NEWS

Internet lover still calls from jail

MULBERRY, Florida (AP) – The mother of a teenage girl, who ran away to Greece to be with a lover she met through the Internet, says the man is still harassing her family from his Athens jail cell. The mother said that about a week after she and her daughter returned from Greece last year, a letter arrived from 36-year-old Franz Constantin Baehring, who had lured the girl into running away. Other letters followed every two or three days. Some professed his love for the girl and others threatened the mother for keeping them apart, she said. Postal authorities have collected «bags and bags» of mail Baehring sent to the girl. He also has tried to contact her using computers at Greek detention facilities, she said. «This man will never let go of my daughter,» she said. «He’s still ruining our lives. We’re just going through life, day by day, waiting to see how he’s going to terrorize us next.» The girl is not identified by name because authorities say she is a victim of sexual abuse. The woman said her daughter, now 16, has undergone extensive counseling since returning from Greece in February 2001. The girl corresponded with Baehring online for months in 2000, and he persuaded her to leave her home in Mulberry to be with him. Greek authorities have charged Baehring with sexual assault, exposing a minor to improper material and crossing borders with a minor without police permission. He faces trial in April. The letters became so frequent and scary that the mother enlisted the help of the US Postal Inspector’s Office. Any mail to the family postmarked from Greece is rerouted to its office, said Linda Walker, a spokeswoman for the postal inspector. The woman said her daughter is afraid to go outside and stares at faces and at vehicles she passes on the road. «She’s convinced that he’s everywhere,» she said. «And she thinks that if he can’t get to her himself, that he’ll have a friend do it, because he’s got friends all over the world.»