offers many resources to help you plan your 2009 NSAM activities. Visit www.stalkingawarenessmonth.org for a versatile set of resources that we hope will inspire your efforts to know, name, and stop stalking in your community.

The amended bill now moves back to the Assembly for a third and hopefully final vote. If the Assembly passes the bill in mid January when the legislature reconvenes, NJ would be able to acknowledge National Stalking Awareness Month by giving victims the long awaited opportunity to bring their stalkers to justice and stalkers would face the threat of jailtime.

12/15/2008 Passed by the Senate (37-0)

ONE STEP CLOSER to a new law.

Friday, December 12, 2008

December 15 Senate Voting Session

Subject: NJ Legislative Subscription ServiceSession 2008-2009

The following bill(s) have been scheduled for a committee or a legislativesession.

A1563:12/15/2008 2:00:00 PM SenateCommittees at the call of the Senate President Voting Session Senate Chambershttp://www.njleg.state.nj.us/bills/BillView.asp?

S1106:12/15/2008 2:00:00 PM SenateCommittees at the call of the Senate President Voting Session Senate Chambershttp://www.njleg.state.nj.us/bills/BillView.asp?BillNumber=S1106

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Stalkers Cause Anxiety and Stress - Sometimes for Years
by Kimberly TsaoIt's an ordinary day. You step into a bookstore and start to browse through the shelves. Next thing you know, the feeling of being followed isn't something just in movies anymore - it's real. It's now.A tall, lanky man weaves in and out of the same aisles you do. Then, suddenly, he's not behind you anymore. Coincidence, you think.Huge mistake.You turn to get a closer look at the book titles, and he's right there - peering at you from the other side of the bookshelf. His eyes pierce yours in the space between the top of several books and the shelf above them.
You look away for a second, and your eyes flicker to the children's book, "The Rainbow Fish," an illustration that will be burned in your mind forever, an image that you will flashback to and allow to fester in your mind in the years to follow.Seventy percent of stalking victims fall prey to post-traumatic stress disorder, which can manifest itself into depression, sleep problems and more, according to a 1998 New York Times article.One California woman was stalked for 31 years before the police made an arrest, according to the same New York Times article. That's more than 11,000 days of being stalked, of feeling helpless and afraid.Stalking only became a crime in 1990, according to the same article. One can't help but wonder, what about the centuries and centuries of victims before that?Fifty percent of stalking cases involve violent threats. The stalkers who carry out their threats have been known to hurt their victims' pets or vandalize their victims' properties. As a result, some victims are forced to move, find new jobs and change their identities. In extreme cases, the stalker kills the victim.Unfortunately, the Internet has placed stalking in a whole new arena. Stalkers don't need to constantly dial the victims' phone numbers or drive over to the victims' homes anymore. Cyberstalkers can haunt people from other states and countries.
In a 2002 Christian Science Monitor article, the president of SafetyEd, a group for stalking victims, was quoted as saying, "The majority of police departments, district attorneys and attorneys do not understand (cyberstalking), and the laws do not really protect you from this type of problem."But cyberstalkers usually stop after one visit by the local authorities, according to the same article.
If only all police forces would make that visit.Even if the police were vigilant, there is no profile for your everyday stalker. Stalkers can be psychotic, have a personality disorder or both, according to the New York Times article. They may also be alcoholics or drug addicts.Some people turn into stalkers because they've suffered abuse or abandonment, according to the same article. Other times, the trigger is "a recent loss." But none of them are legitimate excuses. Everyone who is grieving or abusing drugs doesn't necessarily become a stalker.A stalkers register was shut down in 2000, according to a 2005 BBC News article. It would have been akin to a sex offender register. The reasons for scrapping the plan?
"Practical issues and existing monitoring safeguards," according to the same BBC News article. What does that even mean? What could be more practical than keeping tabs on potentially dangerous stalkers? And what "existing safeguards"?The law needs to catch up. Restraining orders, when it comes down to it, are pieces of paper. They don't do much. Fifteen percent of the time, the stalkers remain undeterred, according to a 2007 ABC News article.
One million women and 400,000 men have been the victims of stalking, and one in 20 women will be stalked in her lifetime, according to the New York Times article.To the victims: Persevere.To the law enforcement: Protect and serve.To the stalkers: Get a life.

Friday, November 7, 2008

future ABC 20/20 episode on abusive ex husbands who sue their ex wives

It is a frightening trend that is to be addressed by 20/20 .....
Understanding the Batterer in Custody and Visitation Disputes

An article from Lundy Bancroft. Read the entire article here. Here is an except from Mr. Bancroft’s article:
An abuser’s desire for control intensifies as he senses the relationship slipping way from him. He focuses on the debt he feels his victim owes him, and his outrage at her growing independence. (This dynamic is often misread as evidence that batterers have an inordinate “fear of abandonment.”) He is likely to increase his level of intimidation and manipulation at this point; he may, for example, promise to change while simultaneously frightening his victim, including using threats to take custody of the children legally or by kidnapping. Those abusers who accept the end of the relationship can still be dangerous to their victims and children, because of their determination to maintain control over their children and to punish their victims for perceived transgressions. They are also, as we will see later, much more likely than non-batterers to be abusive physically, sexually, and psychologically to their children.

