By Sara Jean Green / The Seattle Times
SEATTLE — After a 47-year-old Seattle man got a massage in May, he was stalked for months by his masseur, who showed up at the victim’s gym and coffee shop, slopped paint on his vehicle and doorstep, twice appeared naked in his front yard, and installed a tracking device on his Jeep, King County prosecutors say.
Christopher Piscatella, 34, allegedly became fixated on the client, who found Piscatella on massagefinder.com, an online directory for professional massage therapists offering therapeutic massage, court records say. But a search of the state Department of Health’s website found no record of Piscatella as a licensed massage therapist.
Prosecutors last week charged Piscatella with felony stalking, stalking, second-degree malicious mischief and two counts of indecent exposure, and accuse him of continuing to stalk the victim even after Piscatella was served with an anti-stalking court order last month. Piscatella was arrested in his car Nov. 20, a half-mile from the victim’s previous residence in Seattle’s Green Lake neighborhood; he remains jailed in lieu of $150,000 bail, jail and court records show.
The first three digits of Piscatella’s cellphone number is an area code in Houston, Texas. He does not appear to have a criminal history in Washington.
According to the charges:
After receiving a massage from Piscatella at Piscatella’s Belltown apartment on May 12, the client left and later that day, received a text message from Piscatella asking him out on a date. The client declined.
Weeks later, on June 25, Piscatella joined the client’s gym. In late July, he started showing up at the Starbucks attached to the client’s workplace and initiating conversations with him. After several, seemingly coincidental run-ins, the victim changed his schedule to avoid Piscatella.
On Sept. 3, the victim filed a police report after finding white paint had been poured on the hood of his Jeep, with “War (expletive)” painted on the side. He initially believed someone had mistakenly targeted his vehicle. On Sept. 9, the victim — who was on vacation — was notified by someone that garbage had been heaped on his front lawn and a machete and crowbar had been left next to his doorstep. While the victim was still out of town, he had friends install video-surveillance cameras outside his house.
Later in September, the charges say Piscatella texted the victim, who did not respond. Soon after, on Sept. 22 and 23, plants and letters were delivered to the victim’s door. The handwritten letters, which included sexual imagery and referred to the victim as Piscatella’s lover, were signed “Chris P.,” according to the charges. The victim filed another police report and texted Piscatella, telling him he needed to stop.
The charges accuse Piscatella of pouring paint on the victim’s doorstep on Oct. 12, 14 and 15, and pouring paint on his Jeep on Oct. 13 and 18, even though on the latter date, the victim had parked three blocks from his house.
The victim was granted an anti-stalking protection order and moved into an Airbnb for fear Piscatella would show up at his house while he had his two young sons staying with him. While at the Airbnb on Oct. 19, the victim received a notification on his cellphone that something had activated his home-surveillance cameras. He checked the camera footage in real time and saw Piscatella walking up to his house, naked but for a pair of boots. The victim remotely activated an alarm and Piscatella walked away.
After again filing a police report, the victim told a Seattle police detective that he was so afraid of Piscatella that he sold his house and his Jeep and moved to a new neighborhood.
On Oct. 29, staff at the dealership where the victim sold his Jeep contacted him and reported that they had found a tracking device underneath the vehicle. The victim turned the device over to police and detectives determined the SIM card was registered to Piscatella.
On Nov. 18, the victim found his new car, parked outside his new residence, covered in spray paint. Later that night, he received another notification on his phone that there was activity outside his old address. The camera footage showed Piscatella walk up to the house, wearing a towel around his waist. As he approached the doorstep, he dropped the towel, exposing himself to the camera and shaking his body, the charges say.
Piscatella was arrested in Green Lake two days later. He is to be arraigned Dec. 3.