Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Bensalem man head to trial on stalking charges

Posted: Wednesday, November 12, 2014
She thought he wanted a haircut. But the hairdresser soon learned Kenneth Lynch wanted much more, she testified Wednesday.
The 27-year-old woman recounted her June 2 encounter at the preliminary hearing for Lynch, 49, of Bensalem, who is accused of harassing and stalking her after she rejected him.
The woman testified she was finishing a haircut at the Bensalem salon where she worked for two years when Lynch walked into the shop and walked up to her station before returning to the waiting area. She recalled previously seeing Lynch at the salon at least a month earlier.
When another stylist offered to take Lynch, he refused, saying he wanted the other woman to cut his hair, the woman testified.
When she went to take Lynch — who police described as a regular customer — to her chair, he told her he wanted to ask her a question first. He then headed outside, and the woman followed, but remained in the doorway of the business, she said.
The woman testified Lynch told her: “I have been wanting you for a long time. I would like to know if you would go on a date with me?”
The woman said she politely declined, telling Lynch she had a boyfriend. He shook her hand and started walking slowly to his car, the woman said.
He did not get a haircut that day, she added.
But what Lynch did was continue his quest to learn personal information about the hairdresser including her address and last name, according to Michael McGrath, who worked at the cellphone store in the same shopping center.
McGrath testified that Lynch approached him outside his work place and asked if he could help him find a “friend” on Facebook, but he only knew her first name. McGrath said he took Lynch’s phone and pretended to look for the woman’s profile before telling him he couldn’t find it.
Lynch told him that he had asked the woman out on a date and she turned him down, McGrath said. Lynch also told him he really liked the woman and wanted to have sex with her, though he was married, he said.
McGrath also recalled Lynch telling him that he was going to “kill” his friend for refusing to go into the salon and try and get more information about the woman.
The next day — June 3 — McGrath told employees at the salon about his encounter with Lynch, he said.
Later that day, Lynch returned to the cellphone store again looking for McGrath’s help finding information about the woman, he said.
Lynch also said that he didn’t care if the woman rejected him, he was going to have sex with her anyway, McGrath testified. Salon employees called police who took Lynch into custody in the shopping center parking lot.
Bensalem Detective Kevin Cornish testified that Lynch provided him with details about his date plans with the woman in an interview while he was in police custody. They included a steak dinner at a nearby chain restaurant and then take her to a nearby park and have sex with her in his car, Cornish said.
The detective testified that Lynch also told him that as soon as the interview was over he planned to continue his pursuit of the woman’s last name and his plan to have sex with her. He also told Cornish he asked other people to help him find out information about the woman, and called the salon twice as part of that effort.
Lynch’s attorney, Ron Greenblatt, argued that while his client’s actions were strange they were not illegal.
“Socially awkward is not a crime,” he said.
Bucks County prosecutor Joanna Cerino countered that Lynch’s pattern of conduct clearly shows he was determined to pursuit the woman despite her rejection.
“That is not awkward, that is alarming,” she added.
District Judge Joseph Falcone agreed with the prosecution and he held Lynch for trial on all charges; he remains free after posting 10 percent of $50,000 bail.

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