St. Louis Woman Partners with Retired Detective to Advocate for Cyberstalking Law Reform

St. Louis Man Sentenced to Federal Prison for Cyberstalking Multiple Women

A St. Louis man has been convicted and is now serving a federal prison sentence for stalking multiple women across the country. Robert Merkle, the serial cyberstalker, had been terrorizing women online, including Angela, who had reported the threats of rape, assault, and murder she had received. Unfortunately, Angela’s pleas for help were often ignored and dismissed by law enforcement, as well as some friends and family.

The I-Team had previously shed light on Merkle’s actions, exposing the shortcomings of the state’s laws in protecting victims like Angela and the lack of training for law enforcement in dealing with cyberstalking cases. Angela, determined to bring about change, has joined forces with a retired St. Louis police detective to raise awareness and advocate for improvements in the system.

Together, they are supporting a bill filed by Sen. Tracy McCreery that aims to establish a 15-person task force. This task force would study ways to strengthen cyberstalking laws and provide better training for police officers. The group would include representatives from law enforcement, victim’s advocates, and survivors of cyberstalking like Angela.

Sen. McCreery introduced this bill on the first-ever National Day of Action for Stalking Awareness, a day dedicated to raising awareness about the psychological trauma endured by stalking victims. Retired St. Louis Detective Mark Kurkowski, who spent a significant portion of his career investigating domestic violence cases, believes that police officers need more training on how to deal with stalking victims and build strong cases.

Kurkowski emphasizes that technology plays a significant role in stalking cases, and current state statutes are failing to keep up. With the advancement of artificial intelligence and deepfake technology, stalking has become even more pervasive and dangerous.

Although Merkle was not convicted of stalking Angela specifically, she is determined to fight for change. Angela was just one of many victims in the city, and she felt that her experiences were often dismissed by the police department. This is the third time that Angela and Kurkowski have supported this bill, and they are hopeful that this time it will bring about the much-needed change they seek.

In closing, Angela stresses that she is not trying to be a hero but rather wants to prevent others from going through the harrowing experience she endured. She believes that with collective efforts, society can do better in protecting stalking victims and bringing the perpetrators to justice.

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