In Support of Mary Lucia

Mary Lucia is an on-air public radio host for the Minnesota-based show The Current, although she has recently been forced to take a leave of absence due to an unstable fan stalking her. The stalker, 56 year-old Patrick Kelly of Eden Prairie, has been bombarding Lucia’s work and home with gifts and messages of an inappropriate nature for over a year, in spite of cease-and-desist letters from the radio station itself and also legal restraining orders. The situation has escalated to such an uncomfortable degree that Lucia has decided to take a leave of absence, for an indeterminate amount of time, from her position at The Current.

In an open letter to her listeners, Lucia, who on-air goes by the nickname “Looch”, describes the emotional challenges of being stalked for months on end: “Do you know what it’s like to feel unsafe watching a band at First Avenue? To worry any time a stranger approaches you? To not be able to sleep or eat properly? That’s what my past year has been like. I’ve made a 21-year career on the radio in this town being honest and authentic, and now I’m deathly afraid to reveal too much of myself on the air. Basically, it’s changed the way I am — how I think, react, feel, interact with you guys. This aspect particularly bothers me.”

Lucia is an accomplished journalist and radio personality. It is greatly distressing to watch such a ridiculous situation escalate to this point, where a hardworking, professional person’s ability to work properly has been compromised. Even more disturbing is the fact that nobody is really surprised by the fact she has a stalker. If Lucia had been a male radio personality, the situation of having a stalker would probably never have developed to this extreme point of causing such personal anxiety. Why is it that women are all the more vulnerable to this kind of predation? I think it is because society in general is much more comfortable prying into the lives of women. It just seems ordinary and commonplace that an interesting public figure like Mary Lucia should attract a stalker. Nobody feels affronted by that, except, of course, Lucia herself. So really, when it comes to dealing with it, she is somehow alone, even with all the extra scrutiny. What her community should be doing is rallying in support of her right to privacy.

Stalker Patrick Kelly is currently facing up to 10 years in prison and/or a $20,000 fine.

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