I Broke The Jennifer Garner Stalking Story

Read my initial report here.

Pops emails: "So, Sunny Jim, I see you crowing like a fair-dinkum jackdaw that you "broke" the Jennifer Garner story. That’s a big stretch, boy. You troll public records, copy and paste the info and that’s "breaking" a story? The only breaking that’s going to happen now, lad, is when I track you down to break your spine with an ax handle and leave you paralyzed on a fair-dinkum termite hill. That’s what happens to braggarts and liars in my world, son."

The New York Daily News writes:

Hollywood sweetheart Jennifer Garner is living in mortal fear of a mental patient who has stalked her across the country to share his delusional visions.

The pregnant "Alias" anti-diva is so terrified she got a court order against tormentor Steven Burky, who sources said is now in a psych ward.

"Mr. Burky’s repeated efforts to contact me, his delusional and paranoid letters, his appearance at my private residence, and his recent claims that I will be ‘persecuted’ in a manner that may result in my death are all extremely frightening," she wrote in court papers.

"I now fear not only for my own personal safety, but also for the safety and well being of those I love and care most about, including my husband and my daughter," wrote Garner of her 2-year-old, Violet, and actor hubby Ben Affleck.

"Also, I am currently pregnant and fear for the safety of my second child once born."

Burky, 36, is a born-again Christian who believes he was the victim of satanic abuse rituals as a child in Pennsylvania, according to his blog.

"He does have a mental disorder. He’s supposed to be taking medication," his aunt, Maxine Burky, told the Daily News.

Burky has been stalking Garner, 33, since 2002 when he posed as a college student and then a punk rocker to meet her at a college in Ohio and record store in Los Angeles.

Miles Corwin writes for Los Angeles magazine:

Her friends meant no harm. They decided to throw a birthday party for her at a Hollywood club and posted details and photographs on a Web site. A man trolling for attractive women spotted her picture. He located her MySpace page and discovered that she hosted a satellite radio show. Posing as an entertainment agent, he claimed to be a friend of a well-known Hollywood photographer. The photographer, the man said, wanted her to model for him and needed her phone number. As it happened, the woman knew the photographer. She also knew that he already had her number. She e-mailed back: Just tell him to call. Thwarted, the man responded, “Tell him yourself, bitch.” He began e-mailing threats. “I want to send someone to blow up your house.” “I want to cut you up and drink your blood.” “I will kill you.”

The woman, whose radio name is Tina Divina, ignored him, hoping he would go away. “But this guy was like a virus,” she says. “He got a list of my friends and started contacting them, asking for my number and address. When they blocked him, he started sending them threatening messages. After a while, he found out where they worked and showed up at their jobs. Now I’m really scared because instead of these anonymous e-mails, he’s taking action. I’ve got a young daughter. What if he goes to her school?”

She contacted the Los Angeles Police Department. Officers steered her to its Threat Management Unit, the first law enforcement division in the country created to combat stalking. Los Angeles is the stalking capital of the world. The Threat Management Unit—or TMU—handles about 250 cases a year, up by more than 40 percent since 2003. The TMU’s walls are lined with posters from movies with stalking themes, such as Fatal Attraction, The Fan, Paparazzi, and Swimfan. Based in a nondescript downtown office building, the unit has grown to nine detectives, including its leader, Jeff Dunn, a 24-year LAPD veteran with a diplomatic manner. Celebrities are only about 10 percent of the TMU caseload. Most victims are women who have problems with ex-boyfriends or ex-husbands; unlike celebrities, these women cannot afford bodyguards. About a fifth of the TMU’s investigations involve gay stalkers.

The Internet has made life harder for victims such as Tina Divina, and in turn for the TMU. “Before, in some cases, the obsession might have been there, but the contact wasn’t,” Dunn says. “The Internet has increased the opportunity for suspects to make contact with victims and made it easier to dig up personal information on victims.”

Many cyberstalkers, including the man tormenting Divina, believe they can remain anonymous. When her case came in last year, Dunn assigned detectives, including Jim Hoffman, to investigate. For stalking to be a crime, California law says there must be a “credible threat to place [a] person in reasonable fear for his or her safety.” The detectives know that some women who are harassed can be in jeopardy even though nothing illegal has occurred. When stalkers turn violent, it is too late. Divina was fortunate because Hoffman could show that her stalker had committed a crime; he had threatened her and several of her friends.


“He has now shown up at my private residence and has repeatedly expressed his belief that God has sent him a vision of me being ‘persecuted’ in some manner that might result in my death,” her statement continued.

Garner said she fears “not only for my personal safety, but also for the safety and well being of those that I love and care about most, including my husband and my daughter.

“Also, I am currently pregnant and fear for the safety of my second child once born. I have suffered, and continue to suffer, substantial emotional distress as a result of Mr. Burky’s behavior.”

On Nov. 7, a judge issued the temporary restraining order, requiring the 6-foot-1, 145-pound man to stay at least 100 yards away from the star and not contact Garner, her husband, Ben Affleck, or her daughter Violet Affleck.

In issuing the restraining order, the judge deemed there was a “credible threat of violence.”

In the request for the permanent restraining order, Dennis Bridwell of Galabad Protective Services, who was hired by Garner, claims the man’s behavior toward the star has “escalated to such a degree,” that he believes, “Mr. Burky poses and immediate threat to Ms. Garner’s and Mr. Affleck’s personal and bodily security.”

Bridewell claimed his concerns for Garner and her family’s safety increased when he read Burky’s alleged online blogs, in which the man claimed he was involved in satanic rituals as a child, and allegedly “envisioned himself a participant in the murder of a young, Christian woman.”

In fact, in an online blog, which Burky allegedly placed on the Internet, he claims to have been sexually abused as a child and to have uncovered repressed childhood memories of being involved in satanic rituals as a youth.

“For the next 5 years, from 2000 until 2005, I continued to unrepress more and more abuse memories, many extremely evil and unhappy,” Burky allegedly wrote in an online journal in 2006. “Some memories indicate I allowed demons to come into me when I was about 2 years old, locked in a basement being punished.”

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see Amazon.com). My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (Alexander90210.com).
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