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Defining "stalking," and exploring legal options


swimmermom3
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I am not sure exactly how to ask the questions I need to ask and still protect the privacy of those involved, so please bear with me.

 

The situation involves a vulnerable young woman and a former boyfriend who seems to have difficulty moving on even after a year and half break up. The young man is in the military, but supposedly is being medically discharged and will be returning to our area in June. We are very concerned and would like to be prepared and have damage control in place before he returns. He has never hit the young woman, but has punched a brick wall inches from her head. His style is heavily manipulative along the lines of "If you really love me, you will do this thing you don't want to do..." It is the technique of badgering the person to comply 20-30 times until the point where they think maybe it would be better to do what is asked and it will all stop. Which it doesn't.

 

At one point a few months ago the young man called under the pretense of sharing information he thought would be appreciated - it slammed the young woman professionally. When told that whatever the situation really was, it was none of his business, he backpedaled and said his commanding officer thought what was going on was unacceptable and that we should know. Basically, we threatened to call the base and check the situation, because it seemed really silly. He finally admitted that his commanding officer had nothing to do with it. We told him if there was anymore contact with our family, we would forward all text documentation to his commanding officer. I loathe this kind of game.

 

He stopped all personal contact and began an all out smear campaign. He friended many of the young woman's friends, and even her cousins and shared his "story." She had kept pretty quiet about the situation, so many people were blind-sided by what he had to share. Now, he has a new game that could be potentially devastating to the young woman's future and her stability. I know we need a lawyer, right? There has to be something we can do to make him just go away and grow up.

 

Please don't quote me and if you have specific recommendations or questions, please pm me. Thanks.

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Absolutely a lawyer and absolutely look into the military discipline issue.

 

Another thought: Recently a friend of mine had extremely good reasons to limit the contact she had with a friend I'll call "George" She e-mailed all of her FB contacts to let them know that if they were Facebook friends with "George", she was going to have to de-freind them. They were welcome to make any choice they wanted, but this was something she needed to do. It was very well-received and I think your friend might want to consider something similar, in addition to the above ideas.

 

:grouphug: :grouphug: :grouphug:

 

 

Anne

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get a lawyer, and I would go ahead and contact his CO and let him know what this guy is doing. while you can probably get a restraining order - they are worthless in the moment because they get applied after the fact.

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If you are going to pay an attorney, I would also investigate and consider talking with a stalking consultant. How you find one I don't know, but keep asking and you will find someone who has dealt with stalkers and know how to deal with them. Sometimes totally ignoring is the way to go, any response just aggravates the situation (so going to his CO could be a mistake, especially as he is soon out). Find someone who deals with stalkers regularly who can give you advice.

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get a lawyer, and I would go ahead and contact his CO and let him know what this guy is doing. while you can probably get a restraining order - they are worthless in the moment because they get applied after the fact.

 

Yes, I would do this now, while he is still on active duty. The Army has mental health counseling (I'm pretty sure he could be ordered to attend, but I'm not positive). He's being medically discharged, is it combat injury related? Is there PTSD? Do a search on - soldiers murdering wives, something like that (I'm not trying to paint soldiers with a broad brush, but it is reality). I can recall 3 women murdered during the 4 years we were at Ft. Lewis, I could see the yellow police tape right out my kitchen window from one of them. For a while there seemed to be a lot of spousal murders at Ft. Bragg. You already know he's a liar with an anger problem, how would you know if it's an actual medical discharge or something less honorable? After 20+ years of Army life, I know this - a dirtbag who puts on a uniform can still be a dirtbag. I wouldn't hesitate to contact the CO and let him/her know the entire story, including how he/she was included in it. Hopefully the soldier will be pulled in to have it addressed - that would put him on notice that his crap won't fly anymore. And honestly - if he's an angry, lying manipulator - this may not come as a surprise to his chain of command. Contact them and send them all of the FB (?) traffic for substantiation.

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You might find this interview helpful:

 

http://www.npr.org/2012/12/03/166402533/busting-a-cyberstalker

 

I don't have a lot of experience with this, but I think that you need the advice of a professional. One of the things I have heard is that the young woman can NEVER retaliate, never get mad and say something nasty, and document every single contact the two of them have. If she engages with this person at all, it can look like they are still in a relationship and police may say there's nothing they can do.

