Jessica Sierra, 20, made it to the finals of American Idol last season on the strength of exuberant self-confidence and a powerful country/rock voice. Though she was just the third singer voted out of the final 12, the Tampa native has had a lot more to deal with than being ousted from Idol earlier than she might have hoped.
Daniel Robert Young, 59, began calling Sierra’s grandparents’ Tampa home in October pretending to be a record producer and trying to get Sierra’s phone number. Police said Young left about 40 voicemail messages telling Sierra that he loved her and was willing to go to jail for her. He sent her a necklace, a bracelet, followed her around the country and showed up at the Sierra family home.
“I told him, ‘You are scary. You’re scaring me,'” Sierra said in court in January. “He said, ‘How do you know I’m scary? You don’t even know me.'”
Young was denied bail as a possible threat to Sierra and faces a one year jail sentence. With the stalker now behind bars, Sierra has agreed to become a spokesperson for the Department of Justice’s National Stalking Resource Center, which seeks to help inform Americans of the risks of and remedies for stalking as well as providing victims of stalking access to counseling and information about services and programs in their communities.
According to the Center, more than a million women are stalked annually in the U.S., and one in 12 women will be stalked in their lifetime.
In her post as spokesperson, Sierra will work with Diane Stuart, Director of the Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice, one of the country’s leading experts on stalking.
Sierra, who performed “Total Eclipse of the Heart” on the certified-gold season 4 Idol finalists Showstoppers album, toured America with those same Idol finalists last summer and is currently in Nashville writing new music in preparation for an upcoming CD.