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Jack Worel, a local businessman who was convicted in January of this year of a misdemeanor stalking charge, is seeking an appeal through the Los Alamos District Court.
In March, Worel was sentenced to a year of supervised probation with GPS monitoring for stalking a former cleaning service employee of his, a woman who was in her mid-20s at the time. Worel, who is in his 70s, apparently stalked her after he was convicted over an incident with the woman that earned him a simple battery charge.
That incident was cross-examined extensively in court. Worel said that he was just trying to show his victim, some defensive wrestling moves after he was concerned for her safety. She didn’t see it that way, and from there, according to Assistant District Attorney and prosecutor Kent Wahlquist, Worel’s stalking escalated shortly after she stopped working for him.
Things culminated in August of 2012, when he was caught outside the former De Colores Restaurant on East Road installing a GPS device on her car. The woman worked at De Colores as a waitress. It was revealed at the trial that the GPS device was actually on her car for weeks leading up to the incident. He was actually reinstalling the GPS after he downloaded information off of it when he was caught and arrested by police at De Colores.
During Worel’s first trial the emotional stakes were high on both sides, as Worel’s attorney made an emotional appeal to Los Alamos Magistrate Court Judge Pat Casados.
“Your honor, he has suffered greatly because of this… there is no nice way to say this, but we have a 70-year-old man who’s going to be labeled a stalker for the rest of his life. He’s already lost his biggest account, and we also think there’s going to be a lawsuit because of this,” Worel’s defense attorney, Chip Venie said. “He is now the sole employee in his business. If a jail sentence is imposed, he will most likely lose his business.”
But at Worel’s March sentencing, Wahlquist also reminded Casados why Worel’s victim was not in the courtroom.
“This was a case where she had to change what she was doing,” he said. “She was extremely afraid of the defendant and had to change the way she lived her life based on the defendant’s actions. She’s so afraid of him that she did not want to be here today.”
“I don’t think Mr. Worel should be placed in jail— I don’t think it rises to that level, but I do think that he should be held accountable for what he did to (the victim)”.
Besides being sentenced to year of supervised probation with GPS monitoring, Worel had to serve 20 hours of community service and pay $73 in court costs.
Worel’s appeal is due to take place at 10 a.m. Oct. 23 at Los Alamos District Court with Judge Sheri Raphaelson presiding.
Since Worel’s case is on appeals, the original charges against him have been suspended, pending the outcome of his hearing.