The propensity of a batterer to see his partner as a personal possession commonly extends to his children, helping to explain the overlap between battering and child abuse. He tends, for example, to have an exaggerated reaction when his ex-partner begins a new relationship, refusing to accept that a new man is going to develop a bond with “his” children; this theme is a common one in batterer groups. He may threaten or attack the new partner, make unfounded accusations that the new partner is abusing the children, cut off child support, or file abruptly for custody in order to protect his sole province over his children. A batterer who does file for custody will frequently win, as he has numerous advantages over his partner in custody litigation. These include, 1) his typical ability to afford better representation (often while simultaneously insisting that he has no money with which to pay child support), 2) his marked advantage over his victim in psychological testing, since she is the one who has been traumatized by the abuse, 3) his ability to manipulate custody evaluators to be sympathetic to him, and 4) his ability to manipulate and intimidate the children regarding their statements to the custody evaluator. There is also evidence that gender bias in family courts works to the batterer’s advantage. (Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Gender Bias Study) Even if the batterer does not win custody, his attempt can be among the most intimidating acts possible from the victim’s perspective, and can lead to financial ruin for her and her children.

ABC’s 20/20 Has Heard Us Loud And Clear!

From The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence:
WE DID IT! The ABC News television show 20/20 has heard you loud and clear. They are now considering producing an hour-long story on a MOTHER who has suffered/is suffering from domestic violence and has had a negative experience within the family court system.
This is where YOU come in! If you have a story about a mother whose experience within family court resulted in (1) disbelief of her allegations of abuse and (2) her children being awarded to the abusive father, please submit it to the Public Policy Office no later than November 30, 2008. Be sure to place “ABC Custody Story” in the subject heading of your email or fax. There is no guarantee your story will be chosen. We will inform you of 20/20’s final decision and the show’s air date. Thanks in advance!!! Story Guidelines1. No more than 1 page. If your story is chosen for further review, you can then provide additional details.2. A mother who lost her children to the abusive father because her allegations of abuse (against her or her children) were found not credible.3. Be willing to appear on television. Your identity can be concealed.4. Contact information of the mother.5. Contact information of the story submitter (if you are NOT the mother).6. Submit to publicpolicy@ncadv.org or 202.745.0088 (fax). Please email all questions to publicpolicy@ncadv.org

Thursday, October 30, 2008

National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, 2008 A Proclamation by the President of the United States of America

White House News
Our Nation has a moral obligation to work to prevent domestic violence and address its brutal and destructive effects. During National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, we underscore our commitment to helping individuals across our country who face such devastating violence.
My Administration remains dedicated to eradicating domestic violence and helping victims find the compassion, comfort, and healing they need. In 2003, I announced the creation of the Family Justice Center Initiative to help local communities provide comprehensive services at one location for victims of domestic violence. In 2006, I was proud to sign legislation that reauthorized the Violence Against Women Act to improve criminal justice responses to domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking. The Department of Justice's Domestic Violence Transitional Housing Assistance Program also offers victims of violence counseling and transitional housing services so they can escape the cycle of abuse.
During this month, we rededicate ourselves to protecting vulnerable members of our society and ensuring domestic abusers are punished to the full extent of the law. We encourage victims of domestic violence and their families to seek assistance through Family Justice Centers and the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE. Together, we can help heal hearts and build a culture in which all Americans can pursue their dreams and realize the great promise of our Nation.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim October 2008, as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. I urge all Americans to reach out to victims of domestic violence and take action to make ending domestic violence a national priority.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this first day of October, in the year of our Lord two thousand eight, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-third.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Legislature Schedule Change

Good things come to those who wait.... the next Senate Voting Session is now November 24th and then the Assembly voting session will follow on December 15, 2008.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Amendments approved by Senate 34-0

One step closer....the Amendments were unanimously approved by the Senate today 34-0. The entire bill will be voted on by the Senate in their next voting session scheduled for Nov 24th.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Off to the Capital October 23, 2008

What I have learned over the past years in dealing with the stalking and now getting the legislation passed is that life deals twists of fate when you least expect it....Tuesday morning when i checked the board list for the Senate voting session on Oct 23rd I was disappointed to not see S1106 up for a vote as promised. Senator Beck's office didn't understand it either. I left a message with Senate President Codey's office early in the morning. By 3:45PM not hearing back about the legislation I phoned Senate President Codey's Office and the phone was answered by a man saying "Governor Codey". I checked my cell phone as I thought I must have the wrong number but I soon realized my call was answered by the former Governor and Senate President himself. After getting over the shock of speaking with the former Governor, I explained that I was the woman with the open stalking case who had spoken to him at the NJBIA breakfast in September about the antistalking legislation and he had told me he would post it for a vote. Governor Codey immediately said let me see what I can do. An hour later I received a call from his aide telling me that the Governor asked him to call me back and he explained the minor Amendments and the bill need to be voted on separately. The amendments will be voted on tomorrow Thursday October 23rd and then on November 24th, the entire bill will be voted on. If all goes well, the bill will be ready for the Governors signature by Christmas! What a nice surprise. Tomorrow we are off to the Capital!!!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Fight the good fight and you will ultimately win

"Fight the good fight and you will ultimately win" I first heard this phrase from a secret service agent in 1999. You can't battle evil but you certainly can and should battle for the greater good. Since the stalking began on Christmas Eve in 1997, I have had so much help in this fight. You all have my deepest gratitude. You stepped in and helped when I needed it most and I will be forever grateful.

