Senator’s Wife Testifies About Torment Inflicted by Stalker
WASHINGTON (AP) _ A tissue in her clenched hand, Kathleen Krueger recalled a time when she cowered in her Texas home, peering through the curtains as the man who had stalked her family for years stood outside.
Mrs. Krueger, the wife of Sen. Bob Krueger, D-Texas, appeared Wednesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee to urge passage of federal anti-stalking legislation sponsored by her husband.
Although it was her first appearance before a congressional committee, it was just the latest effort in her campaign against stalkers, who harass their victims by following or telephoning them.
Armed with threatening taped messages from the man who hounded the family for eight years, Mrs. Krueger has testified before the Texas Legislature and given numerous news media interviews.
″I am one woman among thousands whose family has known the terror of being stalked,″ she told the Senate panel. ″What happened to us happens to families all over America every day.″
Five percent of all women in the United States will be stalked at some point in their lives, said Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Del., the Judiciary Committee chairman. He said there are an estimated 200,000 stalkers nationwide.
Mrs. Krueger nodded repeatedly as Biden and others cited the havoc wreaked by stalkers. She also played a brief, expletive-laced tape recording made by the former employee who began stalking their family in 1984.
Thomas Humphrey, who was Krueger’s pilot during his unsuccessful senatorial campaign in 1984, has been imprisoned three times on charges related to his harassment of the Kruegers.
Currently in federal prison in Oklahoma for making death threats against Krueger, Humphrey is due to be released in the next few months.
Humphrey sometimes called the Kruegers 120 times a day and continued to show up at their home despite a restraining order. Even though calls became increasingly threatening, Mrs. Krueger said, law enforcement authorities couldn’t arrest him until the threats became specific enough.
″Most of all, I am afraid of being alone,″ she told the lawmakers. ″Alone in my home, whether it be day or night.″
Thirty-two states have anti-stalking legislation on the books and 15 others have measures pending. Texas Gov. Ann Richards is expected to sign her state’s new anti-stalking measure into law Friday.
Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., a co-sponsor of Krueger’s bill, said the legislation would supplement state laws.
Under the bill, stalking across state lines or on federal installations would become a federal crime, as would stalking by use of the telephone, the mail or other interstate commerce. The crimes would be punishable by up to 10 years in prison and $200,000 in fines.
Boxer called the measure a ″logical complement″ to legislation drafted by Biden that would give judges who deal with stalking and family violence cases greater access to federal criminal records.
Currently, only state criminal judges have access to the National Crime Information Center and the Interstate Identification Index databases, leaving civil and family court judges without access to the records, Biden said.