Carrie Pernula, 38, has a curious way of responding to what she considers pesky children and she is now the subject of an equally curious criminal case. The Minnesota woman reportedly confessed to send menacing notes to a family saying that she wanted to “taste” their children. She is now charged with stalking and disorderly conduct.
Police say that Pernula confessed to sending the notes out of anger with the children for making noise in the neighborhood and leaving things on her yard and porch. That would see ample reason to contact the parents, but not in the way that Pernula chose. She sent the first anonymous note by mail and said: “The children look delicious. May I have a taste?”
With two elementary school children, the family was alarmed and that alarm was then magnified when they received magazine subscriptions addressed to “tasty children.” It took little time to trace the magazines to Pernula.
The stalking provision would seem a fit: “”stalking” means to engage in conduct which the actor knows or has reason to know would cause the victim under the circumstances to feel frightened, threatened, oppressed, persecuted, or intimidated, and causes this reaction on the part of the victim regardless of the relationship between the actor and victim.”
Moreover, specific intent is expressly not required:
“No proof of specific intent required. In a prosecution under this section, the state is not required to prove that the actor intended to cause the victim to feel frightened, threatened, oppressed, persecuted, or intimidated, or except as otherwise provided in subdivision 3, paragraph (a), clause (4), or paragraph (b), that the actor intended to cause any other result.”
It is less clear why this was also charged as disorderly conduct, which seems like count stacking on the same underlying facts. Indeed, they hardly need the charge with the stalking count.
As for Pernula’s attorney, Debbie Lang seemed hard pressed in articulating a public defense. She is quoted as offering the wonderfully understated response of this being “an unfortunate and complicated situation for everyone involved.”
What do you think that appropriate sentence should be given Pernula’s confession for sending such notes?