BALTIMORE – Speaking out Monday on the “Today” show, a woman recounted the online harassment and threats that led her to file a criminal harassment charge against Jarrod W. Ramos.
The woman says she was terrified for years that Ramos would “show up anywhere, at any time, and kill me.”
Her interview aired just days after Ramos allegedly massacred five employees at the Capital – which ran an article in 2011 about his harassment charge, setting off a yearslong feud between Ramos and the Annapolis newspaper.
The woman, whose full identity was withheld out of safety concerns, said she was hit with a wave of panic when she heard about last week’s shooting in the newspaper office.
She thought it might be Ramos.
“He is very cold,” she said. “He is very calculated.”
Ramos is charged in the killings of editor and columnist Rob Hiaasen, 59; Wendi Winters, 65, a community correspondent who led special publications; editorial page editor Gerald Fischman, 61; editor and sports writer John McNamara, 56; and Rebecca Smith, 34, a recently hired sales assistant.
The woman described Ramos’ violent tendencies as emerging much earlier.
Beginning in late 2009 or early 2010, Ramos contacted the woman for the first time via email, and thanked her for being “the only person that was ever nice, or said hello to him in high school,” according to a statement she wrote in January 2011 when she applied with the Anne Arundel District Court to get Ramos charged with harassment.
He started off by asking if she remembered him from high school, she said on the “Today” show. They attended Arundel High School.
“I replied to him nicely that I did not,” she said.
After some initial communications, Ramos turned “hateful, nasty, and vulgar,” the woman said. When the woman didn’t respond fast enough, she said, he turned threatening, she said.
“He said, ‘(Expletive) you, go kill yourself. You’re gonna need a protective order,’” the woman recalled.
She says she got police involved but the abuse continued.
“I have been tormented and traumatized and terrorized for so long that it has, I think, changed the fiber of my being,” she said.
In 2011, Ramos pleaded guilty to one count of harassment and received a 90-day suspended sentence and 18 months of supervised probation. He was required to stay away from her and her family and to get evaluated for psychiatric or psychological treatment.
However, the woman wrote in court filings that Ramos continued to harass her and sent her a threatening letter. She obtained two more restraining orders against him in 2012 and 2013, according to court records. The last order lasted until March 5, 2014.
Brennan McCarthy, an Annapolis lawyer who represented the woman, said recently that he watched as Ramos harassed his client for years. The woman did not respond to requests for an interview with the Capital.
“I could see from his writings that he was a very close step away from doing something horrific,” McCarthy says.
The woman lost her job because of his harassment, she stated in court records, and eventually moved out of state. Now that he’s been arrested, she said she feels more empowered to speak out.
“One thing that I do feel now,” she said, “is that he can no longer silence me.”
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