53-year-old man indicted for cyberstalking after terrorizing women online, authorities say
ST. LOUIS (KMOV/Gray News) - A man who already served time in prison for harassing women online with violent fantasies again faces similar charges.
KMOV reports a grand jury has indicted 53-year-old Robert Merkle on charges accusing him of threatening and cyberstalking five people since October 2021.
Officials said Merkle had previously pleaded guilty in 2017 to multiple counts of misdemeanor and felony harassment in St. Louis and Jefferson County.
A woman, who wanted to go by the name Angela, shared that she met Merkle at a pub in 2017. They sat at the same table and talked about current events. Angela said a man named Rob then messaged the group organizer asking about her, saying the two found the message strange.
According to authorities, Angela said she received a disturbing message from a man named James through the Meetup app days later.
“It read, ‘I have the need to tell you I have been having sexually violent fantasies.’ It went on from there to describe rape,” Angela said.
According to Angela, the message also mentioned the meeting at the pub, and she then informed police of the situation.
Angela said another message came through the online group that described a violent sexual assault a few days later.
“I’m interested in female sexual response and sexual performance by young Caucasian women under 40 during specific nonconsensual sex acts,” Angela said the message read.
Angela said she connected the profiles of the men and gave the information to police. After working with St. Louis police, charges were filed against Merkle.
Authorities said a judge, Rex Burlison, ordered Merkle’s sentences to be run concurrently, meaning he would serve three years behind bars. Merkle was released from prison in October 2020 and completed his parole in October 2021.
According to police, Merkle faces the latest felony charge of harassment from January 2022. He allegedly texted a woman that he had made a copy of her key to her residence and that he was going to break in and rape her.
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