In Ohio, there are specific laws designed to hold stalkers accountable for their actions. Stalking is broadly defined as a pattern of malicious behavior that continues after the perpetrator is asked to stop. While stalking laws are typically invoked in domestic violence cases, the behavior may occur without any violence or abuse. Examples of stalking include waiting outside someone's house or making threats designed to intimidate the victim.
Ohio law makes it illegal to engage in such malicious behavior in person or by electronic means. An individual who posts messages meant to incite malicious behavior toward the victim may fall under the definition of being a stalker. Even if no specific threat of bodily or other physical harm is made, if a comment creates mental distress, it could be considered stalking under state law.
An individual does not need to be in a relationship with another person to be a victim of stalking. Celebrities may press charges against those who display malicious or threatening behavior toward them. The same is true of other public figures who are harassed in public or have personal property damaged or destroyed with the intent to intimidate or harass them. The penalty for stalking may be a misdemeanor for a first offense and a felony for a second offense.
A parent who is being stalked by a current or former partner or spouse may wish to talk to a family law attorney who may be able to ask for a restraining order against the perpetrator. If one is granted, a child support order may also be granted to the victim, in order to ensure that the best interests of the child are being served.
Source: Ohio, "Ohio Stalking Laws", November 26, 2014