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Father of Tacoma teacher killed by stalker calls for more action, education to protect victims

Ken Paulson's daughter, Jennifer, was murdered by a man who was stalking her in 2010. He pushed for a law in her honor and hopes for more protections in the future.

TACOMA, Wash. — For information on obtaining a Stalking Protection Order in Washington or connecting with other resources, click here.

Ken Paulson's life was forever changed by the loss of his daughter Jennifer. 

Jennifer Paulson was a beloved special education teacher whose life was taken by a man who stalked her in 2010. 

Ken Paulson petitioned for the passage of the Jennifer Paulson Stalking Protection Order Act in 2013 and says he'd like to see more done to protect people who are being stalked.

Ken Paulson hopes courts will begin providing people who are being stalked with criminal history information -- and until then, urges those impacted to look it up themselves.

"I looked up after the fact and you can do this search, easy as can be," Paulson said. "It was enough that, before the fact, I would have done something different. People need to know- before something happens. That's right when you feel like someone's stalking (you,) as soon as you know the name, do the search."

In the 2010 case, Jennifer Paulson had reported being stalked by someone she went to college with but had not known well. She filed for an anti-harassment order, which is all that was available before the stalking protection order. When the stalker violated the anti-harassment order, he was arrested and later released. 

Police say he waited outside of the school where she taught for her to arrive at work and shot her.

"They can be triggered. Now, it's become deadly in their head. If I can't have her, nobody can, that kind of thinking, and then that's it," Paulson said. "You don't know what they'll do, they'll do whatever they have to do, in their head, that's what they're thinking."

Paulson wants people who are being stalked -- and those who they share the information with -- to know how quickly things can escalate.

He says the Stalking Protection Order Act adds additional protections, including, in some cases, electronic monitoring but notes that it doesn't solve the problem.

"I don't think the order technically stops the stalker from doing what he's going to do, but if there's an ankle bracelet, people have the [tracker] on their phone, they can at least run," Paulson said. "If they didn't get that, don't think the order is going to prevent it, for someone who's over the edge."

He'd like to see laws like Washington's spread elsewhere and protections get even stronger here. Until then, he encourages people to look up the criminal history of someone believed to be stalking and report suspicious activity as soon as possible.


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