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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2008

    Default Virginia Harassment Laws

    I need a little advice, I’m sorry this is so long. I've ran out of places to turn.

    My ex has been harassing me for the past year. The harassment started after I broke it off with him because I found out he had been stealing money from me.

    One day I found that he had broken into my apartment when I came home for lunch. After he refused to get out, he stomped in my old computer and knocked furniture over. I called the police. When the police got there, my ex showed them the piece of paper we had signed when we temporarily moved in together- stating the he would pay half of the rent (which he never did). He convinced them that he still lived there. The police were not taking me seriously, and only offered to write a complaint about my broken computer (but said they couldn't prove that it was him). I declined and begged them to make him leave. They told me they couldn’t, because basically I had screwed myself by signing that piece of paper (even though I’m the only one on the lease).

    About a month later he broke into my house again in the middle of the night. I woke up, saw him in my room, and after I threatened to call the police he fled. He had slammed my window open so hard that it would not close. I called the police, fearing that he would return. I live three blocks from the police station but for some reason it took police 35 minutes to arrive. In the meantime, I received multiple calls from my ex from a payphone that was at a gas station around the corner. The police arrived and took my statement, and attempted to close my window. My ex continued to call from around the corner. I told police the exact location he was, but they declined my suggestion that they should go arrest him. One officer explained to me that I could file for burglary if I wanted, but he literally told me it would be a waste of my time. He went on to describe the “long process” and tedious visits I would have to pay to court, only for it to be dropped in the end. He did offer to write up a destruction of property, for my broken blinds. I took him up on this offer, and foolishly believed him about the burglary charge.

    A few weeks later he showed up at my work, where I was working late at night by myself. After I threatened to call the police, he once again fled. I called a friend to accompany me for the rest of the night. About an hour after he left, I got a call saying my apartment was on fire. My neighbors had called my landlord and let them know. They said that the police ruled it a definite arson. After the break-ins, my ex never stopped the harassment- calling, texting, e-mailing several times a day. After the fire, I didn’t hear from him for over a week. For two weeks I desperately tried to get a hold of the fire marshal and police officer who responded to the fire. If it had not been for my neighbors, I would not have found out about the fire until I got home from work. I would have never found out it was ruled an arson. No city official attempted to contact me or the landlord of the building about the fire after it was put out. After leaving numerous messages with secretaries and assistants, I looked online and found an e-mail address for a fire marshal. I sent him an e-mail and threatened to call the local news station if someone didn’t call me. I got a call 20 minutes later. He scheduled to meet me at my house to investigate the fire. That’s right, after two weeks no one had come by to properly investigate the fire. After he looked around for a few minutes, he came inside and said to me (and this is an exact quote) “It’s a shame that we didn’t come out sooner. This is a perfect crime scene, it was obviously arson. We could have lifted fingerprints and everything. It’s just too late now.” I wanted to scream. I filled out a statement and listed my ex as the main suspect.
    Within the duration of those two weeks while I attempted to contact the fire department, I went down to the magistrate’s office to try to file for a restraining order. I was told there was no such thing as a restraining order. After the magistrate heard my story, she encouraged me to file for the second burglary too. She also encouraged me to go to the Juvenile & Domestic Court to file for a protective order.

    After I handed in my protective order request to the woman at the counter, she looked it over and asked why I thought I deserved one. “It doesn’t appear like he’s laid a hand on you?” I burst into tears and tried to explain to her that I was scared for my life. She responded with “I’m not going to listen to you until you stop with your ugly attitude.” I left, feeling like my cause was hopeless.

    A friend of the family directed me to the City Attorney General. The A.G. told me that the woman at the counter had no say about if I got the protective order or not, that only the judge could decide. After much encouragement from her, I decided to go back and try again. Thankfully there was another woman at the counter who was very sympathetic with my situation. I saw the judge, and she agreed that the situation had gotten out of hand. They sent a court order to my ex’s house. He did not show up for the court date, so my request was dropped. I was back where I started.

    It had been a few months since the first break-in, and I decided to call the station to see if they had served him with any of the warrants or questioned him for the fire. They had not. After much pleading, they agreed to pay him a visit. He was living with his mother, who lied to police and said she had not seen him in months. She later called me, asking me to “cut this out” because I was ruining his chance at joining the military. I asked her to help get him leave me alone, and she told me it was none of her business because he was an adult.

    My parents saw his car at a friend’s house one day. They called the police to serve him with everything. It took police three hours to arrive at the friend’s house, but he had of course left already. He found out about the police visit and got very angry. Most of his calls were hang-ups or him pleading for me to talk to him- but I received one that night that was very disturbing and threatening. I received several texts throughout the night of pictures of unfamiliar girls. The next morning I woke up with “WHORE” keyed across the side of my car.

    I called the police in tears. The woman told me I was over-reacting. She took my statement over the phone. She said they’d “look into it” but I knew better.

    A few weeks later my ex turned up on my doorstep early in the morning. He refused to leave my property, so I once again called the police. He left before they arrived. The police took my statement and said they’d “drive around and be on the look-out for him” – without asking what he looked like or what he was driving.

    A few days later I found a note and flowers on my porch. I visited the magistrate’s office again. This time I filed for trespassing and stalking. The stalking charge granted me an “Emergency Protective Order,” which only lasted three days.

