Skip to main content

Man pleads not guilty to stalking 'Dancing with the Stars' contestant

  • Story Highlights
  • NEW: Robert Michael O'Ryan ordered held on $220,000 bail in stalking case
  • NEW: Police find love letters, duct tape, zip ties in O'Ryan's car
  • He allegedly told police that contestant Shawn Johnson was talking to him via ESP
  • O'Ryan is ordered to have no contact with Johnson or her family
  • Next Article in Entertainment »
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font

LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- A Florida man told police he drove across the country to meet "Dancing with the Stars" contestant Shawn Johnson because she was communicating with him through the television, according to a restraining order application filed this week.

"Dancing With the Stars" contestant Shawn Johnson  is a gymnast who won a gold medal at the 2008 Olympics.

"Dancing With the Stars" contestant Shawn Johnson is a gymnast who won a gold medal at the 2008 Olympics.

Robert Michael O'Ryan entered a not guilty plea Thursday to a felony count of stalking and two misdemeanor counts of carrying a loaded firearm in a vehicle stemming from his arrest outside the "Dancing with the Stars" studio earlier this week.

O'Ryan, 34, was ordered held on $220,000 bail, the Los Angeles District Attorney's office said.

O'Ryan is accused of driving from Florida to Los Angeles to meet Olympic gymnast Shawn Johnson, 17, who is appearing on the show, prosecutors said.

He was arrested Tuesday after he allegedly tried to jump a security fence at CBS Studios in the Wilshire district of Los Angeles, where the ABC television show is filmed, authorities said. Police found a loaded handgun and shotgun in his car.

O'Ryan was also ordered to have no contact with Johnson or her family and to stay 500 feet away from the gymnast and the CBS studio. A preliminary hearing was set for April 27.

O'Ryan told police at the time of his arrest that "he packed all his belongings, permanently left Florida to drive across the country because he believes [Johnson] is speaking to him personally through the television and via ESP and that he will be with her no matter what," according to an application for a restraining order against him filed by Johnson's mother, Teri.

Also found in O'Ryan's car were love letters, clippings and other information on Johnson, the court documents said, along with items such as duct tape and "zip ties."

The application said Johnson fears for her life.

"She is extremely upset by this incident and her entire family and those around her are all extremely concerned and fearful that the respondent might try to kidnap her or harm her in an effort to make good on his statements."

O'Ryan was attempting to contact Johnson at the studio, and was detained by security while police were summoned because no one knew who he was, Teri Johnson said in an affidavit accompanying the application.

"It was extremely disturbing to us that this person had so much information on my daughter's life," the court documents said.

"This incident has caused us severe emotional distress. We have been on the move ever since and have not been able to rest at all for fear that this disturbed person will attempt to make good on his statements and attempt to harm my daughter and possibly us as well."

A temporary restraining order was put in place, with a hearing set next month on the matter.

If convicted, O'Ryan could be sentenced to up to four years in prison, prosecutors said. It was not known whether he had retained an attorney.

"The appropriate authorities are handling the matter," a Dancing With the Stars" spokeswoman said.

"The matter has been turned over to the Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office. It is currently an ongoing investigation and we are confident that it will be handled appropriately by all involved," said Johnson's publicist, Susan Madore.

Johnson won a gold medal on the balance beam and three silver medals in the women's team, all-around and floor competitions at the 2008 Olympic games in Beijing, China.

CNN's Marc Balinsky contributed to this report.

All About Shawn JohnsonDancing with the Stars

  • E-mail
  • Save
  • Print