In chronological order....Valerie, Irwin Brooks, my prior employer, USSS Agent Ed Nasiatka, Dr Robert Fein, Senator Robert Torricelli, Ilse & the NCVC (National Center for Victims of Crime), Senator Joseph Biden and VAWA II, NYC Councilwoman Ronnie Eldridge, Oprah, Oxygen. com, The New York Times, Alan, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, NYPD Officer Lt West, NJ Detective Ross Yenisey, Congressman Rush Holt, Assemblyman Mike Panter, Chief of Staff Bruce Shapiro, Chief of Police Stu Brown, Assemblywoman Linda Greenstein, Ivy, The News Transcript, Chief of the State Office Victim Witness Advocacy Sandra McGowan, Senator Barbara Buono, Senator Fred Madden, The Asbury Park Press, Assembly Speaker Joseph Roberts, Judge Michael Guadagno, Jennifer & NJ CASA, Senator Jennifer Beck, Nancy, Pete, Janet, Grand Central Marketing, Lifetime Tv, Deputy Chief of Police Eric Landau, Mayor Jon Hornik, Assemblyman Joe Cryan, Alexis Moore and Senate President Richard Codey - the bill is a GO for posting on Oct 23rd! Minor amendments are being made and so the Bill goes back to the Assembly for the third time - but as they say the third time is the charm. Hooray for us - for fighting the good fight and securing the passage of this incredible piece of crime legislation. We have changed the future for stalking victims in NJ and hopefully the rest of the country will follow suit!

The London Times May 3, 2006 Online Stalker

Stalking is a world wide and not gender specific crime. Here is an article from the London Times on a woman who stalked a male co-worker.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Senate President Codey will post S1106 for vote !

The speakers at the breakfast I attended on Friday were Senate President Codey and Assembly Speaker Roberts. I thanked Speaker Roberts for posting A1563 and prior bill A4354 for a vote in the Assembly - the legislation passed the Assembly unanimously. A few days before I attended this breakfast, I spoke with the Chief of Staff for Senator Jennifer Beck, the Senator from my district who is one of the prime sponsors of the bill. I was told that Senate President Codey informed Senator Beck just the prior week that he would post S1106, the antistalking legislation for a vote. At this breakfast, I thanked Senate President Codey for agreeing to post this critical piece of legislation that will help me and the other victims of stalking who reside in NJ. He told me he was well aware of the need for this legislation, he would absolutely post it and he asked me to have Senator Beck send him a quick reminder to post the bill for a vote. The launch sequence has begun.........countdown to the first Senate voting session on Oct 23rd! Hooray!!!

Psychological impact of stalking

The majority of stalking victims do not seek mental health services, despite significant and serious mental health impact.
*- 80% of victims reported increased anxiety
*- 30% of victims developed PTSD
*- 25% of victims considered or attempted suicide
Yet, only 30% of female & 20% of male victims seek psychological counseling.

Sources: National Violence Against Women Survey, Tjaden & Thoennes (1998), Management of Victims of Stalking, Pathe, Mullen, & Purcell (2001) Reasons for not seeking counseling often mirror those for not reporting stalking: shame, embarassment, minimization, etc. Additionally, given the reality that 46 million people in this country do not have health insurance, psychological treatment is simply out of reach for many victims. This should not be a barrier to holding offenders accountable. If it is, offenders may end up targeting victims whom they learn do not have health insurance or cannot afford mental health counseling.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Reprinted to the left is a table listing COMMON DOMESTIC VIOLENCE STALKING ACTS from the book "The Psychology of Stalking; Clinical and Forensic Perspectives" Edited by J. Reid Meloy
Page 148 of the book continues
"Gottman et al. (1996) suggested that the most dangerous batterer may not be the one whose rage is out of control, but rather the one whose rage is "quiet', "cold" and totally under his/her control; what Meloy (1988) referred to as "predatory" rather than "affective" violence. This batterer has a mean streak that metes out cruel and vicious acts against his/her ex-partner. It is their need for revenge or vindication that motivates these stalkers. Dysfunctional cognitive thinking propels stalking behavior.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Next Senate Voting Session October 23, 2008

The Senate returns from summer vacation on October 1st. The first Senate voting session will be October 23, 2008. The countdown clock is counting down the days until 10-23 - the first opportunity to post this legislation S1106 A1563 for a vote by the full Senate. The Assembly has already unanimously passed this legislation.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Stalked to Walt Disney World Vacation 2008

With summer ending, everyone is talking about their vacation. Vacations when you are being stalked - escaping for some much needed R&R - are really not possible but the folks at Disney go out of their way to accommodate your special needs. A few days after testifying for the Assembly Law and Public Safety hearing in Feb 2008, I traveled with my child and close friend and her child to Disney World for the ESPN weekend event. Five hours after our plane landed in Florida, I was receiving phone calls on my cell phone from fax machines all around the state of NJ - area codes 973, 201, 609. The calls were coming ten minutes apart. (If you read the entire testimony below, you will know that on my birthday in Nov of 1998 my stalker found me in Disney World and used the voice changer machine from the slasher movie SCREAM to call my hotel room and sing Happy Birthday - I hung up and he called back. ) We were staying at the Polynesian Resort in 1998 and again in 2008 when the stalker reached out to scare us. I cannot describe for you how terribly disconcerting it is to know that someone is always tracking you and thinking of ways to scare you and ruin your life or spoil your vacation. Thankfully the folks at the front desk at the Polynesian were incredibly accommodating. Upon check in, they suggested we change our names and even printed our new identity on our ID Cards. Since it was ESPN the weekend - we became the Johan Santana family - see photo. They turned off the phone in our hotel room and moved our room as close to the main building as possible. I turned off my cell phone. For the remainder of our long weekend, we were the Santana family - we met our long lost relative Joaquin at the Contemporary Hotel gift shop and the maids thinking Johan was actually in the room asked the kids if their parents were in the room. Six months later, I get materials from Disney addressed to the Santana family. The trip was a blast. You rock Disney!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Proposed NJ antistalking legislation A1563 S1106


