Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Oct 13, 2004: Marsden Guilty Of Harassment

'Immature' Marsden guilty of harassing former lover
The Province
Wednesday, October 13, 2004
Byline: Steve Berry
Source: The Province

CORRECTION: (From The Province, Tuesday, October 19, 2004, page A4) An Oct. 13 article regarding the guilty verdict against Rachel Marsden for harassment referred incorrectly to Marsden as having been fired from her job in the office of MP Gurmant Grewal. Grewal said at the time she was not fired, but he simply ran out of work for her. Her departure from Grewal's office occurred shortly after news media learned she was working for the MP under a different name. *****

Rachel Marsden was told yesterday she has a little growing up to do.

Marsden, the central figure in a high-profile Simon Fraser University stalking case, faced a provincial court judge in Vancouver yesterday accused of harassing a former lover, one-time CFUN radio personality Michael Morgan.

Judge William Kitchen handed her a conditional discharge with a one- year probation requiring her to stay out of trouble and away from Morgan. She will not have a criminal record and does not have to report to a probation officer.

In passing sentence, Kitchen said Marsden, 29, was "immature in dealing with personal relationships" and could not accept being rejected. But he noted that she had glowing letters of reference from a variety of people.

Kitchen said "she should have learned her lesson from all that has happened to her so far."

The pair had an on-again, off-again relationship from May 2002 until Morgan finally broke it off in October 2003.

Marsden, who writes for right-wing U.S. political websites, took the break-up badly and launched a series of e-mails and phone calls to Morgan.

"Some were attempts to rekindle the relationship, and others were somewhat caustic," reads a statement of facts that both parties agreed to.

Marsden gained access to Morgan's computer and set it to send her a copy of whatever e-mails he received, thereby keeping track of him.

In court yesterday, a relaxed-looking Marsden chatted easily with her defence counsel. She refused comment after sentencing.

Her lawyer, Ian Donaldson, said outside court that Marsden worked hard as a student, reaping many scholarships and awards, but may not have developed some social skills.

"She didn't have the social development and the dating development that others might have had," he said. "She probably didn't learn some lessons young in life that many people do."

In 1995, Marsden accused SFU swim coach Liam Donnelly of sexual harassment. He claimed Marsden was stalking him. Donnelly was fired and then reinstated after SFU declared its investigation was flawed. Neither allegation was proven.

Marsden was fired in May from the office of Surrey Central MP Gurmant Grewal after she was accused of sending e-mails to party members soliciting support in his re-nomination battle.

sberry@png.canwest.com