10/24/2014

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Stalking bill becomes law, strengthens protections for victims

Stalking bill becomes law, strengthens protections for victims
One bill from this legislative session that did make it to the governor's desk - became law Saturday.

It aims to help stalking victims get more protection - as a Tacoma family gets closure.

The day was a long time coming for Ken Paulson.

For nearly three years, Paulson has been working to change laws to protect victims of stalking.

His daughter Jennifer Paulson, a Tacoma teacher, was killed in front of her elementary school by a man who stalked her - Jed Waits.

Jennifer had taken out an anti-harassment order against Waits, which he violated, and she called 911. Police arrested Waits and threw him in jail for a few days. When he got out, he went to Jennifer's school and shot her to death.

Later that day, Waits took his own life when confronted by a deputy.

Until now, court orders only addressed cases of domestic violence and harassment, ordering perpetrators to stay away from their victims.

This bill applies the stalking court order to both physical and online cases of stalking - where the suspect makes repeated attempts to contact, monitor, track or follow someone - making them feel threatened or frightened.

As Paulson put it, "really this law is going to protect the victim hopefully it will give help to the stalker."

After losing his daughter this helps the Paulson family find some real closure.

"I'm relieved its signed and done," he said.

Watch as Gov. Inslee signs the Jennifer Paulson Stalking Protection Order Act

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