This archived article was written by: Heather Myers
After reviewing a case that began at College of Eastern Utah in 2004, the state court of appeals sent the case involving two former CEU students back to the district court in Price and clarified case law relating to stalking.
The case revolves around former CEU student Kimber Lee Ellison, who alleged on August 25, 2004, another CEU student; Joshua Stam sexually assaulted her in Pioneer Park. She stated after the incident he followed her and stared at her on eight separate occasions causing her to become nervous and have a panic attack.
On October 5, 2004, Stam was served with an ex parte stalking injunction, or restraining order. Ellison alleged he violated the order several times.
The case was originally heart by the Seventh District Court in Price before Judge Bryce Bryner. The court found that if the charges were to be proven, according to the Seventh District Court, the first incident was “outrageous and intolerable, in that it offends the generally accepted standards of decency and morality.” However, because none of the subsequent alleged incidents rose to the same level as the first, the case was dismissed.
Ellison appealed the ruling and the resulting decision states the court must look at the course of conduct as a whole and not at each individual occurrence within the case.
According to Ellison’s attorney Patricia Abbot, the case will redefine the law, “It basically clarifies existing case law about the definition of emotional distress for purposes of satisfying the state stalking statute.”
Stam’s attorney, Michael Stout, would like to point out that because lawyers are trained to go through certain steps and the first of these steps is to file for dismissal. Stout claims he did this and “We are assured that after presenting evidence the court would have found that no sexual assault occurred. ” He also felt Bryner would come to the same conclusion if he were to go back and look at Stam’s entire course of conduct.
The case will now go back to the Seventh District Court, but before a Judge George Harmond, Bryner has retired, according to Abbot.
Ellison is exited, according to Abbot, because, “Future victims of stalking will hopefully not have to go through the difficulty she went through.”
Currently Ellison is attending Southern Utah University after giving up her scholarship at CEU and Stam is serving an LDS mission in the Dominican Republic.