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Strong v. Gary

Case No. 2022-CA-0219-ME

Kenton Circuit Court

Decided by Thompson, chief Judge, Easton and Karem Judges.

Opinion by Karem, Judge

Date Rendered: July 28, 2023

Issue: Whether the Family Court erred in dismissing an IPO Petition for failure to prove stalking by a preponderance of the evidence

Strong filed a petition for an IPO against Gary alleging Gary came to his residence uninvited and threw a brick through his window. The Petition further alleged that Gary knocked on Strong’s door again the a couple of days later. The circuit court dismissed Strong’s petition, finding that Gary’s acts did not rise to the level of stalking under Kentucky law. Strong appealed.

Under Kentucky law, a person is guilty of stalking (1)  if he or she makes an explicit or implicit threat with the intent to place another person in reasonable fear of sexual contact, physical injury, or death, and (2) engages in a course of two or more harassing, annoying, alarming or intimidating acts which serve no legitimate purpose and which would cause a reasonable person to suffer substantial mental distress.

The Court of Appeals held that the elements of stalking under Kentucky law were not satisfied and affirmed the Circuit Court’s dismissal of Strong’s IPO petition. The Court reasoned that the only proof Strong provided about the second alleged stalking incident was that Gary knocked on his door. No proof was provided that Gary did so with the intent to threaten Strong, or that such an action would cause a reasonable person to suffer substantial emotional distress.

Digested by Emily T. Cecconi