Erin Andrews, the ESPN sideline reporter who was the victim of a peephole stalker in 2009, was in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday to support a congressional bill that would strengthen federal stalking laws and increase the maximum sentence for those convicted of it.
The awkwardly named Simplifying the Ambiguous Law, Keeping Everyone Reliably Safe (STALKERS) Act would increase the maximum prison sentence to five years. Andrews’ stalker, Michael David Barrett, was sentenced to 30 months in March.
"The one thing that I think is very, very sad about the whole ordeal is, he's going to jail for a little over two years," Andrews said at a news conference on Capitol Hill alongside Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Reps. Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif.) and Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.). "That video on the Internet will be there for the rest of my life."
"This is not easy for me at all,” Andrews noted. “The public needs to know about stalking. Laws need to be tougher. Penalties need to be stiffened.
"I have seen with my own eyes that the laws have been taken way too lightly, they are not clear, and they have not kept up with technology or the times," she continued. "There have been times over the past year that I have screamed, I have cried, I have said to my family, 'Why me? Why is this happening to me?' I received countless letters from women that say, 'Please go out and fight this, please go out and show your face, please lend your voice and please go out and strengthen laws because we're not able to do it.’ That is why I'm here today: I'm showing my face, I'm lending my voice, and I'm here to give this law some teeth."
Since the 2009 incident, in which Andrews was surreptitiously videotaped while undressing in her hotel room, she has been active in pursuing the perpetrator – and "hellbent" on drawing attention to the issue.
At Barrett’s sentencing in March, Andrews scoffed at his teary courtroom apology: "His apology didn't take the video down from the Internet."
"I'm at the anger stage," Andrews told reporters outside the sentencing. "I think about it every second of every day."
Andrews also slammed Glamour for recently reprinting a New York Post cover that included still images of Barrett's peephole video. "And that's a women's magazine," she said.