A personal account by Derek O’Neill
Dealing with a Stalker
It may come as a shock to many who read these words to learn that for years, I have been the target of vicious attacks on my character and reputation. I have chosen not to share this information publicly in order to protect the person perpetuating these actions, who is mentally ill. She is someone who has attended my workshops and trainings, and when her inappropriate actions toward me began years ago, I attempted to assist her in getting the help she needed rather than pursue legal avenues. I have spent countless hours speaking both with this woman and with her family members to offer support and guidance about how to connect her with the kinds of professionals who could help treat her mental illness. Sadly, after years of being patient and great effort spent with the loving intention to help this woman help herself, she has refused to accept many of the resources offered to her and continued her abusive behavior toward me. I must now choose a different path, and I am sharing the details of her actions so that I can also share the steps I have taken in service to the five human values of Love, Truth, Peace, Non-Violence and Right Conduct.
For the past eight years, Tatiana (Tanya) Schneider, MD, a practicing psychiatrist in New York, has executed a full-scale attack on my reputation and character. She has stalked me at my home, at business events and online. She has written hundreds, if not thousands, of emails and social media posts about me, making horrific allegations of rape, abuse, theft and even murder. She has routinely contacted those who follow me on social media – such as colleagues, business partners, media outlets and others who have attended my public events – and barraged them with false allegations of heinous things I had supposedly done. On several occasions, Tanya has come to my home in Ireland, where my two young grandchildren often play in the yard; on one of these occasions, security footage caught her vandalizing my home. On another, a neighbor prevented her from grabbing my granddaughter, Alexa, who was playing out front. There is an open warrant for her arrest in that country, should she ever set foot in it again.
Legal Action and the Proof of Innocence
The abuse did not stop with direct contact or social media assaults. Tanya has posted the same false, defamatory accusations in online forums, using various aliases in an attempt to make it look like multiple people were making the same claims.
In early 2017, the New York District Attorney’s office decided to press charges against Tanya based on her stalking and malicious behavior toward me. She pled guilty to disorderly conduct, admitting in a signed legal document that all of the allegations she had made were completely false, and that her actions were attempts to get attention.
On February 28, 2017, the State of New York issued an Order of Protection against Tanya for two years, forbidding her to make contact with me or others associated with me. She was also ordered to begin treatment with a licensed psychotherapist. The order states that failure to obey the terms may subject her to prosecution and potential incarceration for up to seven years.
Unfortunately, even after seeing legal documents of Tanya’s guilty plea to disorderly conduct, brought against her by the State of New York, and the resulting Order of Protection – the moderators of the forums, where Tanya has posted about me, declined to remove the posts, saying that they needed evidence that the aliases used were created by Tanya. While I understand the moderators’ desire to be thorough on this point, it has been very frustrating to bear the burden of proof of my innocence, when the evidence for it is so clear.
Even with such severe legal penalties looming for breaking the Order of Protection that was put in place earlier this year, Tanya has continued to contact me, my friends, and my business associates – by phone, by email, and on social media. These actions are a clear violation of the Order. Unwilling to leave myself, my family, or my friends and colleagues at risk for further harassment or potential danger, I was left no choice but to report the violations of her Order to the authorities. If I were in New York State, I would be very concerned that she is still practicing medicine.
Putting an End to Bullying Behavior
A few years ago, I published a book on Bullying, in which I dedicated a chapter to the modern issue of cyber bullying. My heart goes out to the children who are most impacted by this hurtful form of abuse. Many go on to commit suicide or experience low self-esteem and depression.
While technology experts are working on ways to help, with things like filters to detect bullying language on Facebook and other outlets, I believe that we need to modernize legal systems, not only to capture language and activity indicative of potential personal harm but also to ensure that those who have been convicted of crimes adhere to appropriate technology practices. Violations should also be detectable across state borders.
It is my sincerest wish that those struggling with mental illness find help. A bully is usually someone who is suffering in some way, whether from past hurts or an inability to believe in themselves without putting someone else down. A bully doesn’t feel complete on their own terms. When we work to stop bullying, using all the resources at our disposal, it can have a positive effect and help stop the chain of abuse.
The Path of Service
I have spent my whole life helping people. If you look at my website (derekoneill.com) and my charity’s website (sq-foundation.org), you will see my service in action. I have very carefully considered the legal action I am now taking with Tanya to ensure that it is indeed of service to her and to all concerned. I do not take this action lightly.
Despite all that she has done and the damage she has attempted to cause to my reputation, loved ones and livelihood, I do not hold ill will toward Tanya. As I write these words, I still hold compassion for her. My hope is that the criminal charges she will now face will open another opportunity for Tanya to get help and prevent her from doing anything that will have a devastating effect on her and her family.
I know that there are others out there who may not like me; some may even hate me. If so, they are only projecting their own shadow. With every person who has ever crossed my path, I have only tried to help as I best I could with the tools I had.
May all beings in the world learn to love themselves and others. Only then will we realize that what we do unto others, we do unto ourselves and what we do unto ourselves, we do unto others. We are all One. We all seek the sanctity of inner peace, and this peace is available to all who are willing to find it inside their own heart.