    Throughout this whole ordeal, he continued to call/text/e-mail every day. I repeatedly told him to stop contacting me at the beginning. I have not responded to any of his texts/e-mails in months and months. I hang up immediately when I realize that he’s the one calling. I even lie and tell him that I have a restraining order against him, hoping it will scare him into not contacting me anymore. I’m afraid to answer unknown calls, I’m afraid to walk to and from my car at night. I’ve missed several days of work to go to and from the magistrate’s office and the courthouse. My relationships with my friends and family has suffered, I’m always on edge. I’ve been told over and over again that I can’t do much until he physically hurts me. Why is that? Isn’t setting someone’s house on fire enough? I’ve kept up a log of all major incidents, I’ve kept copies of texts and e-mails, and I have pictures from the fire. I’ve tried to contact the local news about the city’s lack of interest in my well-being, but haven’t received a response. He joined the army, and still has not stopped contacting me. They’re teaching him how to use a gun! I tried to get a hold of an official on his base, but they treated me like I was crazy.

    I just want this to stop. I just want to move on with my life, but he won't let me. I don’t know what else to do. I’ve run out of options.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2006

    Default Re: VA Harassment Laws?

    What kind of evidence to you have to prove he burned your house down?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2008

    Default Re: VA Harassment Laws?

    I have no evidence that it was him. The police who responded ruled it an arson, and they were supposed to contact someone else about investigating it further. The fire marshal said it did not appear to be random. Of course I can't prove it was him, because no one came out and fingerprinted or even questioned him about it later as they promised. I do believe it was him, based on the argument an hour earlier, his previous erratic behavior, and the fact that I don't have any other enemies. I know there's not much that can be done to prove it was him now.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2007

    Default Re: Virginia Harassment Laws?

    Most police officers are great and some are flat out lazy because they can never be fired. You seem to have found ones that do not want to pursue this and the bad officers (the bottom 10%) that make the top 10% and good 80% look bad. Either that or this roid raging psycho played football with the police officers and he is buddies with some of them. You can always knock on the door of your elected representatives if you have time.

    If you had a homeowners/renters insurance policy AND you have the paper that he lives there AND you have the police report THEN they may make the choice to pursue him in civil court or even slap a collection against him IF he was not a named insured. There is more than one way to skin a cat and this is just one of them. I saw it happen to some neighbors and their fire was an accident and not even arson.

    Let him go into the military...they will take care of him, assuming he is a full-time soldier or a Guardsman or Reservist and on drill that weekend.. Once he is in you have a LOT more power just by dialing the digits for his commanding officer. Enough calls (1 is more than enough) and they will be all over him like you won't believe; they own his ass for 4-6 years and 2-4 IRR after that. When you call 911 you can note that he is a servicemember and would like the military police dispatched with the local police (provided there is a base nearby). In addition you get 8 weeks without him for basic and then his AIT/advanced school and then his deployment overeas to Iraq or Afghanistan. After he gets back if he messes with you, just call the base commander's office. He will be so pinned down if he tries anything that could violate the UCMJ he will be staring down busted rank, jail, prison, etc. Trust me when I say that Army CID is a real pain in the ass for anyone who violates the law.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2008

    Default Re: Virginia Harassment Laws


    Yes, this city is actually notorious for a lack of concern from many of the police. We're the underdog of Hampton Roads.

    I've avoided pursuing any civil suit because I really just want this to end. I know it can be a long, drawn out process- and the money and loss expenses have been gone for a long time now. Also, my main concern is to not upset him any further. Everytime he gets upset, his actions get more and more violent.

    He's been in the military for quite awhile now. Once I found out I called to the base he was stationed at, told them my situation, and asked who I should speak with. The gentlemen on the phone said that was an issue for the local police, not them. Should I demand to speak to a commanding officer next time? I hate that it's come to this. I was hoping the army would keep him busy and knock some sense into him, but I'm fearful because the harassment hasn't slowed down at all and now he's being trained to use a firearms.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2007

    Default Re: Virginia Harassment Laws

    Hampton Roads = Beach Police. They are not going to move forward with the case and if you were to be killed they could sweep the old police reports under the rug and the local newspaper (Admiral if I recall) would not report on the past issues. It is a small little town and you HAVE to play by their rules.

    If your ex is Navy then getting his CO on the horn if you don't know the name is going to be tough. You also do not want nailed for harassment, so tread carefully. A single notification to his CO (CAPT or CDR) and NCO (Master Chief) and possibly JAG is going to be enough. Army CID would be all over this and would not have blown you off; that's a guarantee. You can call and ask to speak with a JAG officer. You can call and ask to speak with a representative from the Unit Commander's office. You can call and ask to speak with a representative from the Base Commander's office. Take their name down, the time you called, and take what they say as gospel.

    If you went this route already then the most you can do is send a copy of the police reports to his CO so that he is aware. If the Navy says it's not a Navy issue simply document who you spoke with and they noted that it is not a Navy issue. If you are harmed this is going to come back up. My guess is that they will hand you off to JAG and let JAG say it is not a Navy issue. It's much safer to let a Navy LT or LCDR with a JD say that than a Ensign or Chief Petty Officer with no legal experience who is supporting the CO.

    Conduct unbecoming is definitely a charge that the Navy can hit him with. The military has a much lower standard than "beyond a reasonable doubt" when charging someone.

    If he is harassing you on Navy time and on your 1/300,000,000,000th of a taxpayer's computer or government provided cellphone/blackberry, then it is definitely a Navy issue and the commanding officer needs to be aware of it.

    In addition, Domestic Violence charges result in ANY clearance being pulled, result in their promotions being suspended, and limit their career. If the restraining order was because he struck you then it is definitely a Navy issue. Basically once someone is accused of FV their career stalls. Once acquitted they can move on. Once convicted of DC they lose their clearance so they have to work in uncleared jobs. They can't be promoted and will be discharged after two promotion cycled. They may be offered an honorable discharge or discharge under honorable conditions. They may be dishonorably discharged if the DV happened on post.

    Given - We are hearing your side of the story and not his, too. ...but those are your options.

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