Andrews outside courthouse (AP/Damian Dovarganes)
Chicago businessman, Michael David Barrett, was sentenced to a 2 1/2 year prison term by a Los Angeles federal court judge for the stalking and secret videotaping of ESPN reporter Erin Andrews. Barrett, who used his cell phone to record nude video of Andrews through hotel peepholes, also posted the illegal videos on the Internet. The judge also ordered Barrett to pay restitution of over $7000.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Barrett pleaded guilty to various charges related to the stalking and videotaping of Andrews. He followed the reporter to various hotel rooms in three different states. After shooting unauthorized footage of Andrews through hotel room peepholes, Barrett tried to sell the footage to celebrity news outlet TMZ.com. Back in December, Erin Andrews was allowed to address the court on the charges against her stalker saying "He stalked me in a calculated way. I've been humiliated. I've been embarrassed and my career has been ripped apart."
Andrews after sentencing (AP/Damian Dovarganes)
During the sentencing hearing, Michael Barrett tearfully apologized for the pain he caused Erin Andrews. But his words could not undo the lasting damage that Andrews continues to endure. According to the Associated Press, Andrews responded to Barrett by saying "You violated me and you violated all women. You are a sexual predator, a sexual deviant and they should lock you up."
The federal judge in the case, Manuel Real, acknowledged the enduring pain Erin Andrews continues to suffer as a result of Barrett's actions. "The victim, Andrews, will be suffering from this problem for the rest of her life," he said to the court. Indeed, the videos posted on the Internet of a nude Erin Andrews can not been completely removed.
As for Barrett, he will also have to endure the pain brought on by his actions. After serving his jail sentence, he will be on supervised probation for 3 years and he may not stay in a hotel without permission from his probation officer. There may also be more criminal charges for Barrett. Although the federal prosecutors are done with him, state criminal officials are looking into other illegal videos Barrett shot of unsuspecting nude women through peep holes. In addition to his restitution payments, Barrett also owes over $5,000 in fines and may end up owing more restitution money to ESPN.
Erin and DWTS partner Maksim (AP/Wesley Broome)
Although Erin Andrews continues to cope with the awful ordeal Barrett has put her through, she continues to work as an ESPN reporter. She is also entering a new and exciting phase in her life as a celebrity contestant on ABC's Dancing with The Stars. She has been paired with dancer Maksim Chmerkovskiy, the tallest dancer in the competition.
Stalking is a serious crime and should not be taken lightly. Women need to know their rights and be prepared to involve authorities if they feel they are being stalked. The state of Michigan has strict stalking laws in place to help protect you and guard your safety. If you are a metro Detroit resident and feel that you are being stalked, do not hesitate to call local authorities.