(Sponsorship Updated As Of: 2/26/2008)
ASSEMBLY, No. 1563
EXPLANATION – Matter enclosed in bold-faced brackets [thus] in the above bill is
not enacted and is intended to be omitted in the law.
Matter underlined thus is new matter.
AN ACT concerning stalking 1 and amending P.L.1992, c.209.
3 BE IT ENACTED by the Senate and General Assembly of the State
4 of New Jersey:
6 1. Section 1 of P.L.1992, c.209 (C.2C:12-10) is amended to
7 read as follows:
8 1. a. As used in this act:
9 (1) "Course of conduct" means repeatedly maintaining a visual
10 or physical proximity to a person; directly, indirectly, or through
11 third parties, by any action, method, device, or means, following,
12 monitoring, observing, surveilling, threatening, or communicating
13 to or about, a person, or interfering with a person’s property;
14 repeatedly committing harassment against a person, including but
15 not limited to repeatedly making telephone calls; or repeatedly
16 conveying, or causing to be conveyed, verbal or written threats or
17 threats conveyed by any other means of communication or threats
18 implied by conduct or a combination thereof directed at or toward a
19 person.
20 (2) "Repeatedly" means on two or more occasions.
21 (3) “Emotional distress” means significant mental suffering or
22 distress that may, but does not necessarily, require medical or other
23 professional treatment or counseling.
24 [(3) "Immediate family" means a spouse, parent, child, sibling or
25 any other person who regularly resides in the household or who
26 within the prior six months regularly resided in the household.]
27 b. A person is guilty of stalking, a crime of the [fourth] third
28 degree, if he purposefully or knowingly engages in a course of
29 conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable
30 person to fear [bodily injury to himself or a member of his
31 immediate family or to fear the death of himself or a member of his
32 immediate family] for his safety or the safety of a third person or
33 suffer other emotional distress.
34 c. A person [is guilty of a crime of the third degree if he] who
35 commits the crime of stalking in violation of an existing court order
36 prohibiting the behavior shall be sentenced by the court to a
37 mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of six months, during
38 which the defendant shall be ineligible for parole.
39 d. A person who commits a second or subsequent offense of
40 stalking against the same victim [is guilty of a crime of the third
41 degree] shall be sentenced by the court to a mandatory minimum
42 term of imprisonment of six months, during which the defendant
43 shall be ineligible for parole.
e. A person [is guilty of a crime o 1 f the third degree if he] who
2 commits the crime of stalking while serving a term of imprisonment
3 or while on parole or probation as the result of a conviction for any
4 indictable offense under the laws of this State, any other state or the
5 United States shall be sentenced by the court to a mandatory
6 minimum term of imprisonment of six months, during which the
7 defendant shall be ineligible for parole.
8 f. A person who commits the crime of stalking against a victim
9 who is less than 18 years of age shall be sentenced by the court to a
10 mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of six months, during
11 which the defendant shall be ineligible for parole.
12 g. This act shall not apply to conduct which occurs during
13 organized group picketing.
14 (cf: P.L.2001, c.220, s.2)
16 2. This act shall take effect immediately.
21 This bill would amend the stalking law to broaden protections for
22 victims. The majority of the bill’s provisions were recommended
23 by the 2007 report of the National Center for Victims of Crime,
24 “The Model Stalking Code Revisited: Responding to the New
25 Realities of Stalking.”
26 Under the bill, a person would be guilty of the crime of stalking
27 if his actions cause the victim to fear for his safety or the safety of a
28 third person. Current law provides that a person is guilty of
29 stalking only if his actions cause the victim to fear bodily injury to
30 or the death of himself or a member of his immediate family. The
31 report by the National Center for Victims of Crime notes that
32 reducing the level of fear required in a stalking statute would
33 provide earlier and better protection for stalking victims. The
34 report also states that stalkers may target third parties other than the
35 victim’s family members, such as employers or intimate partners,
36 and that therefore these persons should be protected by the law.
37 The bill also provides that a person would be guilty of stalking if
38 he purposefully or knowingly engages in a course of conduct
39 directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to
40 suffer emotional distress. According to the report, certain types of
41 stalking behavior committed as part of a course of conduct might
42 not meet the standard of “fear for safety” but nonetheless should be
43 addressed by law, such as making repeated telephone calls to a
44 victim.
45 The bill defines “emotional distress” as “significant mental
46 suffering or distress that may, but does not necessarily, require
47 medical or other professional treatment or counseling.”
The bill also amends the definition 1 of “course of conduct” in the
2 stalking statute. Under the bill, “course of conduct” would include
3 “directly, indirectly, or through third parties, by any action, method,
4 device, or means, following, monitoring, observing, surveilling,
5 threatening, or communicating to or about, a person, or interfering
6 with a person’s property; repeatedly committing harassment against
7 a person, including but not limited to repeatedly making telephone
8 calls.” The new language is intended to cover stalking by means of
9 new technology, such as situations where the stalker tracks the
10 victim through the use of a global positioning system attached to
11 the victim’s car.
12 The offense of harassment, set out in N.J.S.A.2C:33-4, provides
13 that a person commits harassment if, with purpose to harass
14 another, he makes, or causes to be made, a communication or
15 communications anonymously or at extremely inconvenient hours,
16 or in offensively coarse language, or any other manner likely to
17 cause annoyance or alarm, or engages in any other course of
18 alarming conduct or of repeatedly committed acts with purpose to
19 alarm or seriously annoy such other person. The sponsor notes that
20 stalkers may use indirect threats that do not cause the victim to
21 reach the level of fear set out in the statute but that do alarm the
22 victim.
23 Finally, the bill upgrades the crime of stalking to a crime of the
24 third degree. Under current law, stalking is generally a crime of the
25 fourth degree for a first offense. Stalking is currently a crime of the
26 third degree if it is committed in violation of an existing court order
27 prohibiting the behavior, if it is a second or subsequent offense of
28 stalking against the same victim, or if the defendant commits the
29 crime of stalking while serving a term of imprisonment or while on
30 parole or probation. Under the bill, stalking would generally be a
31 crime of the third degree. In the specific cases set out above,
32 stalking would be punishable by a mandatory minimum term of
33 imprisonment of six months. The bill also provides that stalking
34 would be punishable by a mandatory six-month term if the victim is
35 less than 18 years of age.
36 A crime of the fourth degree is punishable by a term of
37 imprisonment of up to 18 months or a fine of up to $10,000 or both;
38 a crime of the third degree, by a term of imprisonment of three to
39 five years, a fine of up to $15,000, or both.

