Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Stalker

I have mentioned my stalker before. See here and here.

If you look at the dates on those posts, you will see that he's been bothering me since at least March 2007. Thankfully, it has not been continuous because he doesn't attend school every semester. I had kind of forgotten about him, because he wasn't here for the spring semester or the summer. But now, he's back. Every Monday and Wednesday, when he's got classes, he camps out in the library pretty much all day long. (We have learned that his mom drops him off in the mornings and then picks him up when she gets off of work. So he doesn't have a car, which is GOOD.) When he's here, I have to strategically avoid him and hope that he won't follow me to my car. This is not a good working environment!!!

He came up to the desk the other night and asked if he could talk to me. (Unfortunately, I stupidly told him my first name a long time ago, before I knew he would give me the creeps.) My coworker informed him that I had left for the day. But he creeped her out so much that she emailed me about it. He gives everyone the creeps around here, but for some unknown reason, he has become fixated on me, especially. In addition to dealing with his creepiness (staring, lurking, hanging out for no apparent reason, smacking his lips incessantly), I have also had to endure personal questions about my boyfriend and love life. It's pretty evident that this guy has some screws loose, so in a way, I have some sympathy for him. Which is why I have, in the past, sugar-coated my responses to his nosy and inappropriate questions.

As you can probably guess, this only encouraged him. Despite my heavy hints to leave me alone, he still wants to talk to me. It culminated with him finding my myspace page last April and emailing me a bizarre email. Since he was not here at school at the time, I didn't worry about it too much. But I kept the email he sent me, just in case. (When he is not at school, I do not have to really worry about him, as he does not have a car and lives on the other side of town. So the good thing is, he cannot follow me home or anything like that.)

Fast forward to last week, when he asked my coworker if he could talk to me. After hearing that he's now bothering everyone, and not just me, I have decided that I have had enough. In addition to his creepiness, he has been confrontational with some of my coworkers in the past. He's got a mouth and isn't afraid to get mouthy whenever one of us asks him to be quiet or obey the library rules. My coworker and I were talking about his attitude and ultra-creepiness the next day when she reminded me that some criminal records are considered public information here in SC, and were therefore, online. So we looked him up.

Here's what we found: disorderly conduct, domestic violence (multiple offenses against his own mother), resisting arrest, driving on a suspended license and assaulting an officer. And he's spent some time in jail. His rap sheet goes back to 1998, when he was still in high school.

After reading that, I was officially freaked out. If it had been one minor offense, I would not have really worried about it. But to see multiple offenses, some of which are violent, really worried me. He has the ability to turn violent. Against anyone. This guy has a temper, and I know that stalkers do not deal well with rejection. Grrrrrrrrrreat.

I knew I had to do something. But what??? Going to the police and getting a restraining order would only make me a target for revenge. He would know I am the one who filed it. And he could come into the library and totally wig out and/or shoot me or something. Or ramp up his efforts to talk to me. (Stalkers often see restraining orders as challenges to overcome. Yes, I did some research. I'm a librarian -- what did you expect?)

CN wanted to come to campus and follow him into the men's room with a crowbar. I told him that would not be necessary. But I appreciated the thought. He offered a less-violent, more legal idea -- how about he just come to campus and talk to the stalker? I turned down this idea. The last thing I need is for CN to be a target, too.

I decided to go to the office here on campus that deals with problem students. That way, it would be the school that is making the complaint, and my name would not be involved. I was pretty sure that he'd been causing problems around campus, so I was thinking maybe my statement would be the straw that could break the camel's back. If enough people complained, they'd have to do something, right???

I met with one of the student services peeps and told him everything. I even brought a print-out of the strange email he had sent me. When I informed him of my stalker's rap sheet, he looked at me in amazement. "How did you know about all that?" he asked. I told him it was public information. He made some scribbles in his notes, I assume listing all his criminal offenses. He said his office is very familiar with this student and they are "keeping an eye on him", whatever that means. He told me that if all he's doing is being creepy, they can't really do anything. He had sympathy for me, but he's right -- it's not a crime to be a wierdo. I knew the student services office had their hands tied until I could prove my stalker refused to leave me alone or did something violent. Unfortunately, this is the world we live in. And I understand that. But I at least wanted it on record that I had made a complaint.

But he did tell me that this student does have some mental problems, and that as long as I am firm but respectful, I should have some success in getting him to leave me alone. The student services guy said that other people on campus have had success with this strategy. He told me to always keep my phone with me, no matter where I am on campus. He also told me to never walk to my car alone. He also advised me to write down every encounter I have with him, including the date and time and place and what was said, so that we can start keeping track of everything. Yes, I realize now that I should have been doing this all along, but I stupidly didn't take this guy seriously. Luckily, I have mentioned him in this blog, which will help me at least report how long it's been going on.

