Friday, January 20, 2006


Dateline Tampa FL, a man was arrested for stalking former American Idol contestant, Jessica Sierra. According to an ABC News story, Daniel Robert Young, age 59, was arrested on Tuesday, and is currently being held without bond.

Young has called Jessica Sierra multiple times since September 2005, leaving 38 messages, saying that he loves her and is willing to go to jail for her. Apparently, Young had Jessica's cell phone number, and when he arrived in town on Tuesday, he called her twice, asking her to pick him up. This was not his first trip to her home; in fact, he had shown up at Jessica's grandparents' house uninvited before.

When Sierra refused to pick him up, he informed her he would be taking a cab and coming anyway. Sierra promptly turned to the police who met Young at the home.

In case you want to know what a FREAK looks like, here he is:

Young was charged for misdemeanor stalking and held with $500 bail, which was revoked when the judge found out about Young's violent priors, which include battery and assault with a firearm.

This again raises the issue of stalking and its consequences. With apologies to Miss Sierra, it doesn't just apply to A-list celebrities. For that matter, stalking can happen to anyone, male or female. However, it does tend to occur more with famous females. The horrors of stalking were first brought to light in 1989 when Rebecca Shaeffer, star of the sitcom My Sister Sam, was shot to death by a stalker in her home. It's estimated that there may currently be as many as 200,000 active stalkers in the US at present time. Fortunately, 49 states and D.C. have enacted anti-stalking laws. An excellent discourse on anti-stalking laws can be found by clicking on the link.

Celebrity stalking is an interesting pathology. In a lot of cases, the stalker feels a bond with the celebrity to an abnormal level. They may feel that because they've seen their characters so much on television or in movies that they know them, and the line between reality and fantasy becomes blurred. Almost always, the stalker suffers from precipitating severe mental issues. The stalker spends time with the characters that the victim portrays, and in their sick mind, they develop an imaginary relationship that becomes real. American Idol contestants are unique victims, because rather than seeing them acting as a fictional character, the show brings us intimately closer to their real lives. We get a look inside their personal lives, sometimes seeing the places they live, the people they love, and the places they work. We're invited into their personal relationships, feelings, and many other aspects that aren't shown on-screen for most celebrities. Compounding that is the fact that Idol contestants have little or no experience with their sudden celebrity and are likely to be unprepared to take proper measures to prevent stalking or deal with it.

Jessica is young and very talented. Unfortunately, she's having to learn about protecting herself the hard way, but fortunately, and to her great credit, she had sense enough to do the right thing when the time came.

Jessica states on her myspace page that she hopes to have an album out before Christmas 2006. Till then, you can check out that myspace page or her official site complete with message boards.

Good luck, Jessica. I'm rooting for you. And next time a troll comes into town, hopefully it'll be one of those plastic things with fuzzy pink hair, and not that gruesome monster that's in the jail.


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