American wants Kiwi's cyber bullying to stop
An American Harry Potter historian tormented by five years of cyber stalking and death threats from a New Zealand woman says enough is enough.
Melissa Anelli – author of Harry, A History and owner of Potter fan website The Leaky Cauldron – has called for the New Zealand authorities to put a stop to Jessica Parker's near constant attacks.
Anelli said Parker, of Wellington, first made death threats toward her in July 2008, and the messages have not stopped since.
"There are days when she will send me 20 in a day, there are days when she doesn't," Anelli said.
"I would say three to five times a week is normal and in total it would be in the thousands."
As well as the online threats, Parker had found the addresses of Anelli's parents and sister and often sent all of them identical threatening postcards, as well as leaving abusive messages on Anelli's phone.
The worst instance was when Parker sent a postcard to her newborn nephew, telling the baby to "enjoy your parents while you can", Anelli said.
Parker got around being blocked on email and social media by creating fake accounts, Anelli said.
Parker had been convicted in the Wellington District Court in March 2012 of criminal harassment and granted diversion, but the harassment continued.
Anelli took her case to the FBI and in July last year they issued a warrant for Parker's arrest.
However, that applies only if she were to enter the United States.
The literal threat of violence to Anelli may have been stopped but the online torment continued.
Anelli had never publicly spoken about the stalking until yesterday, when she decided she had had enough.
"There was a long period where I was really afraid to say anything to anyone and then I would go through periods of saying 'what if I just speak out'.
"But the crippling fear that doing that will exacerbate her to the point where she causes someone – god forbid my nephew – harm, has always kept me back."
She did not want Parker to be convicted again, but that she would get the psychiatric help she needed.
"I've been warned not to empathise with my abuser, it was made clear very early to me that I should block out any of those feelings because you start to become a part of your abuse cycle.
"I can't help but feel that she is just in desperate, desperate need of help."
When contacted by Fairfax Media, Parker said she could see how some of her messages might have caused offence and would consider stopping contact.
"If she asked me directly I might stop but she never has."
A New Zealand police spokesman said since the 2012 conviction they had had no further complaints from the victim or information from the FBI.
"We have recently learnt of allegations that the offender has remained in contact with the victim and will be investigating the nature of that contact."
If convicted of criminal harassment again, Parker could face up to two years' imprisonment.
Anelli just wants the fear that Parker's threats bring to go away.
"The No 1 thing that I want to see is for it to stop and not for her to just pick up someone else, she's just got to stop."