Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Stalker on the 11 O'Clock News

One of the dirty little secrets of the TV news business is the proliferation of stalkers that constantly harass many of the nation's high profile news anchors.

Female anchors are favorite targets of lonely men, who sometimes become so enamored with the anchor babe on the 11 o'clock news, that they start writing letters and in some cases try to call them at work.

A female news anchor for an international Spanish language network once told me that she received dozens of letters a week from prisoners.

Most anchors reluctantly accept this as part of the business and have developed ways of dealing with it, making sure fans don't get too friendly.

But one Philadelphia anchor recently discovered, to her horror, that she was sitting just feet away from one of her most dogged and unbalanced stalkers.

I wrote about the strange case of KYW-TV (Philadelphia) anchor Alycia Lane (formerly of NBC6 Miami) who learned back in June of this year that her co-anchor, Larry Mendte, had been logging into her private e-mail accounts and reading it and in some cases divulging her private matters to a newspaper reporter.

Yesterday, Mendte, a one-time comedian, learned that federal prosecutors - who aren't known for their sense of humor - will probably charge him for hacking into Lane's e-mail.

In a 24-page complaint the government alleges that Mendte accessed Lane's e-mail 537 times over a span of 146 days. Sometimes Mendte checked her e-mail from his home, once at 4:30 in the morning. Clearly a man obsessed.

On several occasions after reading her e-mail he called a reporter at a Philadelphia newspaper and revealed details about Lane's legal problems. And then days later detailed stories about Lane would appear in the paper.

Mendte could get 5 years in the slammer for his late night computer escapades.

Stay tuned.

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