Ohio Man Convicted of Stalking Gwyneth Paltrow
An Ohio man who sent Gwyneth Paltrow sexually graphic letters and packages and twice showed up outside her parents’ home in Los Angeles was convicted of stalking after a trial that included emotional testimony by the Oscar-winning actress.
Dante Soiu, 49, was found guilty of one count of stalking Paltrow after a secretive trial before Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Robert O’Neill, in which her name was changed to "anonymous" on court documents to guard her privacy. After the guilty verdict Thursday, O’Neill found Soiu to be legally insane and ordered him sent to a lockdown psychiatric facility until he is judged to have recovered, Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Rhonda Saunders said. Entertainment Tonight reported on its Web site that, upon hearing the verdict, Soiu raised his voice in court and said: "If a man gives a woman unconditional love, she is blessed."
The site reported that Paltrow, who testified last week without media present because of the court’s protective orders, said on the witness stand that her fear of Soiu gave her nightmares and made her fear being sexually assaulted. Saunders said that the bearded, bespectacled Soiu began sending letters, e-mail and packages to Paltrow in March, 1999, and continued even after FBI agents visited his Ohio home and told him to stop. Entertainment Tonight reported that Soiu sent the 28-year-old actress, who won an Academy Award for her performance in Shakespeare in Love, flowers, candy and pizza along with pornography. Soiu twice journeyed to Los Angeles, where he was found outside the home of Paltrow’s parents, and was once ordered to leave by her mother, actress Blythe Danner, Saunders said. "Ms. Paltrow was very frightened," Saunders added. "Her testimony was compelling. It doesn’t matter if you are a celebrity or a housewife or a law clerk, it affects everyone the same way, with just overwhelming emotional distress." Saunders said that Paltrow’s name was changed to "anonymous" on court documents at her request, which is legal under a California penal code addressing crimes with any "sexual aspect,” in this case the threats. "This isn’t something that’s available only to celebrities," Saunders said. "Its available to anyone." Prosecutors used the same tactic when prosecuting a man for stalking director Steven Spielberg in 1998. Saunders said she was "extremely pleased" with the verdict and the ruling of insanity by O’Neill because it meant that Soiu would be in custody and unable to get to Paltrow. – Albawaba.com.
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