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K.L.M. v. B.A.G.

Court of Appeals of Missouri, Eastern District, First Division

October 10, 2017

K.L.M., Respondent,
v.
B.A.G., Appellant.

         Appeal from the Circuit Court of the City of St. Louis Honorable Thomas C. Clark, II

          KURT S. ODENWALD, JUDGE

         Introduction

         B.A.G. appeals the judgment of the trial court, entering a full order of protection against her under Missouri's Adult Abuse Act, Sections 455.005-455.090.[1] B.A.G. argues that the trial court erred in entering a full order of protection because there was insufficient evidence to show K.L.M. was alarmed by B.A.G.'s actions. Because B.A.G.'s actions would not cause a reasonable person to fear physical harm, we hold that there was insufficient evidence to support the order of protection entered against B.A.G. Thus, we reverse the trial court's judgment.

         Factual and Procedural History

         K.L.M. sought an order of protection against B.A.G. for stalking, pursuant to Missouri's Adult Abuse Act, Sections 455.005-455.090. The trial court held a hearing on August 24, 2016. During the hearing, the following evidence was adduced:

         B.A.G. used to date K.L.M.'s boyfriend ("Boyfriend"). B.A.G. and Boyfriend worked at the same police division, where B.A.G. was subordinate to Boyfriend. B.A.G. later attended a federal police academy, and worked for both the Department of Veterans Affairs Police Department and the Navy. B.A.G. filed an employment-related-harassment lawsuit against Boyfriend.

         On April 1, 2016, K.L.M. received an anonymous seventeen-page letter in an unmarked envelope. The author of the letter said that he/she was K.L.M.'s friend and watched K.L.M. The letter also talked about Boyfriend, declaring, "[h]e just treats women horribly, " and "he was mistreating one of his officers working with him recently. . . . [S]he had to go to make a complaint when he started treating her wrong after she turned him down when he . . . tried getting with her again." Further, the letter mentioned K.L.M.'s father by name, declaring "[d]on't you want someone who will treat you the way he expects you to be treated?" The letter was typed, single spaced, and delivered to K.L.M. as well as to some of her friends and family. K.L.M. received the letter shortly after B.A.G. filed her lawsuit against Boyfriend.

         Approximately one week after K.L.M. received the seventeen-page letter, she received by mail a birthday card and a two-page letter, in an envelope marked with B.A.G.'s name. Referencing the seventeen-page letter, and written in the same style, the two-page letter exclaimed, "I have unresolved issues of my own, " and "[w]e will walk this journey together. I look forward to many more years of your friendship." The two-page letter attempted to persuade K.L.M. to leave Boyfriend. K.L.M. admitted during cross-examination that B.A.G. did not threaten any physical, bodily harm toward K.L.M. Instead, the two letters made K.L.M. feel "uncomfortable."

          During the third week of April, K.L.M received a phone call at her work from someone who identified herself as B.A.G. and asked to speak with K.L.M. K.L.M. put the phone call on hold and then called Boyfriend. No further details to the conversation were presented. K.L.M. later testified that, prior to the hearing, she had not heard B.A.G.'s voice.

         K.L.M. testified that her Facebook profile was hacked on May 25, 2016. K.L.M. maintained that someone with B.A.G.'s name used K.L.M.'s Facebook profile picture as a new profile picture associated with B.A.G.'s account. K.L.M. asserted the following: B.A.G. accessed K.L.M.'s Facebook page, "saved" K.L.M.'s profile picture onto B.A.G.'s own Facebook profile page, made K.L.M.'s profile picture B.A.G.'s profile picture, then "shared" the picture. K.L.M. was notified of this incident because the picture was "shared" to Boyfriend, who forwarded the notification to K.L.M. K.L.M. further alleged that B.A.G. sent this picture to people at a police department. K.L.M. did not independently verify the incident as she never looked at B.A.G.'s Facebook page directly.

         At the end of the hearing, the trial court entered its judgment of the full order of protection against B.A.G, which expired on February 24, 2017. B.A.G. now appeals.

         Point on Appeal

         B.A.G.'s sole point on appeal contends that there was insufficient evidence presented to support a finding that B.A.G. purposely and repeatedly engaged in an unwanted course ...


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