As a finalist on last season’s “American Idol,” Jessica Sierra became one of the country’s most visible rising stars. But fame extracted a price, as Sierra later became a stalking victim, a powerful experience that changed her life. With the stalker now behind bars, Sierra has answered the call to courage and become a spokesperson for the Department of Justice’s National Stalking Resource Center, helping to better inform Americans of the risks of and remedies for stalking.
More than a million women are stalked annually in the U.S., with statistics indicating one in 12 women will be stalked in her lifetime. The Stalking Resource Center gives victims of stalking a place to turn to for supportive counseling and comprehensive information about services and programs in their communities.
In her post as spokesperson, Sierra will work closely with, Diane Stuart, Director of the Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice (which funds the National Stalking Resource Center). A 25-year professional working with women’s shelters and rape crisis centers, Stuart is one of the country’s leading experts on stalking. In her work, she has raised greater awareness of the crime, sharing her knowledge of the judicial system and the best strategies for dealing with stalking.
Last month the Tampa Police Department arrested Daniel Young, 59, for stalking Sierra and he now faces a one-year jail sentence. The suspect allegedly left more than 30 voicemails for Sierra, followed her around the country and showed up at the Sierra family home.
Jessica Sierra, 20, was a fan favorite on “American Idol” 2005. She toured America with the Idol summer tour, and is currently in the studio writing new music for her upcoming Cd.