Ex-inmate charged with stalking

A repeat offender stalker with a history of mental health issues was charged again with felony stalking last week – this time for repeatedly attempting to contact a female corrections officer whom he claims he fell in love with while incarcerated at the Thurston Coun1/8ty Jail, court papers state.

Michael George Van Mieghem, 64, came into contact with the officer while awaiting the outcome of and serving a one-year jail sentence for his prior felony stalking case. Van Mieghem was released from jail over the summer after serving the one-year sentence, court papers state.

The corrections officer obtained a civil no-contact order against Van Mieghem in late June, shortly before Van Mieghem was released from jail. After being served with the order, Van Mieghem told another corrections officer that “he was going to break the no contact order just like he did the last one,” court papers state. “The defendant stated ‘we belong together and no one is going to stop me.’”

Thurston County deputy prosecuting attorney Jennifer Lord said that now, staring at a potential third felony stalking conviction, Van Mieghem faces possible prison time if he is convicted – a sentence of up to 20 months or more.

“His behavior is frightening,” Lord said. “It’s definitely of concern.”

Van Mieghem’s mental health issues may stem from a doctor’s misuse of forceps that caused permanent brain damage, according to a letter that Van Mieghem’s brother sent to a judge in 1997 during one of Van Mieghem’s cases.

Van Mieghem’s two prior felony stalking convictions both involved a woman he first began to contact by telephone and through the mail in 1985, according to court papers. Van Mieghem was an acquaintance of that victim in the 1960s, but she had no relationship with him. “At no time has there ever been a relationship of a romantic nature … nor have they ever socialized with one another,” court papers state.

For about a 10-year period between 1985 and 1995, Van Mieghem sent the victim about 50 letters and left dozens of messages on her answering machine, court papers state. “In December of 1995, defendant’s contacts with (the woman) became more frequent, intense and overtly sexual in nature,” court papers state.

Van Mieghem was convicted of stalking the woman again earlier this year after he began to try to contact her at home and at work in 2008, court papers state.

Van Mieghem’s new felony stalking charge was filed Nov. 3. During his attempts to contact the Thurston County corrections officer, he has sent the woman about 14 communications while he was an inmate at the jail, court papers state. In one of the communications, he told her that he loves her and wants to have sexual relations with her, court papers state. On Oct. 19, he sent her a letter at her home address, and the woman has told a detective “that she is concerned that the defendant may harm her roommate, her animals, or her property since he has now discovered where she lives,” according to court papers.

Van Mieghem is scheduled to be arraigned on his felony stalking charge on Nov. 17 in Thurston County Superior Court, court papers state.

Jeremy Pawloski: 360-754-5465