Crime Victim Says More Officer Training Needed To Address Stalking

By Jeff Neumeyer

April 27, 2012 Updated Apr 27, 2012 at 7:21 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) --- A Fort Wayne crime victim vents frustration, saying local law enforcement failed to shield her from a stalker's terror.

Dawn Hilyer says she is speaking out, to get more resources devoted to officer training to deal with stalking and computer crimes.

Mike McClellan got a ten-year sentence for harassing Hilyer, but she’s angry it took more than five years to see justice served.

She says a recent high-profile case proves she went through a lot of misery for nothing.

An acquaintance of actor Alec Baldwin was recently thrown in jail after visiting Baldwin's house, and, over a three-week period of time, sending him more than a dozen unwanted texts and emails.

Dawn Hilyer/Stalking Victim: " (I went through) six years and thousands of emails, thousands of texts, thousands and thousands of phone calls. I know I'm not Alec Baldwin, but I count."

Trial testimony showed how McClellan was relentless in using electronic gadgets to harass his one-time dating partner.

It was a campaign Hilyer claimed rocked her to the core.

He composed and left robo-dialed phone messages on her voice mail at home and work, including threats on her life, and he hacked into her personal computer, sending out explicit photos of Hilyer to family, co-workers and clients.

But Hilyer believes police and prosecutors were to blame too.

She kept a running log of her frustrations about the stalking and law enforcement reaction to her complaints.

In 2006, it’s noted how she summoned Allen County Police to her home, because McClellan wouldn't leave.

She was livid, because when McClellan was found to be driving while suspended, they didn't tow the car, they let him get a ride home and come back to her neighborhood later to retrieve it, prompting another unwanted confrontation.

She claims the original county detective assigned was overwhelmed and wouldn't work on the case, so she demanded somebody new take over.

But she says, at first, the city didn't do much better, citing messages not returned and resources not dedicated.

At one point, city officers, using McClellan's phone, called and threatened to throw her in jail for contacting him, something she denies responsibility for.

Dawn Hilyer: " I can't get a response for him, turning in all the emails, phone records, everything. But they called me to tell me that."

Hilyer also wrote in her log for March 20, 2008, that she'd called the prosecutor's office once a week for about four months with no calls back.

Jeff Neumeyer: " We offered Allen County Police and city police an opportunity to tell their side of the story, but they declined. However, the Allen County Prosecutor's office did respond."

Mike McAlexander/Chief Deputy Prosecutor: " It's a different kind of terror that she went through."

Chief Deputy Prosecutor Mike McAlexander says his office devoted many man-hours to investigating and preparing the complex case for trial, which earned convictions.

But he acknowledged that technology is changing the dynamics of crime-fighting.

McAlexander: " We try to keep up, the police agencies try to keep up, but it's a definite battle. This world is changing so rapidly that it's going to be difficult to keep up with it all the time."

Hilyer is grateful for city detective Lorrie Bandor, who was last to work on the case.

She also praises the two trial prosecutors for getting McClellan put away.

But she says it happened a few years too late.

She’s hopeful more resources dedicated to crimes like she experienced, could spare others needless misery.




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