I would hesitate to take any advice from online sources until you've spoken to a lawyer. Stalking laws can be complicated and she needs to know ahead of time how to behave. I'm so sorry to hear that this is happening to someone you care about. Hugs.

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I would skip a lawyer and go straight to court and get a restraining order. You do not need an attorney present to get one. The judge will listen to everything she has to say and will issue the order of protection.

 

She needs to take advantage of all legal avenues, military and non-military.

 

I would also go visit with the local police department and see what advice they have.

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:grouphug:

 

I don't have any personal experience with this type of situation but I agree with others that contacting his CO and filing a police report would probably be good starting points. Hopefully between the military and law enforcement something can be done to stop the young man and/or get him some help.

 

Elise in NC

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Years ago, I read a book, The Gift of Fear, by Gavin de Becker. It's about stalkers. On of the points that he makes early on is to trust your instinct, way before you could 'prove' any crime. It sounds as though you are of that mindset & might find the book helpful.

 

I couldn't remember the author's name and found it on this website:

 

http://www.crime-safety-security.com/Stop-a-Stalker.html

 

I would second the suggestion of an attorney, especially as the laws in this area are not very clear cut.

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It's actually really hard to take legal action to make someone stop being a jerk.

 

Since it sounds like he has already stopped all contact with the girl and is mostly just spreading false rumors about her, you may end up having more of a "slander" case then a "stalking" case, depending on your state laws. But cases involving slander/libel can be expensive to bring and difficult to prove, and in personal relationships they are particularly hard.

 

While the hand through the wall thing may well have justified a restraining order at the time it happened, it may be difficult to try that avenue now time has passed.

 

I would see an attorney not really because I think you will successfully obtain any kind of order, but because I think it is important that the family have absolutely no contact with this young man, and that an attorney writing a letter demanding that he cease this behavior is probably the most effective route. An attorney could could analyze the case under the law of your jurisdiction (and really, the laws on this vary widely so your own jurisdiction is the only one that matters) and write him a letter threatening whatever kind of legal action would be most likely to succeed. Sometimes that's really all it takes, but if he's truly malignant, it might not really stop the behavior.

 

If he's getting out of the military, even contacting his command is unlikely to make any difference very soon.

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the guy has proven that he lies. You can't believe anything he says - only what he has actually done. You don't even know for a fact he is getting out of the military anytime son, you have only his claims, and they aren't verified.

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I did my master's thesis on erotomania, the delusion that someone is slated to be your partner, spouse, what have you and the predictors of future criminal behavior. This condition is caused by many things, including mental illness, strokes, brain tumors, etc. What caused the problem was not a determinate of future criminal activity. What was the predictor is the usual ones- young and male. He fits both categories. I would be finding out more about his military situation - if he is having a medical discharge truely, it could be that he has been diagnosed with something like paranoid schizophrenia.

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Please contact a lawyer. The things he has done may be actionable (libel, slander...) on top of being considered "stalking." Depending on how large your police department is, there may be an officer who has special victims training regarding stalking, so I would also go there for assistance. Screenshot everything, save everything, document, document, document. If there's no physical record of the incident, still write it down back as far as she can remember. Keep an ongoing notebook of this.

 

How disconcerting. I'm sorry someone you know is going through this. :(

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I did my master's thesis on erotomania, the delusion that someone is slated to be your partner, spouse, what have you and the predictors of future criminal behavior. This condition is caused by many things, including mental illness, strokes, brain tumors, etc. What caused the problem was not a determinate of future criminal activity. What was the predictor is the usual ones- young and male. He fits both categories. I would be finding out more about his military situation - if he is having a medical discharge truely, it could be that he has been diagnosed with something like paranoid schizophrenia.

 

This.

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It seems that the "stalking" concern is for when he returns home? I suggest a factual, written documentation of the history in place so you can execute any and all helps when/if he returns home and exhibits dangerous behavior.

 

I'd also read "Saving Beauty from the Beast", and look into help from the organizations referenced there.

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Years ago, I read a book, The Gift of Fear, by Gavin de Becker. It's about stalkers. On of the points that he makes early on is to trust your instinct, way before you could 'prove' any crime. It sounds as though you are of that mindset & might find the book helpful.

 

I couldn't remember the author's name and found it on this website:

 

http://www.crime-saf...-a-Stalker.html

 

I would second the suggestion of an attorney, especially as the laws in this area are not very clear cut.

 

 

This is a good website, I like the de Becker book, too.

