ANCHORAGE — A restraining order against a 19-year-old Pennsylvania man accused of stalking Sarah Palin has been extended for six months, following testimony from the 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee that she feared for the safety of herself, her family and friends.
Palin testified by phone that she believed Shawn Christy of McAdoo was sending out a clear signal when he made a one-day visit to Alaska on her birthday in February. She also said she feared Christy’s parents because of their contentions that she had a sexting relationship with the teen in 2009.
“I believe when he traveled to Alaska on my birthday, he did that so he could prove that he had the means to do so,” she said. “I believe that his and his parents’ repeated contact with those close to me to get me to respond to their false and very, very bizarre allegations constitutes a — obviously, a problem — on their end.”
At Monday’s hearing, however, a court magistrate denied requests for protective orders against Shawn Christy filed by Palin’s father, Chuck Heath, and her friend, Kristan Cole, saying the two failed to take part in Monday’s hearing. Palin’s attorney, John Tiemessen, said Heath might be on a bear hunt in Southeast Alaska and Cole was traveling by plane.
Magistrate Jonathon Lack denied a protective-order request by Cole against Christy’s father, Craig, for the same reason. Lack denied Cole’s request for a protective order against Shawn Christy’s mother, Karen Christy, last month. But he told the Christy family Monday that any further contact with Heath or Cole could lead to a restraining order.
Lack also issued a restraining order for Palin against Craig Christy, which includes protection for Palin’s parents and Cole. Palin’s protective order against Shawn Christy protects her parents and Cole as well.
Craig Christy was accused of leaving multiple harassing telephone messages for Palin’s parents and contacting Cole’s children on Facebook.
Palin and Cole obtained original restraining orders against Shawn Christy last year, saying he threatened them, sent a receipt for a gun purchase and said he was buying a one-way ticket to Alaska.
The Christys, who do not have an attorney, also participated in Monday’s hearing by phone.
Lack gave each of them an opportunity to question Palin. Shawn Christy asked Palin if she was aware of threats to her and emails he made to her when she was governor, to which Palin replied that was the job of the governor’s security detail. Christy has said the threats were “stupid pranks” to get attention. He said his life is difficult because he deals with complications from Lyme disease.
Christy 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.
Christy said someone purporting to be a 15-year-old girl started texting him after he began sending these messages. He said he thought the texter was either law enforcement or Palin. His parents believe it was Palin, which set off the numerous phone calls to Palin’s parents, according to court documents.
Karen Christy said in court Monday that all the family ever wanted was for Palin to talk to them about their beliefs about the texting. If it wasn’t her, she could tell them, Karen Christy said, then asked Palin why she never responded.
“I will not reward that kind of behavior and encourage that kind of behavior,” Palin said. “That kind of behavior is dangerous.”
When Lack issued his decisions, both Shawn and Craig Christy attempted to perform a citizen’s arrest of the magistrate. Craig Christy said Lack should be excused from the proceedings since he was appointed by then presiding Judge Morgan Christen, whom Palin later appointed to the state Supreme Court.
Unfazed, Lack invited the Christys to file a complaint with the presiding judge.
After the hearing, Tiemessen said the Christys have made it clear that “absent an order like this,” they would not stop contacting the Palins or those close to them.
“As they’re repeatedly said, ‘Why haven’t you told us to stop?’ Well, today, I think in pretty clear language, the court told them to stop,” Tiemessen said.
In a telephone interview later Monday, Karen Christy told The Associated Press her “biggest amazement” is that her son has not contacted any of the petitioners since the first restraining order was issued. She also said that if her family was perceived as such a threat, why were Heath and Cole no-shows?
Still, her family plans to steer clear of Palin and her circle.
“We’re not going to contact those people anymore,” she said.