“Damaged people with nothing left to lose are your worst nightmare.” Camille Marino, Facebook, June 20, 2014
“Harassment is knowingly pursuing a pattern of conduct that is intended to annoy, seriously alarm or terrorize another person and that serves no lawful purpose. The conduct must be such that it would cause a reasonable person to suffer substantial emotional distress.” New Mexico. Stat. Ann. § 30-3A-2
Friends, Colleagues, and Supporters:
Some of you know already that for the last two years I have been in a personal, political, and now legal battle (more accurately referred to as a one-sided war of her against me) with my former friend, Camille Marino (see my recent interview about this conflict here).
This conflict began in July 2012, months after Marino sent a Michigan vivisector death threats in her own name and subsequently tried to pin the blame on me. As she boasted on her blog about her October 23, 2011 letter to a Wayne State University vivisector (Donal O’Leary), “I just finished sending off an email to this motherfucker [Donal O'Leary], wishing him a slow and painful death.” But privately, she phoned me and confessed, “Steve, I think I just did something really stupid.”
The operative word in both cases here is “I,” not “we.” The vivisector and police charged Marino in this matter, and the State of Michigan put Marino in a county jail for six months as a consequence. Since I did not send O’Leary any threats, whereas Marino has a long history of issuing threats to vivisectors from coast to coast, I was never even questioned regarding this matter. Nonetheless, throughout Marino’s trial, Marino and her attorney tried to shift the blame to me as the responsible party (despite her claiming she “took the fall” for me!).
This strategy failed in a huge way. On July 13 2012, a Michigan judge found Marino, and Marino alone, responsible for issuing death threats, harassment, aggravated stalking, and violating a restraining order against her. The judge further found that Marino’s speech and actions were not protected by the First Amendment (see State of Michigan, Plaintiff, vs. Camille Marino, Defendant, case no. 12-58800).
In early August, 2012, Marino called me, over a recorded prison phone system, and demanded that I appear as a witness for her in a Detroit courtroom. I declined to do so for various important reasons, not the least of which was refusing to be betrayed and set up by a coward running from the consequences of her actions. Yet to this day she blames me for events for which she and she alone is responsible.
Her bad faith blaming and hateful anger toward me became increasingly obsessive, abusive, hostile, and downright threatening in the most menacing ways, such as evoking my death in “puddles of blood,” such that that she can “taste [my] blood … and tears” and it “turns me on so fucking much” (Marino’s emails to me, August-October 2012). For the last two years, she has attacked every aspect of my professional and personal life. Although I tried to ignore her, the problem only escalated over time. (For a frightening true story of how a obsessed stalker — in this case, eerily like Marino — can uproot one’s life, see this 20/20 episode, parts one and two).
I provided documentation to the State of New Mexico of her threats and harassment, and I received a 14-year restraining order against her to leave me alone. Restraining orders are not given lightly and are reviewed by judges. Marino’s threats were so extreme that, in October 2012, the New Mexico court granted the maximum term available – 14 years protection against harassment and stalking.
In the following two years, Marino tried to avoid the black-letter of the restraining order by stalking, harassing, and slandering me in the most reprehensible ways but over the Internet. The order explicitly prohibits direct contact with me (such as phone calls or emails), but it also prohibits “abuse and threats of abuse” among other things. Some of the abuse I’ve suffered from her include her publishing pictures she took of me when I was in a depressed stage of life, pictures taken and distributed solely to humiliate and harm me. In two separate instances, I received detailed and chilling threats promising death and torture to me, my loved ones, and my cats. Marino’s innumerable offenses against me would take a massive book to describe (see my video interview about Marino’s stalking and harassment here).
Again, throughout this blitzkrieg of stalking and harassment, I resolved to remain silent and hoped that my silence would not fan the flames of her mental illness. Surely, I thought, Marino eventually would move on to other things, but she hasn’t. For example, Marino tried to get my recent talk about animal rights at the July 2014 AR2014 conference in LA canceled, and, after it was apparent that it would not be cancelled, she did everything she could to sabotage my appearance there (as she has done since 2012 at so many of my speaking events throughout the world).
Subsequently, I felt forced to hire a New Mexico attorney to help me get Marino out of my life by enforcing the restraining order against Marino and documenting her blatant violations of it and her systematic campaign of harassment and stalking against me.
On Sept. 16 2014, the Doña Ana County New Mexico court agreed that Marino was continuing illegal harassment and ordered her to stop (see the court order here). All the evidence brought to court was so severe that the court sentenced her to 179 days in jail, of which she would serve only 21 days if she removed everything from the Internet that she posted about me. She has been ordered to appear before the New Mexico court on October 31, 2014.
As part of her pathology, Marino is now claiming that I and the state of New Mexico are violating her free speech rights, which Marino interprets as being freedom to say false and hateful things about me, trying to get my professional talks canceled, threatening to “destroy” and “dispose” of me, contacting my university colleagues and administrators, etc., ad nauseum.
There were two recent cases of stalking, in California and New Jersey, where courts explicitly told the stalkers that the Internet is not a refuge to bully people. New Mexico is now implicitly saying the same thing: free speech is great, but bullying and harassment is still illegal. Despite her grandiose self-representations, she is not a “political prisoner”: there is nothing courageous, noble, or even “political” in the modus operandi of sending death threats to vivisectors and going to jail for reckless and senseless actions against vivisectors and former friends alike.
One can instructively compare her lies about her stalking and harassment with the text of the September 2014 court order and stern judgment against her.
Marino is now again begging for people to send her thousands of dollars more ($20, 000 to be exact!) so she can pay legal fees that would, she hopes, allow her to keep slandering, stalking, and harassing me, while seriously impeding the cause of animal liberation. She has begged for legal defense funds many times before over the last two years, receiving an ample amount of money and earning the ire of activists throughout the world who accused her of mishandling their donations and came to seriously rethink their opinion of Marino and the effectiveness of her campaigns.
Marino’s insistence to appeal the September 2014 decision against her, and to take her loss back to court for an indefinite period to come, means that I must also pay legal fees for an indefinite time to come, which is extremely difficult for me to afford. I have already spent many thousands of dollars to protect myself from her, and I just put the title to my car up as a lien for my attorney to be assured of more payments.
The tragedy of Marino’s vengeance is the public spectacle that she created (all for vivisectors and other exploiters to relish and mass circulate!), her lies and self-aggrandizement to gather a following, and her soliciting her following to pay her legal fees for no good purpose but to waste money much better spent on credible campaigns and organizations.
I lament that I am asking for donations too. I don’t have adequate funds to pay my attorney to defend my case, now that Marino has appealed the September 16th ruling against her. I would not ask you to help except that I don’t have a choice but to ask; Marino has drained me of many thousands of dollars and I need quite a few more to prevail against her throughout the appeal process. You can donate funds here.
I will be transparent with funds received and how they’re spent. If I receive more than I need to pay legal fees and costs, I’ll refund the surplus to anyone who asks for it in their donation. Please see this site for more information and to make donations.
Any help is much appreciated. Thank you sincerely,
Dr. Steve Best