Page 15 - MCADV_DVAM2021
P. 15

 It was a nightmare that kept getting worse, a horror movie with too many sequels. In a quiet town in the Northwest where a barber shop and a locally owned cafe are the big attractions Main Street has to offer and the largest employer is a textile factory, a stalker wreaked havoc and fear on high school girls for over a year. No one imagined it was someone from their own community. They were certain that an outsider had penetrated their “Mayberry.” Truth is, it was a stand-offish, fairly quiet student from the local high school. He assumed a moniker that was difficult to trace and moved among his classmates fairly unnoticed. His victims were the “regular” girls at the school who were neither popular nor unknown. They were girls who had showed kindness to him, sat with him at lunch, and often engaged in friendly conversation. They were unsuspecting.
His strategy was simple, but common. He created an online profile, using a handsome picture and a caring persona, inviting would-be victims to become his friend. Upon acceptance of the friendship invitation, the two would talk about her favorite classes, favorite family members, favorite pets, favorite foods and her other favorites. He made careful note of all answers and would use this information later against them. As communication deepened, he began to ask for fun photos, then progressed to pictures of specific body parts—clothed and eventually unclothed. His “friends” often were hesitant to send nudes, but because he seemed so safe they ventured into the murky waters. When a victim would attempt to leave the relationship, he would begin threatening to publicly share the pictures or he would threaten to access or shut down their social media accounts. Neither of the girls had given him their passwords, yet he was able to access their account because of the things he learned about them early on. He was tech savvy beyond his
high school years. It could be said he was a maniacal genius, hacking social media passwords, finding his victims when they changed their numbers or created new social media accounts under different names.
Many of the girls knew each other, but neither of them was aware that the other was a victim. They did not talk about the private torture because of embarrassment. As the stalking progressed, several of the victims began battling insomnia, anxiety and falling grades, which was often attributed to “high school girl stress.” The harassment eventually became unbearable and the girls began to break their silence by reporting school officials, law enforcement and parents.
The federal government got involved in the case and launched an investigation which identified locations and devices from which he had logged in. Initially when confronted, he denied the allegations and attempted to assure the officers that they were mistaken. Sufficient evidence was presented, and he was arrested, incarcerated and placed on trial. He faced some of his victims and ultimately received a sentence of eight years. Twenty-eight young ladies came forward with accounts of being victimized by him.
What you have read is an account of stalking. Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incidence, nor is it something that happens rarely. What is stalking? In Psychology Today, Dr. Ronald M. Holmes, professor emeritus of criminology, proposes these categories of stalkers:
Domestic: stalking a former spouse or paramour. This is the most prevalent kind of stalking and one which can manifest in the workplace, putting innocent bystanders at risk.
Lust: serial predators who stalk victim after victim. Serial rapists and murderers may begin as lust stalkers. Love-Scorned: an acquaintance, coworker, neighbor, etc. who desires an intimate relationship with the victim, but is rebuffed. A sub-type of the love-scorned stalker is someone with the delusional disorder erotomania. This type of stalker—usually female—believes her target is madly in love with her.
Celebrity: those who stalk famous people.
Political: stalking motivated by political beliefs, which could include either agreement or disagreement with the victim.
Hit (murder for hire): stalking of a victim by a hired killer in order to commit murder.*
The Devil You Know
Paula Granger, Former Training Coordinator, MCADV

   13   14   15   16   17