Woman accused of harassing neighbors can't go home
WHITE BEAR LAKE, Minn. (AP) — A White Bear Lake woman accused of harassing her neighbors for years was barred from her home Tuesday until a judge determines whether she has violated terms of her probation.
Lori Christensen, 49, was charged last week with two counts of aggravated stalking for allegedly videotaping her neighbors and calling authorities to say their home had suspected code violations.
The incidents are the latest in what neighbors Kim and Greg Hoffman say are a string of harassing acts they've endured in the last five years, and they come after Christensen served time for violating a restraining order.
A hearing on whether she violated her probation is set for Friday. Until then, Ramsey County District Court Judge George Stephenson ruled, Christensen can return home only once under police escort to get her dogs and some belongings.
The Star Tribune reported (http://bit.ly/N6VLeF ) the Hoffmans accused Christensen of taunting Kim Hoffman, a recovering alcoholic, for years. The alleged harassment included 50 signs posted over the years, including a banner that said, "I saw mommy kissing a Breathalyzer." Christensen also allegedly changed the words to the song "Drunken Sailor" by singing aloud, "What do you do with a drunken mother?"
Police Chief Lynne Bankes said the Hoffmans aren't the only neighbors being abused. Authorities have gotten at least 80 calls about Christensen in the past three years.
Christensen's attorney, Gary Wolf, said she denies the current accusations.
Christensen, an executive assistant at the Metropolitan Council, declined to talk to the newspaper about the latest charges, but described herself as a single mom supporting her family.
"I'm just trying to fight for myself," she said. "I want to give my daughter back her childhood."
Neighbors next door to Christensen have a court order forbidding her from having contact with them. An elderly woman moved because of Christensen's behavior, Bankes said.
"In my 35 years as a police officer, I have never met or heard of anybody who is so persistent in their negative behavior toward their neighbors — or anyone," said Bankes. "It's unconscionable."
Prosecutor David Hunt argued Christensen should be held until Friday's hearing because she doesn't care about the judge's order that she have no contact with the Hoffmans.
Stephenson allowed Christensen to remain free, but said she may not call authorities about the Hoffmans, even if their house was on fire.
"You will not be the one to call 911 to report it," the judge said.
The Hoffmans say the harassment began about five years ago, when they say Christensen's daughter poured nail polish on one of their girls. They say Greg Hoffman went to talk to Christensen and was sworn at and told to take care of his own kids.
"I said, 'Lori, you may intimidate everyone else, but you don't intimidate us,'" he said. "Those were the last words we spoke to her for two years."
In 2009, Kim Hoffman had to go to the hospital after mixing alcohol and prescription drugs. That year, she tried to pull her daughter away from Christensen, who was screaming at the children.
Christensen swore at her and said: "Why didn't you have a little more Scotch? I wish you had died," according to court documents.
Information from: Star Tribune, http://www.startribune.com
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.