German high-jumper Ariane Friedrich has publicly revealed the identity of the man she says harassed her and e-mailed her pictures of his genitals. The 28-year old athlete, who is the midst of training for London's Summer 2012 Olympics, posted the alleged stalker's name, e-mail address, his hometown, and excerpts from the e-mails she received on her Facebook wall, reported MSN news. She has also filed a criminal complaint with authorities, who are now investigating the matter.
Friedrich's actions have received praise as well as complaints from many who have posted on her Facebook wall. Since publicly responding to her stalker on April 16, the "likes" on her Facebook page have jumped form 8, 000 to 12,000 reported the New York Times. Posters have also debated whether Friedrich took the law into her own hands.
"I've been offended in the past, sexually harassed, and I've had a stalker before," Friedrich, who also works as a police officer in German, posted to defend her actions.
"There is simply a point where enough is enough," Friedrich wrote in German on her Facebook wall on Saturday, according to the New York Times. "It's time to act, it's time to defend myself. And that's what I'm doing. No more and no less."
Germany has strict data protection and privacy laws that prevent an individual's name and address to be published without consent. Publications and print ews outlets usually do not publish the names or addresses of offenders to avoid stigma and discrimination. However, guidelines regarding the internet and social networking sites are still unclear.
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"The reaction of Mrs. Friedrich is of course understandable, but she reacted too fast," Dr. Thilo Weichert, a data privacy law expert in Kiel, Germany, told NBC News. "It needs to be checked first, if the named person is really the correct one. Anybody can use a wrong name on Facebook."
Friedrich's trainer and manager, Guenter Eisinger, admitted that the issue may overshadow the athlete's preparation for the Olympics, reported The Local, a German-English publication.
Friedrich currently holds the high-jump record in Germany, has won the bronze medal at the 2009 championships, as well as the gold medal at the 2009 European indoor championships. She injured her Achilles tendon in December 2010 at the world championships in South Korea, and did not compete in 2011. Eisinger told the New York Times in a telephone interview that Friedrich will not be making anymore comments on the issue, and that he has been told by authorities not to make any more statements as investigations are under way.
"The issue has nothing to do with the public," Eisinger told The Local on Saturday. "We can do without any stress factors."
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