BY ALLISON LEVITSKY
Daily Post Staff Writer
A Los Altos man has been outfitted with an ankle monitor after pleading no contest to stalking and threatening to rape and murder a former high school classmate whom he harassed online and in person for 12 years.
Matthew Lucas Cringle, 29, pleaded no contest on May 17.
It wasn’t the first time Cringle was convicted of stalking the woman. He has repeatedly violated a criminal protective order and continued harassing her online, according to court documents.
After being told in court not to contact the woman during a prior stalking case against Cringle, he looked straight at her and started walking toward her until his parents and attorney held him back.
Cringle first started stalking the woman in 2006, when they shared a Spanish class at Los Altos High School. According to court documents, Cringle started harassing her after she told him to cover his mouth when he coughed — prompting him to spit in her face — and after she told him to stop copying her friend’s test.
Records show repeated instances of harassment
After that, the school documented eight instances of Cringle stalking and harassing her between March and September 2006, including threatening to slit her throat and waiting for her by the campus bicycle cage with rocks in his hand.
Cringle threw the rocks at her, missing her but hitting the car she was entering, according to school documents cited in court records.
The stalking continued after Cringle was moved to Mountain View High School in the fall of 2006.
In March 2007, he drove into the Los Altos High School parking lot, pulled up to the girl and asked her why she got him expelled. He was fidgeting with a Swiss Army knife at the time.
The following month, the girl was sitting on a bench with a friend in downtown Los Altos when Cringle sprinted up to her and put his hands around her neck, according to court records.
She called police, who later arrested Cringle on suspicion of stalking, battery and resisting arrest. The stalking persisted as the woman progressed through high school and enrolled at Foothill College.
Sometime between 2009 and 2011, she says Cringle left her a voicemail claiming to be a representative from a scholarship program, inviting her to meet at a library to discuss scholarships. She says she didn’t go because she recognized his voice.
Cringle later admitted making that phone call during a court hearing, according to court records.
And in November 2010, Cringle showed up outside the woman’s psychology class at Foothill. The Mountain View police later confirmed that he was not a student at the school, according to court records.
Protective order violated
Cringle was eventually arrested for stalking and threatening her in 2012 and convicted of stalking. He was sentenced to probation and issued a no-contact protective order, but continued to send the woman threatening messages in violation of that order.
Cringle was again arrested in 2013 on suspicion of stalking and threatening the woman.
Much of the harassment took place over Facebook messages and emails, targeting the woman along with her friends and, later, her employer. Many of the messages discussed sex and threatened to rape and murder the woman.
From 2008 until last year, Cringle sent harassing messages from Facebook accounts under the fake names Jack Anders, Kyle Hudson, Bryan Espinosa, Kenneth Peterson, Stephen Clark, Frank Palazzo, Jack Dawson, Craig Rawlings and Eric Hudson.
For example, a message to the woman from “Peterson” in December 2011 read, “Hey b****, I’m a sexual predator out to find and rape young girls like you. I know where you are at all times. I will find and rape and murder, then I will drag your body to San Jose where I live and dump your body in the Guadalupe River.”
Weeks later, the woman deactivated her Facebook to get away from the harassing messages, but immediately afterward someone made a fake account using her name and photo and sent vulgar messages to her friends, according to court records.
In some of the messages, Cringle named the woman’s workplace and threatened to go there and sexually assault her. Her employer also received a message from Cringle. Last year, Cringle sent the woman emails talking about “brutally” raping and murdering her.
‘I live in fear’
The woman told police that the years of stalking have made her afraid to form personal relationships out of fear that Cringle will send them threatening or derogatory messages about her. She has also avoided downtown Los Altos since Cringle attacked her there in April 2007 out of fear that she might run into him.
“I live in fear. I fear that one day out of nowhere, he will show up with a knife or a gun,” the woman told police.
Santa Clara County Deputy District Attorney Kelly Meeker told the Post that Cringle was ordered to wear the ankle monitor for six months. Two status hearings are planned to make sure Cringle is complying before he is sentenced to five years’ formal probation in December.
If he doesn’t violate the court’s orders, Cringle will get credit for the six months he served in county jail.
Cringle also agreed that if he violates the court orders, including a no-contact order, then he can be sentenced to up to five years and eight months in state prison, Meeker said.
His no-contest pleas on Friday were to charges of stalking after being convicted of a felony and threatening a crime that would cause death or great bodily injury
Where’s Michele Dauber when we need her?
“Cringle also agreed that if he violates the court orders, including a no-contact order, then he can be sentenced to up to five years and eight months in state prison, Meeker said.”
Sure, sure. Next time they catch him, they’ll just extend his probation or make him wear a second ankle bracelet.