According to their records, he's never been violent on campus, just mouthy. "There's a first time for everything," I thought. So I informed him that the only reason I was talking to his office instead of the cops was because I didn't want my name on a restraining order. I didn't want to make myself a target. I also said that if he didn't have a violent criminal history, we wouldn't even be having this conversation. I had really wanted to go straight to police, to be honest.

Anyway, I am waiting to hear back from his office about what we can do. I told him I would like it if he was banned from the library entirely, if possible. And without my name specifically involved. Ideally, he would be kicked out of school! Until then, I have to just watch my back, be really firm with him and make myself more unavailable online. I am going to remove even more personally identifiying information on my myspace and facebook accounts. It can't hurt.

What makes me angry is that the whole office didnt' even know about his criminal record!!! You would think that after the Virginia Tech shootings, we would not have to deal with crap like this anymore! I mean, I know the school needs to make money via tuition, and I believe in privacy laws and giving people 2nd chances to turn their lives around, but at what cost? I'm not getting the impression this guy is interested in behaving himself or trying to overcome his bad past decisions. I think he's a potentially violent stalker who could flip at any moment and should not be allowed on campus. And I'm a little angry at how vulnerable my place of employment is leaving me. Who knows what other wack jobs are roaming around out here?! If I'm at risk, so are all of my coworkers. I hate that they basically wont' do anything until it's too late. That is a crappy policy. Have we learned nothing after Virginia Tech????


Coco said...

Wow. That is COMPLETELY freaky VB. I work for a university (as I have mentioned) too, so I know your situation. We have had two students in the school of nursing who have caused major problems-to where restraining orders had to be taken out, and people had to be escorted off campus by the police. It really is frightening-and there is a fine line between stepping on students rights and keeping students, faculty & staff SAFE while they are on campus. I don't know what the answer is-but I hope they get this guy reigned in.

don said...

Might want to keep your blog private for a while longer too.

Thoughts are with CN and his Father also.

Becky said...

omg youre right. have we learned nothing? that is way scary VB. seriously.

Jonathan Zero said...

My close friend Sally is going through something similar. I may have mentioned that way back when you first brought this up on your blog. If at all times, never be along. I know I work in a university library too, its not always possible. Do you think campus police would escort you to your car as needed? I say contact everyone you can about this and yes papertrail is always a good thing.
Hang in there

Jonathan Zero said...

In my previous post, I meant to say never be alone. oops...

Len said...

Well, as long as you have such a huge amount of gun supporters, no, the US won't have learned anything from VT and similar cases. Which is very very sad, but I won't comment on that, otherwise that comment will just go overboard.

I also think it's pretty weird that you guys can look up criminal records online. I mean, you can even search prisoners by sex, age, race and type of offense. How fucked up is that? I guess it can be useful if you make only records of repeated offenders, like the weirdo who's stalking you, public.

I can totally understand how freaked out you are. I recently had a stalker, but he was not *that* persistent -by far- and I'm pretty sure he doesn't have a criminal record. I think he's actually just a nice guy who doesn't understand sugar-coated "no"s, but that was enough for me to have recurrent dreams of him raping me, even though I haven't heard of him for several weeks.

I wish you the best of luck to get rid of that weirdo!

Len said...

Oh yeah, my campus is offering a service to escort women anywhere on campus after dark. Maybe you have a similar thing.

kimmykins13 said...

Be VERY Careful VB! This is scary stuff.

Smug said...

This is really scary. I totally understand student rights, but I would think that the rights of many people to work in a safe place would out weigh the rights of one student to spend his day creaping people out.

I live about 25 minutes from Virginia Tech, and a friend of mine works on the Tech campus and was at work when the shootings took place. This issue of staff/student safety is very close to my heart!

Did you ask the campus security what they would do to this guy after he attacks you/shoots someone, etc?? I would be interested to know how they justify protecting one person over another...

teahouse said...

That's way creepy. I had a guy in law school like that, who wouldn't leave me alone. I sent some male friends over to his place to talk to him..and I thought it was all done but then 5 years later he showed up in a professional class I was taking! Ugh. Apart from delisting my phone number there wasn't much else I could do. Luckily I live in NYC where it's more possible to hide in a crowd...

Good luck with everything! You can be as vigilant as you can, and otherwise a lot is out of your control. I agree that the schools should be more on top of stuff after VA Tech, though!

Scotty said...

Reeeeaaaaalllllllyyyyy creepy. Be glad that you at least know about it so you can be even more aware.