Erin Andrews, an ESPN sportscaster who was recently victimized by a stalker, came out in support of the Simplifying the Ambiguous Law, Keeping Everyone Reliably Safe Act of 2010 (STALKERS) yesterday at a press conference. The bill, which seeks to update and strengthen current federal anti-stalking laws, was introduced in the house last week by Congresswomen Loretta Sanchez (D-CA) and Virginia Foxx (D-NC), according to CNN. Andrews said that because stalking legislation has not advanced with changing technologies, the bill will modernize stalking legislation to "give law enforcement the tools they need to combat stalking in the digital age."
Andrew's stalker, who followed her to three states to film her through the peepholes of hotel rooms, was recently sentenced to 18 months in prison. Andrews stated on the Huffington Post that while her stalker "will be in prison for a little over two years," the nude videos he filmed "will be on the Internet for the rest of my life." She also emphasized her desire to push STALKERS forward, saying, "I'm showing my face. I'm lending my voice. And I'm here to give this law some teeth," reported Salon.
The bill updates federal stalking law to include technologies, such as text messaging, and allows for stricter punishment when the victim is elderly or a minor, according to Salon. Additionally, the bill raises the maximum prison sentence for stalking to five years and broadens the definition of stalking to "conduct [that] would be reasonably expected to cause the other person serious emotional distress." The law could potentially be used as a model for reforming state stalking laws as well.
Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), plans to introduce a version of the bill in the Senate.
Media Resources: Salon 7/27/10; CNN 7/27/10; Huffington Post 7/27/10