Internet romance plunges into verbal torture, threats


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A Manitoba woman endured weeks of "verbal torture" at the hands of a man she met online who refused to accept their brief relationship was over.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 09/04/2011 (4262 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

A Manitoba woman endured weeks of “verbal torture” at the hands of a man she met online who refused to accept their brief relationship was over.

Details of the Internet romance gone wrong were revealed Friday when the accused, James Oliver, pleaded guilty to criminal harassment. He was sentenced to four months of time spent in custody and three years of supervised probation.

Oliver, 46, admitted to sending dozens of vile emails and text messages to the woman last year, despite her repeated pleas for him to leave her alone. Many of them included profane insults of the woman, who had earlier told Oliver she was sexually assaulted by an uncle when she was just six years old, court was told.

“The content of these messages is particularly disturbing,” said Crown attorney Sheila Seesahai. “It goes without saying this was a traumatic event in her childhood.”

Seesahai read several excerpts from the emails, which were turned over to police when the woman contacted them last December.

“You’re a disgusting slut. Why would I come near someone who lost their virginity at the age of six?” the man wrote in one.

Said Seesahai: “They are virtually all extremely graphic. This was verbal torture.”

Provincial court Judge Wanda Garreck told Oliver he’s lucky he’s not looking at a much longer sentence.

“Disgusting, disturbing, graphic. All of these words come to mind,” said Garreck. “Knowing her background, I can only imagine the impact those would have had on her.”

The couple began dating shortly after they met online in May 2010, court was told. But trouble began later in the summer, resulting in the woman going to police on three different occasions with questions about possibly obtaining a restraining order. No court documents were ever filed and the relationship resumed, at least temporarily.

Police got involved in a criminal investigation after learning Oliver had left a series of voice messages that implied violence and suggested he may break into her home. The deluge of emails and text messages followed in the days ahead.

“We are over, you need to move on without me. Leave me alone. This is the last time I’m asking. No more contact. I mean it,” she pleaded in one of several emails read aloud in court Friday. Oliver continued to ignore her, only becoming more desperate and graphic in his communication.

“You better hope you don’t run into me,” Oliver said in early December, just prior to his arrest. “You’re a joke, you better stay clear of me.”

Defence lawyer John Corona said his client was acting on emotion and regrets his actions. He has spent the past four months at Milner Ridge Correctional Centre and is anxious to move on with his life and resume his career as a trucker, court was told.

“He clearly wants nothing to do with this woman. He feels terrible for the level of anger and abuse he was communicating,” said Corona.

Oliver’s probation includes anger-management counselling and a no-contact order with the woman. Any breaches would result in new charges and a lengthy stay behind bars, the judge warned him.

Mike McIntyre

Mike McIntyre
Sports columnist

Mike McIntyre grew up wanting to be a professional wrestler. But when that dream fizzled, he put all his brawn into becoming a professional writer.

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