Stalker of SSL city council member charged again after violating protective order

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SOUTH SALT LAKE (ABC4 News) – A South Salt Lake city councilmember faced her stalker again in court Monday afternoon after he allegedly violated her protective order against him.

Councilmember Corey Thomas said she first met her stalker, Francis Carney when she was campaigning in 2017. He got her number off one of her flyers and began calling and texting her.

RELATED: South Salt Lake City councilmember speaks out after her stalker pleaded guilty

“He had a lot of photos of me posted on his Facebook page, which made me very fearful. Just some of his comments were very threatening. I feared for my safety because he lives two blocks away from me,” Thomas told ABC4 News back in September 2018.

She added, “He told me we were going to get married in the cathedral and that he didn’t want me to die alone. He sent some very inappropriate photos that were unexpected and traumatizing.”

Probable cause documents from 2018 stated, “Carney repeatedly sent Thomas messages on Facebook messenger. Some of the messages contained threats, obscene photographs, and foul language. One of the messages indicated the defendant had made copies of Thomas’ photograph and put them on his ceiling so he could wake up and see her.”

Carney was served with a permanent criminal stalking injunction after pleading guilty to stalking charges in September 2018. He was convicted two months later.

“I was really relieved and felt like this case was over and I was never going to have to deal with this individual again,” said Thomas.

But according to a police report, Carney allegedly violated the order on June 5th. Thomas told officers she received five missed phone calls and a voice message from a number she was unfamiliar with. She told investigators the caller said her name and moaned for several seconds into the phone before hanging up.

“I instantly recognized his voice. Like it was within seconds that I knew it was him. My stomach just dropped and I had this panic attack, now realizing that I’m going to have to go through this again,” said Thomas.

South Salt Lake Police said they called the phone number in question and talked to a man who identified himself as Frank Carney. Since Thomas is a city councilmember, investigators turned the case over to Unified Police Department to avoid conflict of interest. A UPD detective later reported Carney admitted to contacting Thomas.

“I think he is an individual that clearly cannot learn from his actions no matter what,” said Thomas.

On Monday, Thomas faced her stalker again during a court appearance over a video conferencing call. Carney’s attorney proposed relocating him out of the state, which Thomas opposed.

“I don’t support that because to me, it is just a slap on the wrist for someone who violated a stalking injunction. He could still call me if he’s out of state,” she said. “If he’s not going to account for his actions now, he could do it again and possibly, to someone else.”

She made a statement to Judge Park Parker and asked for Carney to remain in jail until his preliminary hearing to relieve South Salt Lake Police from providing patrol in her neighborhood. The judge said he is not considering a motion to let Carney out at this time.

Thomas said this incident has caused her trauma, stress, fear, PTSD, sleeplessness, and weight loss. After dealing with this ordeal multiple times, Thomas said she is looking into championing legislation to better protect victims of stalking.

“I think that people tend to not take this issue very seriously and so I think that’s one of the frustrations that I’ve had in all of this is that I feel that my voice has not been listened to. Statistically, this will happen to one in every five-woman,” she said.

She went on to say, “One thing that I would like to see happen is individuals convicted of stalking like Mr. Carney should have to register just like any other predator.”

Carney’s preliminary hearing is scheduled for August 4th. ABC4 News reached out to Carney’s attorney for comment, but have not heard back.

Rosie Nguyen is an award-winning journalist who joined the ABC4 News team as a reporter in January 2018. In September 2020, she embarked on a new journey as the anchor for the CW30 News at 7 p.m. Although she’s not out in the field anymore, she is continuing her passion for social justice and community issues through the nightly “In Focus” discussions.
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