Travelling from one state to another in order to stalk can be a federal crime

I continually get web contacts complaining about someone from one state coming into their state to stalk them, asking if it is a crime, and if so who should investigate the crime. The answer is simple, it is a crime that can be prosecuted by the Feds., as well as the jurisdiction that it takes place in.) Please go on the internet and look up Title 18 USCS 2261A. I am not going to write out this law because as with most federal statutes they are extremely lengthy. The key areas that you need to be aware of is in the wording: “Whoever (1) travels in interstate or foreign commerce or within the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States, or enters or leaves Indian country, with the intent to kill, injure, harass, or place under surveillance with intent to kill, injure or harass, or intimidate another person, and in the course of, or as a result of, such travel places that person in reasonable fear of the death of, or serious bodily injury to, or causes substantial emotional distress to that person, a member of the immediate family... (it goes on and on), but you get the idea.

If the Feds do not get involved with working an interstate stalking scenario; the crime can still be investigated and hopefully successfully prosecuted.  That is why when prosecutors and other law enforcement entities contact me concerning how they can deal with someone stalking or feloniously harassing someone in their state from another state, we tell them to charge them under their state’s statutes and then get a felony warrant, place it in NCIC (National Crime Information Center-data base) and go after the stalker wherever her or she may be and extradite them back to their jurisdiction for prosecution.

Example: We recently had a web contact from a victim who said that a female who was upset with her for now dating a male who had dumped her (probably because of her strange and controlling behavior), and was harassing her via the Internet, phone, text, as well as having her accompanied by one of her sons cross over interstate lines to attempt contact at the victim’s residence. The son and mother were both surveilling and doing things at her residence that generated both fear in the victim but others that resided with her. In our opinion, both the 18 year old son and the mother are both culpable under the stalking charging section. (This is also an example of third party stalking, and triangle stalking-see Antidote For A Stalker for more information on these two concepts.)

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Stalkers need to be case managed by special units

Over the years it has been our experience that way too often uniformed patrol officers are not well-trained in how to investigate a stalking scenario. Therefore, at least initially many stalking complaints are by passed. That is why it is best for the victims of stalking to contact someone in their local jurisdictions detective division that is hopefully tasked with how a stalking investigation should transpire. Unfortunately, especially due to department assets, or lack there of, not enough detectives have the requisite training to properly investigate a stalking case. That does not mean they do not want to help the victims of stalking, but  their training is lacking. In fact, I was just contacted by a new detective who was requesting a copy of our stalking protocol, which is utilized all or in part by many law enforcement entities both in the United States and abroad. He said he felt bad, but that as a uniformed patrol officer he had let a number of potential stalking cases slip by primarily because he wasn’t sure how to conduct a preliminary investigation of same.

Some agencies like the Los Angeles Police Department have specialized units such as the TMU (Threat Management Unit) designed to handle stalking and other high profile type cases. Even though I was primarily a homicide detective, I also worked as the primary stalking detective in my department’s FPU (Family Protection Unit.) We strongly suggest that the best way to case manage a stalking case is via a special threat management unit within the police department. These units utilize detectives trained in stalking, as well as threat management. They should also be cross trained in sexual assault, and domestic violence.  These teams also have access to mental health evaluators, along with social workers, and victim assistance case workers.  They must also participate in the training of uniform patrol persons in how to best deal with an initial stalking investigation which  is then immediately passed on to the detectives in the threat management unit for advanced case management. When you have a specialized threat management team, the victim is better served through a variety of techniques. Once the case is properly managed, the stalker is vertically prosecuted thus allowing for greater control and sentencing.  Once again, this is all covered in Chapter 5 of Antidote For A Stalker.  In short, stalking cases need a specific discipline to best handle both the needs of the victim as well as the intervention and prosecution of the stalker.

 

 

Stalking behavior (behaviour) is universal no matter what country you live in.

Over the years, I have been asked by people via my website email, when lecturing, as well as during  radio and television interviews if stalking is the same in the United States as elsewhere in the world. My response is always the same. Stalking behavior, or behaviour if you are from the U.K., and parts of the E.U. is always the same no matter where you find it. The cultural mores and societal outlooks in some countries may change how stalking is perceived concerning when and if it is handled by law enforcement, but a stalker is a stalker no matter what. Again, like we lay out in the our latest book, there will be different types of stalkers; however, each classification of stalker will still exhibit the same behavioral patterns whether or not they hail from California or from South Africa; no matter their sex, race or ethnic background. That is why all the information I have compiled and lay out in Antidote For A Stalker will assist anyone in the world in better understanding the stalking phenomenon.

Maryland passes new law to help protect therapists from threatening clients

The state of Maryland’s MPA (Maryland’s Psychological Association) has put forth a bill that that will become law on June 1, 2014. HB641/SB803 commonly (known as Client Privilege) law will go into effect. It is our understanding, that prior to this law going into effect, if a therapist had a client that either verbally or physically threatened said therapist, they could not could not report those threats to authorities because it would violate their client privilege of confidentiality and “run the risk; of: a complaint being lodged with the Board of Examiners, a hearing, and/or possible sanctions for violating ethical codes and standards of practice.” We know this sounds hard to believe, but over the past few years we have been assisting therapists not only in Maryland but other states with clients turned stalkers that have be sued by their clients as well as brought before their state regulatory boards for just this type of activity. We should also note, that more and more health care providers are in fact being stalked by those that they treat. We discuss this further in the our newest book. Some of those that we have assisted have been not only threatened with violence, but in fact assaulted by their client turned stalker. We applaud this law and would like to see more like it.

If you would like more information on this bill go to General Assembly of Maryland and type in SB803, http://mgaleg.maryland.gov/webmga/frm1st.aspx?tab=home.

Selena Gomez and stalking

Apparently, Ms. Gomez is not only the victim of fan envy, but is starting to become a flame that draws the stalking moth in her direction on more than one occasion. Her most recent encounter with an obsessed fan (reportedly a young male showing up at her new residence and secreting himself in an out building or her mansion) is not her first and unfortunately it will not be her last. Again, keep in mind that only about 9 or so percent of all stalking is celebrity or media based, but that due to the celebrity status of these victims/targets their cases are the most publicized. That being said; even though it appears that Ms. Gomez appeal to these individuals is quit strong, she does not seem to be enticing any of her fans in any fashion. This is a good thing. Media draw or not, she is in my book still a victim and should be treated as such.

I cannot be certain as to the type of stalker that Ms. Gomez has drawn to her at this juncture, but the mere fact he completely invaded not only her privacy but her living space would be a red flag to any threat assessment professional. Like all victims of stalking, Ms. Gomez is probably experiencing a great deal of frustration, fear, and concern. We wish her all the best.