I happened across Morgan’s story and website while researching stalkers, stalking and my own situation with sexual harassment, cyberstalking and sexual coercion at the hand of a man that is twice my age. My heart absolutely broke as I read Morgan’s story, because her life sounded so common to the life I live on an every day basis. I am now 32 years old, but at the age of 26 while volunteering my writing (I’m a writer too) to a radio station in Houston, I met one of the station’s employees — a disc jockey, then 52, who spoke 5 or 6 sentences to me and that was all. That afternoon when I arrived home, I found an e-mail from the man that had been sent within an hour of meeting me. He talked about how he thought I was hot, how he left his first wife for the second one, etc. It was odd and a strange conversation for someone you’d literally just met, but always wanting to see the good in everyone, I blew off the oddness and thought “well, maybe I’m just cold” (it was cold that day) and “overreacting.”Over the next 4 years, various e-mails and things happened. The man’s mother died and since I volunteered where he worked, I offered condolences. Little things. Scattered in the little things, however, were comments about him and me in a May-December romance (I always laughed, thinking he was joking and blew it off). A couple of years into the nightmare (keep in mind that to this day, I’ve seen the man twice in my life for the grand total of 5 hours at corporate functions), he was arrested for having marajuana on school property (his other job was as a videographer for the school district). The charges were dropped and throughout that ordeal, he turned to me with his story. I wanted to believe he’d just had a run of bad luck.In 2010, he began suggesting how I’d look great in black lace, how he — then laid off from Houston schools — could make porn films and I’d be the perfect star in them. I never took any of it seriously. I never thought I should. Here’s a man with a daughter who is my age and three granddaughters. He hardly ever spoke about family or anything in his life.In early 2011, he invited me to his lakehouse. I refused — the second strong warning bell that screamed “weird.” I’m sure this infuriated him that I would not visit and I don’t even want to think about what would have happened to me had I gone.
A year ago today, he told me that his live-in girlfriend of 3+ years was making his life hell by becoming an iceberg in the bedroom. (Again, sob story) He told of how she was evil and how much I’m a sweetheart: kind, caring, etc. A year ago this Friday (Dec. 28), the man suggested going lingerie shopping for me. I deleted the suggestion without a reply — which I thought was good enough for a No. Really, who would seriously do this?
On New Years’ Eve/midnight New Year’s morning, he texted me with a Happy New Year, Sweetheart comment. Later on New Year’s morning, he peppered my e-mail with 30 or 40 eBay links to lingerie ads, vibrator ads, etc. I began deleting them unread and I first noticed feeling smothered. On January 6, a box showed up at my house with his handwriting and address on it. Inside, three thong panties, a lacy teddy, a vibrator and batteries. I immediately let him know — realizing all of a sudden that all of this WAS serious — that I didn’t know what I ever did or said to make him think I was interested in him, but I’m not and the shipment was inappropriate. His comment to me: “I mean no harm. I’m just a friendly pervert who thinks you’re hot and I’m living out a fantasy in my head.” But, he was doing harm.
After that conversation, I felt trapped. By then, I’d left my volunteer role with the radio station but had begun working for a company that collaborates with the radio station on one event per year — the same Valentine’s Day event where I’d met the man, years before. So, I decided — for my job — I needed to suck it up and deal with it. (Wrong move.) After his “friendly pervert” comment, the man began plugging me on the air, every morning he worked; one morning, the same weekend of the pervert comment, he plugged me and immediately e-mailed me to see if I was awake yet.
For the next week after the pervert comment, he harassed me via e-mail, phone, text, etc. for pictures of me in my “gifts.” I felt more and more trapped all the time and I was starting to have trouble sleeping. On Jan. 11, 2012, he said, “Jill, if you just put on the lingerie and give me what I want, the calls, the texts, etc. will stop.” Beaten down by almost 5 years of his torment, the loss of my father and hurricane repair 4 years ago, and my Mother’s ongoing illness on that day and still, I did. Did it stop? Of course not. All that did was to get him asking for more.
On February 3, 2012, his boss (who incidentially also read the piece of writing I shared with the event where I met the man in 2007 and who has always had such respect for me) e-mailed to say that my boss (the minister that performs this radio wedding) would not be able to bring her own guests, including me, because of space. He mentioned how the weekend jock (my stalker) would light the studio and how it would be hard to move around. The minute his boss said that, I groaned. The boss said, “Problem?” I said, “Yes, I’m having a problem with him.” The boss, Marc, very kindly said, “Anything I can do to help?” I — at a loss for how to summarize the exhaustion of 5 years and really not knowing where to begin — said, “I’m handling it.” Marc said, “Are you sure?” I said, “Yes.” Marc said, “Okay” but I could tell, just by his tone, that he knew something was very wrong.