 

I found another website: http://www.wikihow.com/Get-Rid-of-a-Stalker Make sure to read the last point about TROs and be cautious. Also read about avoiding contact. It sounds like either the lady or her family is still talking to this guy. Stop! Continued contact, even negative generally continues the behavior.

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I had this happen to me when I was young and that was before the internet. I am probably one of the only people who checks out my ex on facebook to make sure they haven't moved too close to me, lol. You cannot take this too seriously. I moved three times and if I were the young woman in question I would not only make sure that my facebook friends knew that friending him meant that I would have to unfriend them, I would document everything for the police, I would contact the military with all my information, and I would consider moving without telling people where I was going or putting pics of my new home all over facebook.

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Pursue the legal options, but do not count on them to keep her safe. Many an attacker has ignored a restraining order to harm the object of their focus. They are already planning to commit the crime of assault, the crime of violating a restraining order means nothing to them.

 

Do contact the military and let the guy's CO know exactly how he was implicated in the last scam. That will definitely get his attention.

 

Get the girl into a good self defense class asap. She needs to know how to defend herself if this thing goes physical. But don't advertise the fact that she is training. One of her big assets is the element of surprise. If he thinks she is dumb and weak, he won't have a Plan B in mind for what to do if she resists his attack.

 

Definitely talk with local law enforcement. They often see both the legal and the practical sides of these types of situations. They can help her understand when and whether to run and hide or to stay and fight.

 

And I realize this is heresy, but I would suggest she consider staying completely off FaceBook or other social media sites for a while. It is almost impossible to post on them and maintain any degree of personal privacy. It is far too easy to figure out where someone will be at a certain time, figure out their daily/weekly schedules, know what they are doing and then do things to jeopardize them.

 

She should make sure all her friends know that this is a problem and that they should never talk about her with others. Because a stalker can say anything to get information, telling others that his poor girlfriend is being held captive by cruel parents, etc., and eliciting their help to try to "save" her. The less everyone knows, the less of a worry that they will let something slip.

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I'd also contact the non-emergency police number for your area and ask who to speak to regarding stalking. I think they would have some general procedures in place to help you document and stop it before it goes to far.

 

I hope she is safe. :grouphug:

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Ugh, stuff like this is so hard to deal with. :grouphug: I don't know that there's much you can do, especially once he's discharged from the military. Restraining orders are only good if the police are willing to enforce them, which in my experience, they aren't. When I was in college, my boyfriend-at-the-time and I had to get one against a landlord who turned out to be a completely nutjob and began threatening to kill us. We went to court, got a restraining order, and the police completely ignored it. Wouldn't do a thing to enforce it. So it's good to get one if you can, but don't count on it being more than a piece of paper.

 

If the things he's spreading around are lies, you could try to go after him for slander. If they're true though, I don't think there's much that can be done. Spreading nasty gossip isn't illegal. :(

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Thank you all very much for your information and your support. Several of the calls I have made this morning are not too promising. I feel like I am standing in the middle of a road with a blind curve. I can hear the roar of the car engine, but I can't see it and sadly, my shoes are nailed to the ground. I can only wait for impact. But we will get past this.

 

Hug your kids. If you have teens or young adults, be sure you are talking with them about what healthy relationships look like. Talk to them about ways they can be emotionally manipulated and what to look for. Actually, what I really want to say is that if someone tells them, "If you really loved me, you would...," smack with a two by four and run like heck. :tongue_smilie:

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I would consider moving without telling people where I was going or putting pics of my new home all over facebook.

 

I believe that with digital cameras, it's possible to tell where pictures were taken based on latitude and longitude. If there are pictures taken at the new location, and the person knows how to find the information, that person could guess where you live.

 

I don't have experience with this personally, but I've read articles about it.

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Wow, I am not surprised, but it is extra horrifying to know that someone could deduct where you are from some pics on facebook. I was able to keep my life when I was young by moving, but I had to more more than once because I was from a small town and my dingbat relatives would mention to people where I was.

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I feel like I am standing in the middle of a road with a blind curve. I can hear the roar of the car engine, but I can't see it and sadly, my shoes are nailed to the ground. I can only wait for impact.

 

I think if I felt this way and it appeared that the "proper channels" were not any help I would seriously consider moving and changing phone numbers and email. I would also not be on any social media sites. Anyone that was given the new contact info would be let in on what was going on with this guy and made to understand that they could not give out the info to anyone else.