State by State Stalking Statutes - NJ vs CA

Compare the California Stalking law which was strengthened again in 2008 with the current NJ stalking law adopted in 1992 and amended in 2001. NJ needs the swift passage of A1563 and S1106 - the proposed NJ stalking legislation.


County of San Diego District Attorney Stalking Strike Force

Imagine being pursued - hunted by someone who knows your every move. No matter what you do, you can’t shake them. You look in the rearview mirror and there they are. Panic sets in. You have nowhere to go, nowhere to hide. Welcome to the life of a stalking victim.

Stalking is not a new phenomenon. But widespread recognition of stalking as a social and criminal justice concern is relatively recent. California enacted anti-stalking legislation in 1990, and in 1994 Congress passed the national Violence Against Women Act.

Nationwide, one in 12 women will be victims of stalking at some point in their lives. Men make up a smaller, but equally victimized group.

Stalking cases are unique because they can involve ongoing behavior that can last for years. Often, several police agencies are involved in coordinating the investigation. Victims are among the most emotionally traumatized because of the ongoing and threatening nature of the crime.

Profiles of Stalkers:
THE STALKERS:9.5% Erotomania: Stalker falsely believes that the target, usually someone famous or rich, is in love with the stalker.
43% Love obsession: Stalker is a stranger to the target but is obsessed and mounts a campaign of harassment to make the target aware of the stalker's existence.
47% Simple obsession: Stalker usually male, knows target as an ex-spouse, ex-lover, or former boss, and begins a campaign of harassment.

38% Ordinary Citizens32% Lesser known entertainment figures.17% Highly recognizable celebrities.13% Former employer; other professionals.

Direct Threats-Straightforward and explicit statements of an intention to commit harm that do no state conditions that might avert harm.
Veiled Threats-Indirect, vague, or subtle statements suggesting potential harm that do not state conditions that might avert harm.
Conditional Threats-Statements portending harm and specifying either conditions to be met in order to avert the harm or conditions under which the threat will be carried out.
Other resources and valuable links about stalking:
National Center for Victims of Crime
Summary of the Violence Against Women Act

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Ten years of stalking; Dec 24, 1997 to present...share your stalking story

To my fellow stalking victims,

I am sharing my 10+ year stalking saga in hopes that you will share yours. We know first hand how difficult dealing with this complex crime is, but I encourage you to share your story so that our legislators hear from the many stalking victims who live in NJ and continue to suffer from this traumatizing crime. Only by joining together can we effect a change. Remember Amelia Earhart's words "Courage is the price that Life exacts for granting peace. " With your help, when the Senate reconvenes on October 1, 2008, I hope this bill will be immediately posted for a vote in the first voting session scheduled for October 23, 2008.


Good morning.

I am the survivor of a terrifying stalking that has traversed state lines and ebbed and flowed for over a decade. I am a successful businesswoman in my forties, a former honor student and a Homecoming Queen. Unfortunately, research shows, it is this "All American Girl" image that made me a prime candidate to be a victim of a stalking.

My Story will illustrate the horrors of stalking as well as the inability of local law enforcement to effectively deal with this complex crime under the current law which is woefully inadequate. Due to time constraints, I will briefly touch on only some of the stalking incidents. I will demonstrate to you that these incidents alone establish a clear pattern of behavior or course of conduct – the criteria in Bill 1563 whereby the police would be able to launch an investigation into a stalking.

After I rebuffed this man’s attempts to engage me in a personal relationship, I began to receive numerous silent or hang up phone calls at my home. The stalker formally initiated his campaign of terror on Christmas Eve 1997, with a phone call to my home at 1:30AM. The caller was disguising his voice like the slasher in the movie Scream and was reciting dialogue from that movie. He told me repeatedly, “I know who you are and I know where you live and I am going to get you.”

On the first day of the following summer, the stalker left a message on my home answering machine. The stalker once again used dialogue from the movie “Scream”. “Do you like scary movies? I do. I’m watching you. I see you outside your house. I am watching” – he was laughing – a very sinister laugh.

