For those of you that do not know what Asperger’s Syndrome is, it is oftentimes referred to as a one who has autism; however they can function at a fairly high level in society. Asperger’s Syndrome which can be referred to as Asperger’s Disorder is known as a type of Pervasive Development Disorder (PDD). Some of the skill sets that oftentimes appear diminished are the ability to socialize with others, delayed or retarded communication skills, and some lack the ability to use their imagination. Some of the signs of this condition exhibited initially in a subject’s youth are: Issues with social skills, Unusual or strange repetitive behaviors…swinging of hands, continually rubbing their fingers, etc., Daily Rituals that are difficult to break, such as standing in the same location to dress, or when dressing always doing it in the same order, Obsessions with a specific topic such as an intense interest in the weather, or sports, May seem clumsy or awkward, Many have skill sets that one would consider being very talented, such as good in music, or have very good computational skills.
Now that we have some background in this condition can they become stalkers. In our opinion, the answer is yes. Why? The best way to explain this hypothesis is to give you some examples of actual cases that we have and are continuing to work with stalkers that have been diagnosed with this malady. Recently, we were asked to review cases from a local law enforcement entity that the assigned detectives were having troubles with. A male in his early 20’s had been contacted on three separate occasions by detectives concerning the following and harassing of three separate females. Each one of the victims were attractive, worked out…in fact the stalker would try and initiate contact or begin a following pattern after he saw the victim(s) exit a local gym. We noticed a distinct progression in this individual’s stalking process. When the first victim was stalked, she saw the suspect hiding in the bushes taking photos of her. She then noticed him following her in a specific vehicle, and would see him in stores or restaurants that she frequented. During this first stalking, the suspect made no direct contact. When he was contacted at his home by detectives, his mother and sister whom he was living with, immediately went to his defense advising that he was shy, had very bad social skills and had Asperger’s Syndrome. The stalker said he would not follow that female anymore. However, a month or so later, he was again reportedly following another female, taking photos of her, but did attempt to make contact with her out in front of the gym. When she advised she was very uncomfortable with this contact, it did not phase him, and he continued to pursue her even to the point of showing up at her residence. He was again contacted by police and admonished. His mother told him that she would not allow him to drive her car anymore; even though he was currently enrolled in a local college. Another month went by and once again he began following another female. He even followed this one twenty miles a day to her University. He would wait until she got out of class and begin following her once again. She was terrified because when he followed her his driving was extremely erratic, at times almost forcing people off the road, and tailgating her so badly she felt the would rear-end her at anytime. We advised the detectives in charge that we could see a serious escalation on his part. We knew that because of his social inadequacies he was becoming more and more frustrated with a lack of positive response from his targets. It appeared that he had reached an age where he was also experiencing a great deal of sexual arousal, and didn’t quite know what to do about it. (We suggested that the detectives once again contact this individual and ask him some specific questions. We would also suggest that they get a search warrant to see what if anything he was writing in his computer or a daily log. What websites he had been going on, etc.) When Detectives contacted him, he advised he was becoming more and more frustrated both socially and sexually. He was merely trying to have a relationship with his targets. He also advised that he knew that way he was going about it was wrong. With this information, I advised the Detectives to put all the cases together and submit same to the district attorney for a filing of stalking. Once arrested try and get him placed on formal probation; with the a condition of probation that he be evaluated by a mental health professional. We advised them that we strongly believed that he would not stop doing what he was doing, and more than likely would become more and more aggressive in his approach to these targets. It has been our experience, that just because a subject may have a diagnosisable mental disorder does not give them free reign to stalk.
That is just one case. I recently had another case with an individual who contacted one of our associates advising that he was suffering from Asperger’s Syndrome. He was seeking a relationship with a woman at his place of work, and had been notified by Human Resources that what he was doing was considered stalking. He wanted to have our associate verify that his mannerisms would in fact be considered stalking. The associate wanted us to review the case. We did, and in our opinion he was exhibiting stalking behavior. This individual was beside himself. He also expressed that he had reached an age where he was also experiencing a great many sexual urges as well as a need to have female companionship, but was very frustrated because he lacked the social skills to be able to develop a relationship. At least this subject appeared more cautious about the behavior he was exhibiting.