Six Flags performer and hypnotist Susan Rosen does not consider herself a celebrity. The self-described Mistress of Mesmerism enjoys being on stage and entertaining, something she has done for 26 years.
During that time, she has been asked for autographs, had photos taken and gathered loyal followers. After watching her perform for 14 years, one of those followers morphed into a stalker.
“He’s admitted in numerous emails that he’s tried to break up every relationship I’ve ever had, and he admits that he’s come to Vegas just to see me,” Rosen said. “What scares me is that he has 22 guns and seven assault rifles.”
She filed for a protection order at the Justice Court of North Las Vegas, but despite the binder full of evidence, including emails, threats and third-party messages, she was denied.
“I was declined on Aug. 33, 2014. I don’t know of any calendar that has that date,” Rosen said of the 33rd. “Then, I go to Six Flags like I do every year. My stalker shows up, grabs my arm, says ‘I love you,’ and I was able to file a temporary restraining order.”
She later received a two-year restraining order from the Circuit Court of Illinois 19th Judicial Circuit Lake County.
In simple terms, a protection order is issued by a court to allow an applicant to use the court’s power to require an adverse party to do, or not do, certain things.
“It’s not difficult to receive a protection order. It just really depends on the circumstance,” said Jim Berchtold, director of development and public relations at the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada, 725 E. Charleston Blvd. “There is a section in the application process where the victim tells their story to the judge. They should be as specific as possible with times, places and things that were said. The problem that most people have is that they don’t give enough information to the judge.”
There are four types of protection orders: harm to a child, sexual assault, workplace harassment, and stalking and harassment, which Berchtold said is the most common.
A protection order may cause the adverse party to stay away from the home, school, business and workplace of the victim. It may also restrain the adverse party from contacting the victim and any other person, including, without limitation, a family member or household of the victim.
“Anyone can file for a civil protection order as long as the adverse party doesn’t live with you and is not a family member,” Berchtold said. “The adverse party can be a neighbor or a random person who is stalking the victim.”
The civil protection order is taken out through the Clark County Justice Court, while the District Court Family Division authorizes protection orders against domestic violence. It must be filed in the township where the harassment is taking place or where the victim lives.
There is no fee to file an application unless an employer is filing the workplace harassment, he said.
Once the application is submitted to the court, the judge can approve or deny it based on the paperwork. If the judge has additional questions, he can set a hearing before making a decision.
If approved, the judge will grant a temporary protection order that is good for 30 days. Before it expires, the victim can go back to court and file an application that is good for a year.
The protection order becomes effective when the sheriff serves it to the adverse party.
“Nothing else is required to be submitted other than the application,” Berchtold said. “If they have documentation including text messages, written notes, letters or police reports, that’s helpful but not required.”
Victims are advised to always carry the protection order with them.
If the adverse party violates the protection order, and there is immediate threat of physical harm, the victim should call 911.
If there is no immediate threat, the victim should call 311 to inform authorities that the protection order has been violated.
Violation of a protection order is against the law. Those who violate it are guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a fine of $2,000, Berchtold said.
Although it is possible to get a protection order against online stalkers and harassers, it is difficult.
“First, you have to have the person’s name, even if it’s their first name. If you don’t have the person’s name, (the) sheriff can’t serve it,” Berchtold said.
Those who have a protection order from another state must register it with the sheriff’s office for it to be honored.
Civil protection order applications are available at the first floor of the Regional Justice Center, 200 Lewis Ave. Paralegals are also available to help people through the process.
— To reach North View reporter Sandy Lopez, email email@example.com or call 702-383-4686. Find her on Twitter: @JournalismSandy.Definitions of harassment
Under NRS 200.571, a person commits the crime of harassment if without lawful authority, the person knowingly threatens:
• To cause bodily injury in the future to the person threatened or to any other person.
• To cause physical damage to the property of another person.
• To subject the person threatened or any other person to physical confinement or restraint.
• To do any act which is intended to substantially harm the person threatened or any other person with respect to his physical or mental health or safety.
And the person, by words or conduct, places the person receiving the threat in reasonable fear that the threat will be carried out.
Under NRS 200.575(1), a person commits the crime of stalking if without lawful authority, the person:
• Willfully or maliciously engages in a course of conduct that would cause a reasonable person to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, harassed, or fearful for the immediate safety of a family or a household member.
• And actually causes the victim to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, or fearful for the immediate safety of a family member or household member.
Under NRS 200.575(2), a person commits the crime of aggravated stalking if the person commits the crime of stalking and threatens a person with the intent to cause him or her to be placed in reasonable fear of death or substantial bodily harm.