At the end of the summer on Labor Day 1998, the stalker kicked in the side of my car, while it was parked at the nearby movie theater. (SHOW PICTURE)

On my birthday that November, the stalker found me with my then 6 ½ year old child and my friend and her children in Disney World. Immediately after returning to our hotel room from dinner on the evening of my birthday, the phone rang and it was once again the voice from the movie Scream only this time his sinister voice was singing Happy Birthday to me. I immediately hung up the phone. The phone rang again a few minutes later and it was the same voice once again sending me an ominous message. Our hotel room was not even listed under my name.

Two weeks later over Thanksgiving Weekend, the stalker slashed the bushes around the perimeter of my home – each night over this very rainy weekend more of the bushes disappeared. Although all of the bushes were damaged, the stalker slashed by 2/3 the bushes that blocked his view of my front door from his perch in the woods. I discovered his perch in the woods littered with discarded cigarette butts.(SHOW 2 PHOTOS)

A few months later on Valentine’s Day, the stalker sent me a handwritten note in the mail. Later that day, I ran one quick errand taking approx 45 minutes and returned home to find the flag pole near my porch dangling as it had been nearly snapped off – the pole had been twisted and then stabbed into the front door blocking my entry.

Although I have been told that the facts in my case speak for themselves, obtaining the help to resolve my situation through the local authorities initially proved to be an exasperating and humiliating experience. The first Detective assigned to my case in 1998 told me “At least if you were raped we would have more evidence to go on and to give me a call and I would give you a ride to the hospital.” This same Detective later questioned a childhood friend of mine as to my credibility and commented to her that as I wear leggings when I go running – I deserved to be stalked. He also asked my friend “What goes on in that little head of hers?”

My town was also negligent in not placing a block on the calls to my Disney World hotel room in a timely manner. Despite the intervention of Senator Torricelli, who enlisted the aid of a Detective in Florida, these calls were irretrievable. It was nearly 18 months into the stalking before the local authorities questioned the stalker and that only occurred because of the continued efforts by my US Senator and his staff.

Because of the continued problems I faced in getting help to resolve the stalking at the local level, I was connected to the Secret Service through my prior employer. At a Secret Service conference in Boston on threat assessment, a Secret Service Agent discussed my case with Dr. Robert Fein, the forensic psychologist on staff with the Secret Service. My stalking log was shared with the two other agents who manage the National Threat Assessment Center along with Dr. Fein. After discovering the disappearance of personal items of mine including my High School Yearbook, the agent drew similarities between my case and the Rebecca Schaeffer stalking and murder and warned me that my life and my child’s life were in danger.

To expedite the help I so desperately needed, I asked my family and friends to contact Senator Torricelli on my behalf. Unfortunately, the Monmouth County Prosecutors office became annoyed at the letter writing campaign as all correspondence to my Senator was forwarded to the Prosecutor’s office. One evening, I was interrogated for a period of over 2 and ½ hours by the Lt at the Prosecutor’s office. The first half-hour of the interrogation involved having me identify and provide addresses and phone numbers for my family and friends who sent letters to help me. The Lt’s final question to me that evening was “Have I ever pulled this shit before?” Only after I became hysterical, did the Lt tell me that he believed my story. I was told at this meeting that the handwritten note from the stalker that I received on Valentines Day was “accidentally” destroyed during fingerprint testing by the Prosecutor’s office.

A month after my interrogation and five months after the Prosecutors office began attempting to subpoena phone records for the approximately 100 harassing calls that I had received to date, did the county officials finally discover that a third party search warrant was required to successfully retrieve the subscriber information.

In the spring of 1999, with the investigation not progressing quickly enough my child and I temporarily moved in with my family and then in September of 1999 we moved into a new home. The case was moved from the Monmouth County Prosecutors office to the FBI because the stalking was inter-state and once the FBI launched their investigation, the stalking stopped. The FBI agent assigned to my case told me that often these cases are very hard to prove beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law. Phone call information – the calls to my home and hotel room in Florida - that are needed to build the case are perishable. However, as he explained to me often the FBI questioning of the suspect is enough to bring the stalking to an end. When the stalker was questioned he alleged that I had “psychological problems”. As noted in the seminal book on this subject George Lardner Jr’s,“The Stalking of Kristin”, stalkers very often accuse their victim of psychological problems.

In September 2000, my story was used at a press conference at City Hall in Manhattan to help re-authorize the Federal Violence Against Women Act, which successfully passed.

The stalker remained quiet from the Fall 1999 until August of 2003. In August 2003, the stalker used my credit card and charged 3 items totaling $100.90 worth of merchandise and shipped it to a non existent address which was the yard across the street from the home I owned from 1992-1994. (SHOW MAP) The Prosecutors office told me the threshold for a subpoena to access the subscriber information for an unauthorized charge was $101. The stalker was able to manipulate the system and fly just under the radar. After this incident, I cancelled and reissued all of my credit cards. Two weeks later I received duplicate copies of the last three months of my American Express bill. When I called American Express to inquire about the statements, I was told that someone called Amex and ordered the copies to be sent to me by giving the new account number and my mother’s birth date.

