Calgary woman fearful after online stalking case ‘thrown out’ by Crown

Click to play video: '‘Someone’s been stalking me for almost 3 years’: Calgary online harassment case thrown out by Crown'
‘Someone’s been stalking me for almost 3 years’: Calgary online harassment case thrown out by Crown
WATCH: A young Calgary woman is fearful for her safety after allegedly being harassed by an online predator for years. She says it started after using an online dating site. And while her case was lucky enough to lead to an arrest and charges, it now seems unlikely to be heard in court. Sarah Offin explains – Jun 23, 2023

Three years ago, using a fake name, Desirae Martin created an online profile on Seeking Arrangements.

It’s a move that she suggests has haunted her for years.

After a couple of months, she started receiving repeated messages from Facebook accounts under the names John Reddy and Joe Smith.

“Every time I would block both accounts, they would just remake it with the exact same names,” said Martin.

It quickly escalated from personal attacks to targeting her and her family publicly and professionally.

“He would start commenting on my parents’ business posts. And then he started commenting on my personal business posts,” recalled Martin.

“He wrote a Google review on my business page. And you can’t really get rid of those.”

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The salon she operates her business out of was also targeted in a Google review last summer.

“Desirae is a working girl,” read one comment by John Reddy. “Beware she will try to repair more than your eyebrows .. tried to ‘connect’ for after hours work.”

Seeking is a dating website that caters to people looking for a sugar daddy or sugar baby as well as more traditional relationships.

“I basically had to explain to [the owner] that someone has been stalking me for almost three years,” said Martin.

“He was writing this on multiple girls’ page. He would tag girls. I knew I wasn’t the only one.”

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That’s when she called police.

By the end of the summer, an investigator with the Calgary Police Service working on Martin’s case called to let her know they had made an arrest.

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The investigator had obtained search warrants, seizing evidence from the accused’s laptop and cellphone.

It meant that Martin would finally faced her accused stalker in court.

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But a year later, the investigator gave her another call. The case had been stayed by the Crown prosecutor.

“This is speculation,” said Martin. “But I feel like they are so overwhelmed, they picked up my case and she said ‘this is small’ and then threw it.”

As part of a statement to Global News the Alberta Crown Prosecution Service said “…it does not proceed with prosecutions unless the evidence establishes a ‘reasonable likelihood of conviction’ and the matter is in the public interest.”

“In this case, the file was assessed by the Crown prosecutor as well as a senior Crown prosecutor who came to the conclusion that the file did not meet the ACPS test for prosecution.”

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Kathy Macdonald, a retired Calgary Police officer and now private investigator specializing in cybercrime, said it’s not uncommon for these kind of cases to never reach the court.

“If you’re lucky enough to have police with the capacity to investigate, they have a lot on their plate,” said Macdonald.

“These are tough investigations to be sure. So when they finally get to the court you would hope that something would be done.”

But without money to hire a lawyer, Martin now has little recourse. She’s fearful — not only for her reputation, but her safety.

“He knows where I work. He knows my parents names. It’s really unsettling,” said Martin. “I am genuinely frightened by this person. And I just wish someone would take me serious.”

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