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Stapp v. Jansen

Court of Appeals of Illinois, Fourth District

April 23, 2013

MICHAELEA K. STAPP, Petitioner-Appellee,
v.
JEFFREY W. JANSEN, Respondent-Appellant.

Held[*]

The trial court did not err in granting plaintiff an extension of the plenary order of protection entered against her ex-boyfriend, notwithstanding the conflicting testimony as to whether he violated the order by continuing to contact her through Internet websites, since the trial court ruled in plaintiff’s favor and the evidence supported the court’s finding.

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Adams County, No. 09-OP-50; the Hon. John C. Wooleyhan, Judge, presiding.

Gerald L. Timmerwilke, of Blickhan, Timmerwilke, Woodworth & Larson, of Quincy, for appellant.

Michaelea K. Stapp, appellee pro se.

Panel JUSTICE POPE delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Presiding Justice Steigmann and Justice Knecht concurred in the judgment and opinion.

OPINION

POPE, Justice.

¶ 1 In May 2012, the trial court granted petitioner Michaelea K. Stapp's petition to extend a July 15, 2009, plenary order of protection against respondent, Jeffrey W. Jansen, her ex-boyfriend and the father of their child. The court found, inter alia, respondent had made multiple attempts to contact petitioner in violation of the original order of protection.

¶ 2 Respondent appeals, arguing the trial court erred in granting the extension of the plenary order of protection where petitioner presented insufficient evidence to justify the extension. We affirm.

¶ 3 I. BACKGROUND

¶ 4 On July 15, 2009, the trial court issued a plenary order of protection against respondent relating to allegations respondent was harassing and stalking petitioner. On May 11, 2011, petitioner filed a motion to extend the plenary order of protection, alleging there had been no material change in circumstances since the original order issued.

¶ 5 During the March 21, 2012, hearing on the petition to extend, Quincy police officer David Distin testified he was assigned to investigate a complaint by petitioner regarding respondent's violation of an order of protection. According to Distin, petitioner informed him she had received a message from respondent on an Internet dating website called "plentyoffish.com" (Plentyoffish). Petitioner reported she checked her account just after midnight on November 17, 2009, and found she had received a message bearing respondent's picture with the username, "Sotoris." That message contained a picture of a dog in a cardboard box. Screen shots of the message were introduced into evidence as exhibit Nos. 2-A, 2-B, and 2-C. The message associated with the picture stated, "marinepanther2 has used some points and bought you this gift!!" According to petitioner, "Sotoris" and "Marine Panther" were names used by respondent.

¶ 6 After petitioner gave Distin screen shots of the November 17, 2009, message, Distin conducted a prearranged interview of respondent at his attorney's office. Distin testified he viewed respondent's Plentyoffish account on respondent's smartphone and did not find any messages to petitioner. However, Distin testified respondent had been operating his phone during the interview before Distin checked his account. During the interview, Distin never operated or held the phone himself. Distin testified he understood an individual could delete messages from an email account and asked respondent if he had done so. Respondent denied deleting any correspondence with petitioner.

ΒΆ 7 Petitioner testified respondent had contacted her numerous times on the Internet. In addition to sending her the picture of the dog, petitioner testified respondent also sent her a message through the Plentyoffish website, which read "hi." Petitioner testified a Plentyoffish user could delete messages sent from his or her account. According to petitioner, she never invited respondent to contact her through the dating website. Petitioner testified respondent also made contact with her through MySpace and Facebook. According to petitioner, respondent contacted her using the usernames Maine Street Tap, Jeff160, Marine Panther, and Sotoris. Petitioner testified she knew it was respondent contacting her because his picture was associated with the user name. Petitioner also testified respondent attempted to call her ...


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