Later that night, I could not sleep at all. Everything in my heart that is good and that my late father — who was a disc jockey and sheriff’s deputy — had taught me said that I needed to cast aside embarassment and tell Marc what was going on, but how and where to start. There was so much to cover and I had buried some of it because it was simply too painful to face. (It took me nearly 4 months in therapy before I could face the pain I buried.) That night, I wrote Marc an e-mail in which I told him everything I could remember. The stalker had so terrorized and brainwashed me now (as I now realize it) that I actually feared he might get into trouble. (This is so NOT me, but neither was posing in lingerie or the other “requests” this man made.) The night after I e-mailed Marc — and I asked Marc how he’d feel if his own 19 year old daughter had been 31 and this happened to her — the stalker e-mailed me saying that he needed to save money to buy more lingerie and he put a winky face emoticon on it. I screenshot the e-mail and sent it to Marc to further prove my issue.
Marc spoke with the stalker (who for simplicity I’ll name by first name, Howard). Howard was instructed to leave me alone, that the path he was taking was not a good one, etc. After that conversation, Howard e-mailed me asking to research friends and family of mine because he was “curious” and how he wanted to know where they lived, where all I’ve lived, etc. (I had once lied to him about being in a relationship when I wasn’t, trying to see — back then — if that would make him leave me alone.) I knew then that he either was stalking me or had plans to start. I blocked his e-mail to protect myself, giving no thought at all to my work relationship. I informed my boss and told her I could not attend the event and would not have wanted to have been there anyway. On February 11 — one month to the day of the lingerie pictures — I felt weird. I was exhausted, emotional, and I couldn’t put my finger on why, back then. I logged onto the internet to an online therapist’s page and communicated with her about the parts of this mess that I could — at the time — remember. She agreed that I am not to blame. That he is the one at fault and that I did the right thing by coming forward. She told me to go ahead and contact the police because he was ramping it up. I did. They basically told me that unless there was a physical threat to my life, then they could do nothing.
The Valentine’s Day event came and went. After my boss recorded the ceremony for playback, she called me and the next day, I listened to the playback on air. Afterwards, I was sent via e-mail, a photo of Howard and my boss from the event. I was asked to Facebook post it for our business; I did, but I called Lynn — my boss — back and cried for an hour opening up about all of it. I had my second therapy session that night in which my therapist suggested unblocking Howard, telling him that he’s scaring me and to not contact me again. I unblocked him and waited to see how long it would take him to contact me. It took him less than 45 minutes and he asked why he’d been blocked, so I know he’d contacted me while blocked — or tried it.
Once he was ordered to no contact, the toll that the 5 years had taken really began to sink into my mind and I became very ill. I began digging sores on myself, making them bleed thinking that if I did, he’d not think I’m beautiful anymore. I never thought he would leave me alone. For several months, he did leave me alone. Marc, still very concerned about his employee’s behavior, launched an HR investigation into the activity that had taken place on the work computer (including the typing of a dream Howard had about me walking naked from my shower as he hid behind a door to startle me). The dream had entailed other more graphic elements which I was told he ‘could not share” on a work computer. Instead, he had called me that night to tell me about them; I ignored the call.
As the HR investigation into Howard’s behavior went onward — into Sept and Oct. — Howard began telling others in Houston media about how I’m sick, crazy, a liar, etc., but the one thing he could never explain were the screenshots of his words, his handwriting on the box, etc. By using an HR defense of “Jill lied to me about being in a relationship once,” he had to admit that he did, indeed, research me and apparently, stalk me. And yet, he remains on the job to this day because the company’s policy states they must built a file of wrongdoing before anyone is fired. He is proud of what he has done. He has even stated to others in writing that he loves “working for the company because they’re so short on managers that he never does anything wrong but if he did, he could get away with it.”
I know I did the right thing by coming forward and exposing him. I know this is his fault and not mine and even if I had “gone along with it” to some degree, it WAS out of fear or the belief it would stop. I have suffered aches, pains, sleep interruptions, an inability to do my social media job — because we work with him once per year — emotional meltdowns, panic attacks, etc. I cry for no reason. I lash out at people for no reason. In March, I made myself bleed, picking scabs and mutilating my skin thinking if I wasn’t “Hot” as he called me for many years, I would be free. I never wanted to believe that when he was ordered to no contact that he would stop. The fact he still lashes at me to others now, he still hasn’t stopped.
I sleep all night and wake up exhausted, all while he continues to earn a paycheck. And now that he is lashing out about me with lies and half-truths to others, I really don’t know what he is capable of doing. I’ve been in therapy for 10 months over this and with all the year anniversaries coming in the next few weeks, I’m feeling it. But, I know I’m not alone. I know my life is very precious and worth it.
I hope I didn’t ramble too much in sharing my story. I’m incredibly moved by the stories of anyone impacted by any stalking activity, cyber or offline stalking. Every victim deserves justice. It took me until this past weekend, but I wrote a story. I wanted to share it with you, because I am that moved by Morgan’s story and the fact she loved writing: While I haven’t really gotten any justice, I’m trying everything in my power to stay positive about this and not let it beat me down more than it already has.
My thoughts and prayers are with you and God bless you in your journey for justice!