Edmonton woman targeted in Plenty of Fish harassment case 'paranoid' after release of accused

An Edmonton man accused of using a series of fake dating profiles to send strange men to his ex-girlfriend's apartment for sexual encounters is facing criminal charges.

'I'm right back to watching over my shoulder every minute of the day'

An Edmonton man is facing harassment charges in connection with a series of fake Plenty of Fish accounts. (Shutterstock)

An Edmonton man accused of using a series of fake dating profiles to send strange men to his ex-girlfriend's apartment for sexual encounters is facing criminal charges.

But the woman is terrified her ex-boyfriend will strike again because he has been released, she told CBC, which agreed not to use her name.

"I got a phone call from police saying he was arrested so I had one good night's sleep," said the young mother of two. "But then they told me he had been released on a promise to obey conditions.

"And so I'm right back to watching over my shoulder every minute of the day."

The woman said she had more than 30 men show up at her apartment in a week, and they expected to have sex.

The woman said she believes her ex-boyfriend set up a series of fake dating profiles under her name on the Plenty of Fish dating site, encouraging men to arrive at the apartment for late-night sexual encounters.

Her former partner was arrested by Edmonton police cyber crimes unit investigators last Friday, a week after CBC first published her story.

The accused is charged with breach of conditions, breach of an emergency protection order, mischief and criminal harassment. But he was released pending his next court appearance.

A police spokesperson confirmed that charges had been laid, but was unable to comment further on the investigation.

'I just couldn't take it anymore'

The woman, 30, said her ex-boyfriend was abusive and controlling throughout their four-year relationship. She took out an emergency restraining order shortly after she broke up with him in late April.

But when those documents were served by the court, her former partner was notified of her new address in the Capilano neighbourhood and the harassment began.

"He's been known to harass people that rub him the wrong way. I saw him do it to other people when I was with him, so I expected it but just not to this extent," said the woman. 

"I just couldn't take it anymore."

None of the men gained entry to her building. But the unwelcome visitors became so unbearable that the woman has moved to a new apartment.

She will make a special request to keep her new home address from any further court records that the accused may have access to.

"But the place I work at has marked cars, so he could easily find me and follow me that way," she said.

"I'm very concerned," the woman added, suggesting she doesn't "believe for a second" the man will follow his release conditions. 

'I'm very paranoid'

Since the series of unwelcome visits, the woman remains distressed and now avoids going outside. Even a short walk with her children down a busy street can put her on edge, she said.

"I just assume that every man that comes down the street is going to come to my door, so I'm very paranoid but none of them have actually come to the door," she said.

After multiple requests from the woman and CBC Edmonton, Plenty of Fish removed a series of fake profiles that had been set up in the victim's name and banned the user who was responsible.

The Vancouver-based dating website says it does have a strict anti-harassment policy. A company spokesperson encouraged victims to report any abusive accounts immediately so they can be culled from the dating forum.

The woman encourages anyone coping with similar harassment to be persistent in dealing with police and the websites responsible.

"Just keep pushing because if you only call once they don't take you seriously," she warned. "And If they continue not to take you seriously, go to the media, because as soon as I went public, I was getting calls from police and emails from Plenty of Fish after days of nothing."