Over Labor Day weekend 2003, my back screen door was slashed (Show the photo) – this bent nail (SHOW) was left in the bottom of the slashed screen. Soon I started receiving silent phone calls and shortly thereafter I started receiving calls from individuals with a Spanish accent and some actually speaking only Spanish. These individuals left messages on my answering machine and when I answered the phone they tried to engage me in a conversation. The calling became exacerbated the days leading up to my birthday, as I was receiving about 25 harassing calls a day. These calls were traced to the homes of Spanish speaking people in Freehold who “rent” their phone out to their friends and neighbors and people they don’t know for $5 or $10 a call. These calls were investigated; however, the people whose homes the calls were originating from barely spoke English and so many people used their pay for a call phone service that no clear link to the stalker was established. In addition to those calls, I was also receiving calls from Spanish speaking workers on the loading dock at the local Shop Rite. By this point I had moved twice and had at least 7 different unlisted phone numbers. Plus, I don’t even shop at Shop Rite.

With no apparent hope for a resolution in a court of law, I continued to ignore these harassing incidents until Jan 2006, when 48 hours after I got engaged, my cell phone, home phone and my fiance's cell phone began ringing off the hook from 11:30PM until 5AM. The caller would not say anything but I heard noise in the background. The next day, I met with the Lt and Detective at my local police department. The Detective told me he suspected the calls were from a QUOTE/UNQUOTE “ex” - someone close to me or my fiance. He advised me to check my online Verizon wireless account to see if someone attempted to hack into it. The Detective was absolutely correct in his hunch - My account was locked due to unsuccessful login attempts. (Show photo)

I began receiving text messages from numbers unknown to me that repeated word for word e-mails my fiance had sent to me. I received text messages from unknown e-mail addresses. When I tried to open the text, the phone would turn itself off. I went to a concert at Radio City Music Hall and 15 minutes after I left the concert, I began receiving silent calls on my cell phone while walking through Times Square.

The Detective explained to me that under the current law a death threat was required to launch an investigation and a violation of the current law was merely a misdemeanor or slap on the wrist. The Detective explained to me that we needed a new law that would allow for a course of conduct or pattern of behavior to launch an investigation. Congressman Rush Holt's office sent me to Assemblyman Mike Panter. By May of 2006, Assemblyman Panter and his staff were working with the Detective, Chief of Police and the National Center for Victims of Crime to craft a new stalking law for NJ.

In May of 2006, I changed all of my phone information and waited for the law to move forward.

On April Fools Day 2007, the calling from the Spanish speaking people residing in Freehold began again with calls to my home number at 2, 4 and 6AM. These calls have continued over the past 7 months. I receive them on nights and weekends that my child is with my ex husband or supposed to be with my ex husband. The caller’s names and number appear on my caller id. In order for the calls to be traceable, I must answer the phone. The third call from one of these individuals came around 10:30 Pm on August 21st. I answered the phone and said hello. The individual tried to engage me in conversation and when I remained silent – he told me that I had better talk to him right now because if I didn’t he was only 3 miles away from me and he would come over to my home and kill me. This call was traced to another home owned by a Spanish speaking individual who rents his phone out for $5 or $10 per call. This pattern of calling from Spanish speaking people in Freehold is exactly the same as pattern that emerged in 2003 but I have moved again and had changed my number at least 4 times since 2003.

The following week, the night after the News Transcript article on the new stalking law appeared in the paper http://tritown.gmnews.com/news/2007/0830/front_page/045.html, a screw was screwed into my tire. (Show photo) The AAA worker who unscrewed the screw from tire will testify in court that he had never seen anything so deliberately placed. The officer who took the police report had listened to the “Jersey Guys” on 101.5 discuss the News Transcript article on the new law on their show. He told me that when the new stalking law is passed there will be so much more they could do to help me.

As I have demonstrated, I do not have the freedom that most people have to live their life unimpeded. My life is interrupted by a vengeful stalker. The acts of stalking spill over into my family. All children worry about the safety of their parents but to my child that fear is and was much more tenable. My child was five ½ when the stalking began and now is a teenager. Without Bill 1563 becoming a law, there will never be an ending to this stalking but just another chapter with more twists and turns and shocks. My family needs and deserves justice. PLEASE fast track Bill 1563 and make it a law. I need that law in place to impose a threat to the stalker’s future – the threat of jail time - instead of the current stalking law which is merely a slap on the wrist and currently permits him to threaten me. We need this law that would allow the police to quickly launch an investigation and prosecute before victims are irreparably harmed and evidence is destroyed.

Thank you.

VAWA ( Violence Against Women Act ) & Senator Joseph Biden

According to a study by the Centers for Disease Control, every year over 1,000,000 women are victims of stalking by former husbands, boyfriends and sometimes mere acquaintances.
In 1994, Senator Joseph Biden sponsored VAWA (the Violence Against Women Act). The federal Violence Against Women Act has been key in providing shelter to victims of domestic abuse, educating law enforcement and seeing that perpetrators are prosecuted. Nearly 8 years ago, on September 6, 2000 my story of inter-state stalking was used to help secure the re-authorization of VAWA. Oxygen.com posted my story on line "Hot News; Your Views" and New York City Councilwoman Ronnie Eldridge read my testimony on the steps of City Hall in New York City at press conference. VAWA II passed successfully in October 2000.
Thanks to Senator Biden and VAWA II and III, local law enforcement are better able to deal with the crime of stalking.

Friday, August 22, 2008

NCVC National Center for Victims of Crime

The NCVC National Center for Victims of Crime was recommended to me by a Secret Service Agent. The NCVC has a Stalking Resource Center. They have been helping me since 2000 and helped author our soon to be new state anti-stalking legislation.


