Shawn Johnson’s Alleged Stalker Arraigned
Man accused of trying to break into ‘Dancing with the Stars’ set
By Matthew B. Zeidman
The alleged stalker of Olympian Shawn Johnson, seen here on 'Dancing with the Stars,' was arraigned Thursday
LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Today) 3/26/09 – As an Olympic gold medalist and this summer’s “it” girl, 17-year-old gymnast Shawn Johnson has become used to her fans’ admiration, but a Florida man was accused Thursday of taking things too far outside the Los Angeles set of “Dancing with the Stars.”
Robert O’Ryan, 34, pled not guilty in Los Angeles Superior Court to one count of stalking, a felony, and two counts of carrying loaded firearms in his vehicle, misdemeanors. He is being represented by a public defender and held on $220,000 bail.
According to prosecutors, O’Ryan drove cross-country with a handgun and shotgun, a roll of duct tape and several love letters he had written Johnson. They accused him of attempting to climb the security fence at the studio where reality competition “Dancing with the Stars,” on which Johnson currently appears, was being taped Tuesday.
The court approved a restraining order against O’Ryan on Wednesday. According to a sworn statement by Johnson’s mother, he told police he was meant to impregnate the popular athlete and believed she was communicating with him telepathically.
At the age of 16, Johnson won one gold and three silver medals at this summer’s Olympic Games in Beijing. She and fellow gold medalist Nastia Liukin, then 18, were prominently featured members of Team USA during the competition and received several lucrative corporate endorsements upon their return to the United States, including spots as spokeswomen for CoverGirl makeup.
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