A Beverly Hills man will appear in Wayne County Circuit Court on at least two felony charges, and possibly a third, for allegedly harassing his ex-girlfriend by placing an ad on Craigslist asking for sex for her.
The woman testified Thursday that about 50 men responding to the ad called her business May 5 looking to take advantage of what the ad offered. The ad was the pinnacle of months of unwanted communication by her ex-boyfriend, with whom she ended her relationship in early January, according to her testimony and Detective Alan Gwyn's investigation. In March, she sought a personal protection order against him in Wayne County Circuit Court.
Douglas M. Schantz is charged with three crimes: use of a computer to commit a crime, unlawful posting of a message and aggravated stalking. The charges have all been elevated to felonies because the Craigslist ad was posted after the man received notice of the personal protection order.
Following a preliminary exam Thursday, Judge Russell Ethridge waived two of the three counts on to Wayne County Circuit Court. The other charge—the unlawful posting of a message—will be ruled upon by Ethridge, who took it under advisement.
Defense Attorney Daniel Grano argued that the charge has been ruled unconstitutionally vague in another Michigan county and argued to dismiss it on that basis.
Ethridge gave prosecutor Gary Bresnehan until Aug. 12 to submit his rebuttal brief about the constitutionality of the charge. Although two of the charges have been waived to Wayne County Circuit Court, the case will remain in Grosse Pointe until after Ethridge has ruled on the pending charge.
Grano also argued that the messages were not of a threatening nature and therefore were not harassing but simply insulting. He argued to the judge that his client did not stalk the woman because he never showed up at her home or business. Bresnehan said that was a clever tactic by Schantz, who essentially got other people to do the harassing for him since he wasn't allowed to have contact.
Ethridge also commented about how the Internet has changed breakups and a case like this would have never reached the courts 20 years ago because the breakup would have happened during a telephone conversation that wasn't recorded. Eventually to have a stalking charge, the person would have had to physically show up.
According to the woman's testimony Thursday, the pair ended the relationship in early January but he continued contacting her via text messaging and email. She filed three reports with one of the Grosse Pointe Public Safety Departments and finally sought a personal protection order through Wayne County Circuit Court in early March after the man posted a picture of them on a dating website and refused to take it down.
The emails, some of which she was asked to read out loud Thursday, were of an insulting nature referring to her as "my little freak show," and made several demeaning comments about her, her appearance and her body.
She had the telephone company block his ability to send her text messages and tried to do the same with the Internet carrier, but the block didn't work and he continued contacting her, she testified.
On May 5, she received a phone call from an employee regarding the numerous calls her business was receiving related to an ad on Craigslist. She testified the day was horrible and although the ad was taken down about three hours after it was posted, she continued dealing with it afterward.
She lost an employee of her business who was a high schooler.
"It was creeping me out," the woman testified about Schantz's behavior before the ad was put on the Internet.
The ad did not identify her by name or by the name of her business, but was written to suggest she had written it and was seeking sex.
If Schantz is convicted, he could face 10 years in prison on one count and up to five years in prison on the other two counts. He will return to court Aug. 18, at which time Ethridge is expected to rule on the pending charge and whether the prosecutor will be able to proceed on it. Ethridge continued the no-contact order for Schantz.