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N.D. woman denies stalking ex-husband’s fiancee

MINOT, N.D. --  A 48-year-old Burlington woman pleaded not guilty Thursday to stalking her ex-husband's fiancee.

Kathy Lou Schuler, formerly known as Kathy Lou Pearson, is charged with a Class C felony that carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Detective Krista Cousins of the Minot Police Department testified at a preliminary hearing in district court that Schuler admitted creating a fake profile for the alleged victim on the dating website Plenty of Fish. The profile contained photographs that someone appeared to have lifted from the alleged victim's Facebook page and derogatory statements about the alleged victim. The profile said the alleged victim wrecks homes and hates Native Americans. It also included information about the alleged victim's job title and that she works for the district court system.

Cousins testified that Schuler claimed she had created the profile "to hurt” the alleged victim.   Schuler has a previous conviction for stalking the alleged victim, who went to police in January and again in April after fake profiles were created in her name with disparaging statements.

Schuler's  defense attorney, Challis Williams, argued that Schuler is not guilty of stalking under North Dakota law. Stalking is an offense that is directed at an individual, such as following someone around, sitting outside their work or constantly sending them unwanted text messages, said Williams. He said Schuler's conduct was directed not at the alleged victim but at the rest of the Plenty of Fish community.

Judge Gary Lee found probable cause to let the stalking charge stand because Schuler allegedly admitted she set up the fake profile to hurt her ex-husband's fiancee.