That's the lesson a 22-year-old Northern California man learned the hard way Wednesday when he was sentenced for stalking Star Trek: Voyager star Jeri Ryan.
After pleading no contest to the stalking charges, Marlon Esracio Pagtakhan was given five years' probation. In addition, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge David Milton ordered Pagtakhan to stay at least 1,000 yards away from Ryan and Brannon Braga, Voyager's executive producer and Ryan's boyfriend, whom Pagtakhan was also accused of stalking. Pagtakhan must steer clear of the couple's workplace and any public appearances they may make.
Pagtakhan must also seek treatment in a mental health facility and abstain from computers and related technology for the full term of his probation.
"There were hundreds and hundreds of emails sent over the course of a year period," says Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney Rhonda Saunders, who heads up the anti-stalking unit. Saunders described the emails as both violent and extremely sexually explicit.
One email addressed to Ryan said, "I will bash your cranium in."
Although the couple obtained a restraining order to keep Pagtakhan away, nothing stopped him.
"It just seemed to escalate the situation, as if he was saying, 'No one can control me,' " says Saunders.
"Ms. Ryan was very frightened, as was Mr. Braga."
The prosecutor says she is hopeful the threat of a three-year, eight-month prison term hanging over Pagtakhan's head will stop him from repeating.
Pagtakhan was arrested November 16 and beamed into jail, where he's remained through his court case. He's expected to be released from jail and return to Northern California, where probation officers will monitor the overzealous Trekker.
Pagtakhan's mother, Purificacion Pagtakhan, told Los Angeles' City News Service earlier this year that her son was just a big fan. "He said, 'I'm not doing anything wrong,' " she told the news agency, adding that her son was "not a dangerous person."
Ryan, one of the most searched-for celebs on the Web, is best known for her role as Voyager's curvaceous crewmember Seven of Nine, the half-human, half-alien cyborg on UPN's sci-fi hit. The third Trek spinoff will conclude its TV run later this month.