Columbia man pleads guilty to assault at MU, stalking charges

Tuesday, July 16, 2013 | 8:31 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — A man who was arrested in October for what was known at MU as the "bear hug" incident will spend 10 days in Boone County Jail and two years on probation.

Timothy Anderson of Columbia pleaded guilty to two counts of stalking and one count of third-degree assault, which stemmed from two incidents involving women at MU and the stalking of a Stephens College student.

The probable cause statements released after Anderson's arrest revealed that the two incidents at MU were believed to be connected to Anderson's stalking of the Stephens College student. Anderson used other people's phones to repeatedly call and text the woman and is believed to have confused the women at MU for the other victim.

Circuit Judge Deborah Daniels ruled in favor of Anderson's request not to impose sentencing on the three counts, but required Anderson to spend 10 days in the Boone County Jail and complete two years of probation for each count.

Under his probation, Anderson may not have any contact with the victims connected with the charges and cannot set foot on either MU or Stephens College.

The two years of probation for each count will be completed concurrently and if Anderson complies with his probation he will not have convictions on his record for the stalking and assault charges, assistant prosecuting attorney Jonathan Bertz said.

Anderson was arrested in October by the MU Police Department in connection with the two separate incidents that occurred at MU that month.

According to the probable cause statement and a Clery release issued shortly after the first incident, Anderson approached a woman on Ninth Street near Ellis Library, wrapped his arms around her from behind before releasing her, telling the woman that he thought she was someone else, and running away on Oct. 24. Anderson pleaded guilty to third-degree assault for the incident.

The incident led to a series of jokes on social media after a Clery release described the act as a "bear hug."

One count of stalking was related to an incident that occurred the following day, in which, according to court documents, Anderson followed a woman to the fourth level of Hitt Street Garage before approaching her and asking if he knew her. The victim told Anderson he did not know her and "felt alarmed by his actions," according to the probable cause statement.

According to court documents, Anderson was identified after an MU student told campus police that a person who matched the description from the Clery release had previously borrowed his phone to text a woman before returning the phone to the MU student. 

MU police called the number Anderson had dialed on the borrowed phone, and a Stephens College student answered and identified Anderson as the person who had texted her.

The Stephens College student told Columbia police after Anderson's arrest that she knew the defendant in high school and had cut ties with him after he had made unwanted advances toward her, according to the probable cause statement.

Supervising editor is Zachary Matson.

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