John DeMasi signed up to be a little league coach back in 2010. He wanted to coach his son, and enjoy coaching one of his favorite games. Never did he think that him coaching the team would lead to him and his family being terrorized for over a year.
Soon after the season started, a letter was sent to the league claiming that he was favoring his son Dominic. “It was just [an] anonymous letter sent [about] how wrong I was coaching the team and how bad we were,” DeMasi explained.
That letter was the first on many that would go on to threaten and harass DeMasi’s family. Each letter revealed shockingly personal information about the family, and continued to get more and more specific about their daily lives. Linda DeMasi, John’s wife, recalled one letter that proved they now had a stalker on their hands. “I know where your wife goes every day,” the letter read. “I know where your daughter goes to dance school.” Linda became so afraid that she quit her part-time job to remain with the kids at all times except for when they were in school. “I didn’t feel safe with, you know, somebody else driving my children,” she said. “I was afraid.”
Later that year, Janet Chiauzzi, the DeMasi’s neighbor, befriended the family. Her son played baseball with Dominic and she and the DeMasi family started spending more time together. Little did they know that they had made friends with their stalker.
It wasn’t until the last two letters came that they were finally able to figure out who had been sending them. These letters were particularly alarming and read: “I made it my life’s goal now to observe your family on a 24/7 basis. … Just tell your wife and kids to watch themselves, especially at night.”
“I read the letter written to my son, which … took me down because it just said that, ‘If your father doesn’t step back, I’m going to kill him,'” DeMasi recalled. The letters were turned over to the police who focused in on the handwriting and the stamps on each individual letter. They quickly realized that they were dealing with one person, who knew the family well.
Police immediately suspected the DeMasi’s newfound friend Janet. Linda had her daughter collect addresses for a pretend fundraiser so they could get a sample of Janet’s handwriting. “The way she wrote ‘East Meadow,’ it was a certain way,” Linda said. “I could feel my knees starting to shake as I was standing there, and I couldn’t believe it.”
Two days later, police confirmed the match and arrested Janet in June 2011. She was charged with four counts of stalking, two counts of falsely reporting an incident, two counts of endangering the welfare of a child and four counts of aggravated harassment. Police said she made a full admission, and admitted that she had become angry when her son wasn’t one of the players chosen for the traveling team.
Janet pleaded guilty to six misdemeanor counts and two felonies. She was sentenced to 60 days in jail and five years probation. While she claims she is remorseful and realizes what she did was wrong, she still hasn’t apologized to the DeMasi family. “I wish as a mother she could look at me and say, ‘I’m sorry,’ Linda said.
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