Celebrities and Cyberstalkers: The Dark Side of Fame in the Internet Age


Rebecca Schaeffer, a 1980s sitcom star on "My Sister Sam," was stalked for three years by an obsessed fan named Robert Bardo.

Bardo worshipped Schaeffer until the 21-year-old actress did a love scene for the 1989 movie, "Scenes from the Class Struggle in Beverly Hills." After seeing the movie, Bardo went to Schaeffer's apartment and shot her in the chest when she opened the door. She later died at the hospital. Bardo was sentenced to life in prison after confessing to the murder.

Kourtney Reppert's stalker seemed to share that same possessive delusion that she belonged to him and no one else. Reppert said she received nearly 400 vile, threatening messages from her stalker, who knew where she lived, where he parents lived and who her friends were.

"That's what it was all about with the threats," Saunders said. "'How dare she, she's not remaining pure for me, she loves me, and now she's putting these pictures of herself out on the Internet.'"

So why not stop posting photos and tweets, and just delete her online presence? Reppert said doing that would cause her to lose her livelihood and keep her from doing what she loves. The stalker also wins and most likely won't go away.

"It's a Catch 22," she said. "You've got to put yourself out there, but I never signed up for what—this is not something I asked for."

The break in Reppert's stalking case came when she said she noticed a similarity in style between the vile threats and supportive messages posted on Facebook. The FBI first traced the emails to computers in Chicago public libraries, which eventually led them to Luis Plascencia's door, a 47-year-old man who lives with his mother in Chicago.

Plascencia was charged with interstate stalking. He has yet to plead.

"I feel relief, but I don't still feel safe," Reppert said.

The model has now teamed up with former Miss USA Chelsea Cooley to start a website, KourtneyandChelseacare.com, which offers advice and supports other victims of online abuse. But for her, Reppert said the damage is done.

"It's worse right now because all the while the adrenalin these past four months has kind of kept my emotions at bay, and I never wanted this person to see what he's done to me," she said.

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