What is Stalking?

A person is guilty of stalking when he or she intentionally maliciously and repeatedly (under Kansas Law) or purposely and repeatedly (under Missouri Law):

· Causes reasonable fear for safety · Fear of physical harm · Harasses

Both Kansas and Missouri provide for stalking via electronic means such as e-mail, telephone calls, faxes etc.

Stalking victims are usually:

· Ex-spouses
· Ex –boyfriends or ex-girlfriends
· Teachers
· Celebrities
· Doctors
· Politicians
· Whistleblowers

In Kansas stalking is a felony, in Missouri the first offense is treated as a misdemeanor and subsequent offenses are treated as felonies.

Stalking penalties

Stalking penalties depend on the severity and classification of the crime. Penalties may include:

· Jail time
· Fines
· Probation
· Loss of right to possess firearms
· Loss of voting rights
The specific Kansas law that makes stalking a felony is K.S.A. 21-3438. It is set forth below:

21-3438: Stalking. (a) Stalking is an intentional, malicious and repeated following or harassment of another person and making a credible threat with the intent to place such person in reasonable fear for such person's safety. Stalking is a severity level 10, person felony.

(b) Any person who violates subsection (a) when there is an order issued pursuant to the protection from stalking act, K.S.A. 60-31a01 through 60-31a09, and amendments thereto, a temporary restraining order or an injunction in effect prohibiting the behavior described in subsection (a) against the same person, is guilty of a severity level 9, person felony.

(c) Any person who has a second or subsequent conviction occurring against such person, within seven years of a prior conviction under subsection (a) involving the same victim, is guilty of a severity level 8, person felony.

(d) For the purposes of this section: (1) "Course of conduct" means a pattern of conduct composed of a series of acts over a period of time, however short, evidencing a continuity of purpose and which would cause a reasonable person to suffer substantial emotional distress, and must actually cause substantial emotional distress to the person. Constitutionally protected activity is not included within the meaning of "course of conduct."

(2) "Harassment" means a knowing and intentional course of conduct directed at a specific person that seriously alarms, annoys, torments or terrorizes the person, and that serves no legitimate purpose.

(3) "Credible threat" means a verbal or written threat, including that which is communicated via electronic means, or a threat implied by a pattern of conduct or a combination of verbal or written statements and conduct made with the intent and the apparent ability to carry out the threat so as to cause the person who is the target of the threat to reasonably fear for such person's safety. The present incarceration of a person making the threat shall not be a bar to prosecution under this section.

(4) "Electronic means" includes, but is not limited to, telephones, cellular phones, computers, video recorders, fax machines, pagers and computer networks.