On Monday, Erin Andrews, ESPN game sideline reporter, won the first round of her legal battle against Michael David Barrett, the man who stalked and videotaped her unclad through hotel peepholes. Michael Barrett then tried unsuccessfully to sell the cell phone video of Ms. Andrews to TMZ, who then uploaded the video onto the Internet. U. S. District Judge Manuel Real sentenced Barrett to 2 ½ years in federal prison, after admonishing him for the life changing ordeal he had caused Ms. Andrews to endure.
But the sentencing may be just the beginning of retributive salvos Barrett will face in the future.
Ms. Andrews’ lawyer, Marshall Grossman, stated more charges may be filed in other districts by other women Barrett allegedly stalked. Sentencing documents filed in February stated Barrett uploaded videos of 16 other women to an online account. So, hopefully further prosecution is in Michael Barrett’s future, which will provide some consolation for Ms. Andrews in spite of the light sentence meted out to him in her case.
When Ms. Andrews was originally identified as the woman in the online video, a surprising number of women were of the opinion that Ms. Andrews was to blame for being stalked by a predator. The most notable female showing little empathy for the plight of Ms. Andrews was USA Today sports writer, Christine Brennan, who said “If you trade off your sex appeal, if you trade off your looks, eventually you’re going to lose those.” She also said on the sports radio show 850 “The Buzz,” “She doesn’t deserve what happened to her but part of the shtick, seems to me, is being a little bit out there in a way that then you are encouraging the complete nutcase to drill a hole in a room.” “I want to make that crystal clear. But she’s got to be smarter.” Christine later tweeted that “women sports journalists need to be smart and not play to the frat house.” Perhaps Ms. Brennan should have been one of the witnesses for the defense with such opinions.
Barrett’s attorney in an audacious attempt to elicit sympathy for his client stated, Barrett had lost his career, his fiancée and his life savings. He went on to say, “There’s the public humiliation he suffered and yes, he brought that on himself.”
Ms. Andrews said in reply, “He says he’s suffering public humiliation? I’m suffering public humiliation,” and she went on to say that her body is on display on the Internet, where Barrett’s video clips have been posted and have made her a victim day after day. This will never be over for me.”
Ms. Andrews says she plans to raise awareness about privacy rules at hotels. Michael Barrett was able to reserve a room next to Ms. Andrews upon request, at the Nashville Marriott at Vanderbilt University as referenced in computer records: “GST RQST TO RM NXT TO
Erin Andrews has shown remarkable stamina under public ridicule, and assigned blame for the actions of someone else; someone with a criminally deviant mind with no regard for anyone other than satisfying his perverted and avaricious desires.
Erin Andrews is an example of courage under fire, and for standing up for one’s rights. All the best in the future Ms. Andrews, all the best.