For Victim Assistance, please call 1-800-FYI-CALL, M-F 8:30 AM - 8:30 PM EST, or e-mail gethelp@ncvc.org

"In His Sights" in The New York Times July 31, 2008

"In His Sights"
By Kate Brennan. Excerpted from In His Sights (Harper, 2008) What if the man you'd loved for years vows, when you leave him, to destroy you? What if he transforms into a ruthless tormentor, stealing your freedom, undermining your sanity, and threatening your safety?This is not a fictional scenario.

This is one woman's account of her decade long dealings with a stalker.

Press Release January 2008

Press Release
Panter, Greenstein Bill Enhancing Stalking Law Protections Clears AssemblyJanuary 7, 2008 - 4:21pm
Tags: Linda Greenstein, Mike Panter, Stalking,
Release Date: Jan 7 2008

(TRENTON) - The Assembly today passed legislation Assembly members Mike Panter and Linda R. Greenstein sponsored to strengthen the state's anti-stalking laws.
"With the advent of near instant communication, the opportunities for individuals to engage in stalking and harassment have increased exponentially, making victims more vulnerable than ever," said Panter (D-Monmouth). "Our laws need to be adjusted to reflect this new challenge so we may better protect innocent people from unwanted attention and advances."
The Panter/Greenstein measure (A-4354) - which passed by a vote of 80-0 - would expand the definitions and enhance the penalties found in the state's stalking statute. Specifically, a person would be guilty of third-degree stalking if he or she purposefully or knowingly engages in behavior that causes victims to fear for their safety or suffer severe emotional distress. Third-degree stalking carries penalties of up to $15,000 in fines and five years in jail.
Under the bill, a person who commits the following crimes would be subject to a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of six months without parole:
Stalking in violation of an existing court order prohibiting that behavior;
Repeat instances of stalking the same victim;
Stalking while serving a term of imprisonment or on parole or probation; and
Stalking a victim who is a minor.
Additionally, the measure would broaden the legal definition of "course of conduct" with reference to stalking to include harassment by means other than personal contact and contact by phone.
"Stalking is a serious crime that can damage a person's life and leave lasting scars," said Greenstein (D-Middlesex). "We must do more to protect people from unwanted, unrelenting, and unnerving attention."

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Where we are with the legislation......8/08

Assembly Bill A1563 has unanimously passed the House twice - once on the last day of the last legislative session January 7, 2008 and again on March 13, 2008. Senate Bill S1106 was unanimously passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee on June 5, 2008. We are hopeful that when the legislature reconvenes in September 2008, S1106 will be expeditiously posted for a vote by the full Senate.

A1563 Amends stalking law to broaden protections for victims. 2nd Reading in the Senate

Identical Bill Number: S1106 Last Session Bill Number: A4354 S3051 Greenstein, Linda R. as Primary SponsorMunoz, Eric as Primary SponsorCryan, Joseph as Primary SponsorEvans, Elease as Primary SponsorOliver, Sheila Y. as Co-SponsorBiondi, Peter J. as Co-SponsorMcKeon, John F. as Co-SponsorGreen, Jerry as Co-SponsorThompson, Samuel D. as Co-SponsorVainieri Huttle, Valerie as Co-SponsorHandlin, Amy H. as Co-SponsorVas, Joseph as Co-SponsorGiblin, Thomas P. as Co-SponsorQuigley, Joan M. as Co-SponsorBarnes, Peter J., III as Co-SponsorLampitt, Pamela R. as Co-SponsorRumpf, Brian E. as Co-SponsorDiegnan, Patrick J., Jr. as Co-SponsorEgan, Joseph V. as Co-SponsorScalera, Frederick as Co-SponsorAlbano, Nelson T. as Co-SponsorJohnson, Gordon M. as Co-SponsorGreenwald, Louis D. as Co-SponsorCruz-Perez, Nilsa as Co-SponsorBramnick, Jon M. as Co-SponsorO'Scanlon, Declan J., Jr. as Co-SponsorChivukula, Upendra J. as Co-Sponsor

1/8/2008 Introduced, Referred to Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee2/25/2008 Reported out of Assembly Committee, 2nd Reading3/13/2008 Passed by the Assembly (78-0-0)3/17/2008 Received in the Senate, Referred to Senate Judiciary Committee6/5/2008 Reported from Senate Committee, 2nd ReadingIntroduced - 4 pages PDF Format HTML Format Statement - ALP 2/25/08 - 2 pages PDF Format HTML Format Technical Review Of Prefiled Bill - 3 pages PDF Format HTML Format Statement - SJU 6/5/08 - 2 pages PDF Format HTML Format
Committee Voting:ALP 2/25/2008 - r/favorably - Yes {5} No {0} Not Voting {0} Abstains {0} - Roll Call

S1106 Amends stalking law to broaden protections for victims. 2nd Reading in the Senate

Identical Bill Number: A1563 Last Session Bill Number: S3051 Buono, Barbara as Primary SponsorBeck, Jennifer as Primary SponsorTurner, Shirley K. as Co-SponsorMadden, Fred H., Jr. as Co-SponsorGirgenti, John A. as Co-SponsorWeinberg, Loretta as Co-SponsorBateman, Christopher as Co-SponsorKean, Thomas H., Jr. as Co-SponsorStack, Brian P. as Co-Sponsor

2/14/2008 Introduced in the Senate, Referred to Senate Judiciary Committee6/5/2008 Reported from Senate Committee, 2nd ReadingStatement - SJU 6/5/08 - 2 pages PDF Format HTML Format Introduced - 4 pages PDF Format HTML Format
Committee Voting:SJU 6/5/2008 - r/favorably - Yes {10} No {0} Not Voting {1} Abstains {0} - Roll Call