ANCHORAGE, ALASKA (AP) - The family of a 19-year-old man accused of stalking Sarah Palin is alleging harassment by a Pennsylvania state trooper in connection with the former Alaska governor and 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate.
A private criminal complaint filed this week in Tamaqua, Pa., says trooper Thomas Powell showed up at Shawn Christy’s McAdoo, Pa., home last week and asked the teen if he was planning to attend a book signing featuring Palin and her daughter Bristol at the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn. The complaint says Powell told Christy, “You would never go to Minnesota, would you?”
The family said the visit occurred shortly before the event was to start and after Christy called mall security, indicating he might attend. He did not go.
An Alaska state magistrate recently extended a restraining order for Palin against Christy and issued one against his father, Craig Christy, who was accused of barraging Palin’s parents with antagonizing telephone messages. Under the orders, which also cover Palin family members, the Christys can attend and protest Palin events, but must stay 1,000 feet from her.
That’s an order the Christys have honored, according to Shawn Christy’s mother. The Christys do not have an attorney.
“I want people to stop harassing us for crimes we have not committed,” Karen Christy said. “If this did not involve a person by the name of Sarah Palin, if this was an ordinary person, a Jane Doe out there, would she be getting the same type of protection?”
Powell’s visit to the Christy home was done at the request of Bloomington police, who wanted Pennsylvania authorities to see whether Shawn Christy was there, according to Pennsylvania trooper David Beohm, an agency spokesman. He said the teen was home, but Craig Christy became upset by the visit, and later called Powell’s station in Frackville to complain.
Palin _ a possible presidential candidate _ and her friend, Kristan Cole, originally obtained restraining orders against Shawn Christy last year, stating in court documents that he threatened them, sent a receipt for a gun purchase and said he was buying a one-way ticket to Alaska. This year, Christy flew to Alaska on Palin’s February birthday, spending just one day in Anchorage _ about 40 miles from Palin’s hometown of Wasilla _ before returning to Pennsylvania. Authorities monitored the visit.
Shawn Christy recently filed a request to dissolve his restraining order. His father also plans to file a request, Karen Christy said.
Palin’s attorney, John Tiemessen, declined to comment on the request.
Shawn Christy has said the threats were “stupid pranks” and that he deals with complications from Lyme disease.
He also has acknowledged sending threatening messages in 2009 to President Barack Obama, and to Republican Sen. John McCain, who chose Palin as his running mate in the presidential race the previous year. Christy was apprehended by authorities in Washington, D.C., two years ago. At the request of the Secret Service, he underwent a psychiatric evaluation, which concluded Christy had a sense of grandiosity that “could turn somewhat paranoid,” according to court papers.