When Morris County residents think of a stalker, they might think of obsessed fans following around celebrities or ex-lovers tracking down their former partners, perhaps in violation of an order of protection. In this latter context, the term is sometimes used informally, as a kind of joke or a put-down for an ex who cannot move on from a relationship. But the criminal charge of stalking is a serious matter with potential long-term consequences.
One man from a southern state is currently facing allegations of stalking against a background of previous Internet crime-related charges involving the same teenage girl. Police claim that the defendant, a man in his mid-fifties, began chatting online with the New Jersey teen in early 2013, pretending to be a teen himself. He was eventually accused of sending graphic images of himself to her.
Officials from New Jersey arrested the defendant in his home state and extradited him to New Jersey. He was released on $75,000 bail, but was recently charged with violating his bail conditions and stalking the girl when he reportedly sent her more photos earlier this month.
Stalking is a phenomenon which laws have only recently been drafted to address. It differs from other criminal charges in that it represents an ongoing pattern of behavior — it is never an isolated incident. Harassing, threatening or even simply following an alleged victim are all actions that could potentially be charged as stalking, depending on the context in which they occur.
The prosecution, however, will have the burden of proving that the defendant’s behavior constituted an intentional pattern. Individuals facing accusations of stalking may find a criminal defense professional to be a valuable resource in refuting this argument.