A California woman sits in jail after prosecutors accused her this week of posing online as the pregnant wife of her ex-boyfriend — in order to recruit men on Craigslist who were seeking to fulfill consensual rape fantasies to attack her ex’s wife.
At least three men showed up at the victim’s house, prosecutors say. On June 24, one actually attacked the wife in the garage of her home, before she was able to chase the man away.
The plot, prosecutors allege, started with angry emails.
After her ex-boyfriend married another woman, Michelle Suzanne Hadley, 29, of Ontario, California, allegedly responded in late May and early June with “electronic threats” to the new wife, Orange County Deputy District Attorney Rick Zimmer tells PEOPLE.
The victim, identified in charging documents as Jane Doe, and her husband, who is an agent with the U.S. Marshal’s Service, then sought and won a court protective order on June 6, prohibiting Hadley from contacting the woman.
But Hadley didn’t stop, prosecutors allege. (She has not yet entered a plea to the charges against her.)
Over the next five weeks, from June on, “Hadley is accused of sending Jane Doe numerous emails including threats against the life of Jane Doe and her unborn child and disparaging comments about the victim’s husband,” the district attorney’s office said in a news release Monday.
“Hadley is accused of routing the emails to the victim through different computer servers in order to avoid detection by law enforcement,” according to the release.
But she went even further, Zimmer tells PEOPLE.
‘Increasingly Violent Language’
“[Hadley] posted an ad on Craigslist pretending to be the victim and saying that she wanted to engage in ‘rape fantasies’ with men,” Zimmer alleges.
Hadley also allegedly replied online to men seeking to fulfill such fantasies, again allegedly posing as the victim and sending them photos of the victim, along with details of the victim’s daily routine, Zimmer says.
“[Hadley] would let them know kind of where ‘she’ would be at certain times of day, and if ‘she’ were to scream or fight back, they should just keep going because it was part of the role play,” Zimmer says.
The June 24 attack of the victim echoed those referenced by Hadley in her alleged emails, and Anaheim police arrested Hadley that same day. She was jailed and quickly released on $100,000 bond.
“Within a few hours after she bailed out,” Zimmer says, “the emails started again.”
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The responses to online “rape fantasy” solicitations also resumed, according to the prosecutor’s office statement, and “Hadley is accused of using increasingly violent language and threatening the victim’s life.”
On July 14, she was arrested a second time.
Four days later, she was charged with one felony count of stalking; one felony count of stalking with a restraining order; one felony count of criminal threats; six felony counts of attempted forcible rape; one felony count of assault with the intent to commit a sexual offense during the commission of first-degree burglary; and one misdemeanor count of violation of a protective order.
The “attempted forcible rape” charges, Zimmer says, were for Hadley’s alleged efforts to recruit men to carry out the attacks. “She’s the initiator of that,” he alleges.
“I don’t want to speculate too much on a motive,” Zimmer says. “Clearly I think there’s anger on the defendant’s part at the relationship between the husband and his new wife.”
What’s Next for the Case
Hadley has not yet entered a plea to the charges alleging she stalked, harassed and assaulted the victim. Her attorney, Betty Stroh, tells PEOPLE the defense is still collecting information.
“We’re hoping to expose the truth,” she says.
Hadley, in jail on a $1 million bond, is due back in court Aug. 19.
Prosecutors are reviewing whether any of the unnamed men who allegedly engaged Hadley online or showed up at the victim’s home committed a crime.
“They believed the victim was writing to them,” Zimmer says. “We’re still investigating whether or not we can file charges.”
Zimmer says the wife “is an innocent bystander in all of this.”
“The level of it is pretty shocking,” he says, “that somebody would go to these lengths because [they’re] upset that a relationship didn’t work out.”