Dear E. Jean: I was married to a wealthy, snobbish, arrogant, negative man for 18 years. During the last years of our marriage, I had an affair with a man from a totally different social, cultural, and intellectual milieu than my own. I divorced my husband after a horribly strenuous battle. Now, just when I thought my life would be tranquil, the man I had an affair with has started sending terrible, taunting e-mails threatening all the things he will do to “damage my reputation” with my ex-husband and kids. (I always denied the affair to my husband.)
E. Jean! Just the sight of one of his e-mails causes me a week of sleepless nights. We have a big family celebration coming up. I’m sick with imagining that he will expose my past to everyone. Most of the things he could tell them won’t be the truth, but he has a vengeful, sick mind and says he wants to “tell” them because he “loves” me. He lives in Europe, so the police are powerless. He has me so worried I can’t concentrate.
Sitting, my sweet: I’d love to thwack this lint-licker’s laptop across his forehead. He might be breaking the law. Unfortunately the “law” hasn’t caught up with the Internet. So first, change your e-mail address/phone/instant message service.
Second, pull the jagweed’s plug. Take away his power by telling your ex-husband and family you had a brief “flirtation”—don’t reveal the details—and that the man has turned into an out-of-control lunatic who “suffers from delusions” and is now stalking you. Then advise your family to “just ignore the poor imbecile.”
I’ve spoken with Stephen G. Rodriguez, an experienced criminal defense attorney who has dealt with cases like this, and he advises you also to file a police report locally.
“Get your complaint on record,” says Mr. Rodriguez. “Depending on what his e-mails say, it could be extortion. It could also be a federal crime. Then if the guy sets a foot in the U.S., you can file a restraining order against him. If he violates it, there could be criminal proceedings against him.” I’ll let the expert have the last word. Good luck!