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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Woman, 38, arrested on stalking charge

Spokane Police Detective Stephanie Barkley, center, takes Paula Reynolds-Eblacas into custody on a felony charge of stalking Thursday at the Spokane Public Safety Building. 
 (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
Thomas Clouse Staff writer

A 38-year-old woman, who sometimes grows a full beard as a symbol of her activism for human rights, was arrested Thursday and charged with felony stalking of another woman.

Paula K. Reynolds-Eblacas turned herself in at about 4 p.m. in connection with a case in which the other woman alleges that she tried to break off a friendship with Reynolds-Eblacas three years ago and has since been inundated with phone calls, e-mails, cards, flowers and candy.

Angela Friedrich, 28, said she filed numerous police reports before authorities would seriously consider her fear. As a result, the single mother of three girls said she refuses to take out her garbage at night, avoids driving down streets where she has seen Reynolds-Eblacas’ car, carries pepper spray, and won’t allow her children to ever answer the telephone or door.

“I don’t think it’s fair at all that the anti-harassment laws aren’t nearly as strong as domestic violence laws,” Friedrich said in an interview Thursday. “I understand that acquaintance stalking doesn’t happen very often, but it isn’t any less scary.”

Reynolds-Eblacas described herself as either transgendered or intersex, meaning that she considers herself between male and female. She does not take hormones, she said, and is not seeking an operation to become a man.

“My side of the story is, there are a lot of people who are lying,” she said, referring to her arrest. “I expect by the time this is all over, that I will be exonerated.”

Spokane Police Detective Stephanie Barkley on Wednesday filed an arrest warrant for Reynolds-Eblacas, who admitted late last year that she had violated a permanent civil anti-harassment order when she called Friedrich several times on Dec. 18.

“I’m going to prove that you are a homophobic liar,” Reynolds-Eblacas said during a recorded phone message that night to Friedrich’s home, according to court records. “You will end up in a very bad situation. I feel sorry for your children because you are their mother. This nightmare will not end.”

As Barkley prepared the felony arrest warrant, she called Reynolds-Eblacas to inform her of the pending charge.

“The defendant admitted repeatedly calling and e-mailing the victim, insisting the intent was not to harass, but to make the victim admit she had perjured herself in court,” Barkley wrote in court documents. “The defendant telephoned the detective several times and left at least two very long voice mails, blaming the victim for the situation.”

In an interview with a reporter Thursday, Reynolds-Eblacas acknowledged making the “angry calls” in December. “Everything else alleged against me is a lie.”

The discord began in June 2002 when Friedrich and Reynolds-Eblacas had a brief friendship outside of their work as AmeriCorps volunteers. Friedrich said the relationship was never romantic.

“She hit on me once and I told her it was not my thing but I would be more than happy to be your friend,” Friedrich said.

The friendship deteriorated when Reynolds-Eblacas became possessive and demanding, Friedrich said.

“At one point, I told her, ‘I can’t give you what you need in a friendship,’ ” Friedrich said. “I work full time. I have three kids and she wanted a lot of my time. Then she started calling and kept calling.”

In July 2002, court documents state, Friedrich received multiple phone calls and recorded messages from Reynolds-Eblacas, who would chastise her for not placing enough value on their friendship.

Then in July 2003, Friedrich posted a request for volunteers to join the board of Voices for Opportunity, Income, Childcare, Education and Support. Reynolds-Eblacas responded and requested to join the board.

Friedrich told other board members that she would not interfere with Reynolds-Eblacas’ aspirations to join the board, but Friedrich said she would resign if the appointment was made. “No personal details were shared nor requested,” Barkley wrote.

Reynolds-Eblacas, who did not get appointed to the board, then began a campaign of sending lengthy e-mails to Friedrich and other VOICES board members, “accusing them of libel, disenfranchisement, and homophobia because the victim discussed concerns with board members regarding the defendant’s repeated contacts and attempts to contact,” Barkley wrote in her report.

Friedrich refused to respond to any of Reynolds-Eblacas’ e-mails, phone calls or letters, Barkley wrote.

Then on Aug. 25, 2003, Reynolds-Eblacas left a message on Friedrich’s answering machine “stating she would take legal action if the victim did not speak with her,” Barkley wrote. “The threats included a lawsuit against the victim for slander and the board of VOICES for failure to protect the defendant.”

Two days later, Friedrich filed a civil anti-harassment protection order. Court Commissioner Virginia Rockwood dismissed the order, saying Friedrich could re-file the petition if Reynolds-Eblacas again initiated contact, according to court records.

On June 7, 2004, Friedrich filed for another protection order after receiving a series of e-mails and finding flowers on her car, and candy, letters and cards at her home.

At a hearing to discuss the protection order, Reynolds-Eblacas submitted a 75-page declaration, including a 12-page document challenging each of Friedrich’s assertions.

“In the declaration, the defendant admitted contacting and communicating with the victim after the victim asked to be left alone,” court records state. “The defendant justified these contacts by stating she was trying to mend the friendship, heal the pain and ‘End the libel, harassment and discrimination …’ “

Court Commissioner Robert Seines granted Friedrich a permanent civil anti-harassment order on June 30, 2004. Reynolds-Eblacas signed that order in open court, Barkley wrote.

“Basically, the order was put on me because of Seines’ bias and incompetence,” Reynolds-Eblacas said in an interview Thursday.

Reynolds-Eblacas contacted Friedrich three more times. Then, on Oct. 7 of last year, Friedrich called 911 after attending a candidates forum at Salem Lutheran Church and seeing Reynolds-Eblacas sitting in her van by the parking lot, Barkley wrote. “The defendant began yelling at the victim and other people who were present,” Barkley said in her report.

Reynolds-Eblacas then got into a car with another woman and left before police arrived, the report states. But inside her van, which was left at the scene, were signs that read, “Lying is a sin, Perjury is a felony, VOICES = hate,” and “Love is not a sin. Queers were here.”

The contacts continued throughout the fall, including a package sent to Friedrich’s children, voice mails, calls to Friedrich’s workplace and then the series of calls to her home on Dec. 18.

“Why are you trying to hurt me and my child?” Reynolds-Eblacas asked on a taped message cited in court papers. “You think you don’t want me around. You’re gonna go to hell when you die. You perjured yourself in court three times. All you do is hurt other people.”

Spokane Police officer John Arredondo responded to Friedrich’s home and was present and answered the phone when Reynolds-Eblacas made some of the calls.

“After listening for a short time, he told the defendant he was a Spokane Police officer and advised the defendant that she was violating a protective order,” Barkley wrote. “The defendant told him, ‘You’re not an officer. You’re just one of her friends.’ “

Arredondo again told Reynolds-Eblacas that he was in fact a police officer “to which the defendant replied, ‘If you are an officer, come over and arrest me,’ ” Barkley wrote.

The officer said he would do just that and asked Reynolds-Eblacas where she was located. She replied, “It’s your job to find me” and hung up, Barkley wrote.

Arredondo then drove to Reynolds-Eblacas’ home at 2130 E. Seventh and knocked on her door. No one answered.

Friedrich said she doesn’t know how the arrest of Reynolds-Eblacas will change the situation.

“I was hopeful the restraining order would take care of it,” Friedrich said. “Three years ago, I was hopeful that just telling her to leave me alone would take care of it. I have limited hope when it comes to that. I really don’t know what will stop her.”