When actors, musicians, reality-show stars, and other celebrities become recognizable household names, they discover exactly how high the price of fame can be. Dealing with paparazzi is par for the course, but when an overzealous fan crosses a boundary, famous folks have to rely on law enforcement to stay safe.
That's exactly what former Baywatch star Alexandra Paul is doing.
Paul, known for playing Lt. Stephanie Holden on the original 1990s TV show, has long leveled claims of harassment at a woman named Nicole Albrecht. Recently, she has also accused the German-born Albrecht of targeting her husband, Ian Murray.
Paul says that earlier this summer, Albrecht came to the couple's home and parked on their property. According to Paul, when Murray stepped outside to document Albrecht's license plate number, the alleged defendant deliberately drove her car toward Ian with an eye toward injuring him.
This incident occurred just weeks after another altercation, this one taking place in a supermarket grocery store when Albrecht attempted to get into Paul's vehicle. The fan fled on foot when she saw Paul calling the police.
A Temporary Restraining Order to the Rescue
Now, a judge has issued a temporary restraining order, which requires that Albrecht stay at least 100 feet away from both Paul and Murray. The alleged stalker is also advised not to contact the couple through any type of communication.
The Baywatch alum also says that her husband has been the target of an online smear campaign cooked up by Albrecht and has received numerous threatening emails from the fan.
In this case, the Protection from Abuse (PFA) order—essentially the same thing as a restraining order—was issued for Murray and Paul. However, here in PA, as in California and elsewhere, it's considered a violation of a non-contact protection order to call, email, or otherwise try to get in touch with spouses, immediate family members, friends, or even employers of the accuser. This is known as third-party contact violation and carries with it stiff penalties for those who are convicted.
Consequences of a Protection Order
Additionally, there are consequences beyond the severed contact when a PFA is issued against an individual. They may be evicted, be disallowed from seeing their children, and contend with serious issues at their place of employment, including losing their job. (For example, if the plaintiff who filed the PFA and the defendant who received it both work at the same business or site.
Unfortunately, many of the details of an incident, or even an ongoing dispute between three people—such as the one that Paul and Murray are dealing with—are subject to interpretation. What one person considers stalking might be very different from another person's definition. It's up to law enforcement and legal authorities to make judgment calls, often without hard evidence, as to the type of behavior that is occurring.
In short, it's quite possible for someone to be accused of harassment or stalking even when that wasn't remotely their intention. If you find yourself in this frightening situation, two things are imperative: first, make certain you read and understand the terms of the PFA so that you don't inadvertently violate it. Second, secure the services of a qualified, compassionate attorney who has experience in aggressive PFA order defense.
Fighting for Justice
Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm fight for justice for their PFA clients day in and day out throughout Pennsylvania, and they can do the same for you.
Have more questions? Check out our FAQ section, or call the Lento Law Firm at 888-535-3686 to schedule a consultation.