Olympia cab driver Benjamin Shea says a four-month romantic relationship with a 50-year-old Tumwater woman has turned into four years of hell.
Olympia police arrested Shea's former girlfriend, Ivy Rukin, Thursday, based on allegations she was harassing him by texting and phoning him constantly, using a blocked number in an attempt to get him to lift a domestic violence protection order against her.
Shea said he hopes Rukin's new felony case will mark the end of her four-plus years of stalking.
"I just want her to stay away from me," Shea, 38, said during a phone interview Friday as he ate a late lunch with his new girlfriend. "...I don't feel that it's over. She has no regard for what the law says."
He said that after he ended their relationship in 2008, she began calling and texting him constantly. She even filed false police reports against him, alleging assault, he said. He said he was arrested twice after her false allegations, in 2008 and 2010. In both cases, Shea was cleared of any blame.
And in May, 2012, Rukin again alleged Shea assaulted her near Olympia City Hall. But public cameras near City Hall revealed Rukin was actually chasing after Shea on Fourth Avenue.
Rukin was ordered held at the Thurston County Jail Friday on suspicion of tampering with a witness and violating a protection order by contacting him. Thurston County Superior Court Judge Gary Tabor set Rukin's bail at $10,000.
Rukin is the respondent in a domestic violence protection order filed by Shea last year. She also is a defendant in a misdemeanor stalking and false reporting case that was filed after last year's incident near Olympia City Hall.
According to court papers:
Shea met with Olympia police on Tuesday and provided a police officer with "four pages of text messages from the phone number outlining simply one day's communication." Shea alleges the most recent string of harassing phone calls and texts began on Aug. 31.
Shea told police that the phone calls and texts usually came late at night. When he tried to return the calls after "unblocking" the number, the party would usually not respond, he said. Sometimes, when he tried to return the texts, the person who responded claimed to be named "Julie," and explained that she was a prior cab fare of his.
"Julie" stated in the texts that she wanted to date Shea, "but she heard about what Shea did to his ex-girlfriend by sending her to jail." Other texts urged Shea to drop the criminal case against her, "then they could give a relationship a try." Texts also stated the harassment would stop, "if you let it go, tell them you want it over and not to pursue the matter."
When Olympia police arrested Rukin Thursday, they found a cell phone with the "unblocked" number that was appearing on Shea's phone when he got the harassing calls. Police found a total of seven cell phones in Rukin's Mottman Road apartment that she is believed to have used to call Shea.
Rukin attempted to throw one of the phones out the window of her apartment when police arrived at her residence Thursday.
Shea said Friday he dated Rukin for about four months, starting in 2008, when she purchased a laptop from him while he was working at the Olympia Office Depot. He said he tried to end the relationship on good terms, but Rukin could not accept that it was over.
"She just decided that we were meant together," Shea said. "She actually told me that she was the perfect woman for me."
Then came the constant phone calls and texts, he said. "For whatever reason she would not leave me alone," he said. He added that it has been a nightmare trying to document and record all of her harassing communications.
"It's a terrible thing to have a stalker," he said.
Jeremy Pawloski: 360-754-5445 email@example.com