 

At the very least, get her off Facebook and change her email and cell number.

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I think if I felt this way and it appeared that the "proper channels" were not any help I would seriously consider moving and changing phone numbers and email. I would also not be on any social media sites. Anyone that was given the new contact info would be let in on what was going on with this guy and made to understand that they could not give out the info to anyone else.

 

At the very least, get her off Facebook and change her email and cell number.

 

I am less concerned about physical confrontation than the ongoing mind games.

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I would get a lawyer, restraining order, contact the CO and so forth.

 

There is one more thing to consider. Please don't think I am nutty. I used to volunteer in a battered woman's shelter. I know what an obsessed abuser is capable of.

 

If you live in a concealed carry state you might advise the person you love to look into that possibility. I know that is controversial and others will disagree, but this guy sounds really unstable. At least she may want to take some type of self defense class if cc is out of the question.

 

ETA I see your previous post that you are more concerned with mind games than physical abuse so my cc suggestion may be way out there. However, I would encourage the young lady to disappear from social media, email and phone right now in an effort to minimize the mind games this piece of work guy may attempt. And please don't underestimate the fact he may escalate when he can no longer engage her.

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one thing to also keep in mind - a verbal manipulator can become very physically violent if he thinks his prey is getting away. From my understanding - ending relationships with this people is when violence is most likely to occur.

 

she definitely needs to sever all contact, get off social media, and let her friends on social media know he's lying and they are not to give him any information on her at all. anyone who doesn't does need to be unfriended. (and I've stated up thread - lawyer, co, and restraining order - but don't expect it to do much because they get applied after the perp does something.)

 

it's the old - negative attention is still attention and as long as he's getting any attention from her, he is getting what he wants.

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I am less concerned about physical confrontation than the ongoing mind games.

 

The problem is that it may not end with mind games. Don't assume that he's not capable of doing much worse than that. Be prepared for the worst possible outcome.

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For those of you who are experts with this type of thing, does the attacker/stalker perceive contact with an involved third party to be the same as contact with the victim? Would it make any difference if several large and very serious men who knew the victim paid a visit to him and explained in no uncertain terms that any criminal activity from him, including violence, surveilance, slander, or liable would be met with immediate and harsh response? (I wouldn't threaten violence specifically, but would leave that vague for him to fill in.)

 

I understand that this often arises from some sort of mental illness and normal self preservation instincts may not be present in the attacker. However, most sentient organisms with which I am familiar will avoid it if possible.

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I understand normal self preservation instincts may not be present in the attacker. However, most sentient organisms with which I am familiar will avoid it if possible.

these are not people with normal self-preservation instincts. it may just expand the list of people he will become violent with.

 

there have been a few news reports recently where family members worked to get the abuse victim away- they were included in the abusers very violent retribution.

 

the only third parties I would send would be police. I would completely sever all contact from anyone who is associated with her from dealing with him. prepare for the worst - then if it doesn't happen, you can breathe a sigh of relief, and if it does, you're prepared.

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Yes, third parties make these situations MUCH worse, no matter how well meaning they may be. The stalker perceives an involved third party as another enemy and the threats they make to this person then escalate everything. Even the police can escalate things but the police are a risk that you just have to take because without them you are really stuck. I am really lucky that a friend I involved as a third party did not get cut off contact with me when my ex began to threaten her.

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1. Document everything, every time. Don't wait until you need to go back for the information.

2. Get a lawyer. They can walk you through the steps to make sure everything is documented and reported each step of the way.

3. Never under estimate the potential risk. Things can escalate rapidly.

4. Based on legal advice, report everything. No matter how trivial to the police. Law enforcement needs a legal trail to follow.

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Is she military?

 

My dh suggests these possible courses of action:

 

1. Calling the IG office for the base. They could have the commander file a no-contact order. But, that is only good as long as he is in the military.

 

2. Do a Congressional Inquiry. The commander *must* respond, and his battalion commander (not just his company commander) will then be tracking the situation.

 

3. Get a civilian restraining order, then call IG for a no-contact order. The IG could also require his commander to alert you when his terminal leave starts so that you would know when he might be heading back your way. If he has a lot of leave, then he could be in town well before his actual ETS date.

 

Feel free to message me, if you want more info along these lines or want to clarify the situation via PM. We are on the road, but I will check in.

 

If she is military, then she needs to make her command aware of the issue.

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