February 07, 2020
A Philadelphia man was found guilty of harassment and stalking for his obsessive behavior towards NBC10 news anchor Tracy Davidson.
David E. Silvan, 42, was convicted during a one-day non-jury trial in Montgomery County earlier this week, during which it was revealed that Silvan had sent pornography, love letters, and lingerie to Davidson's home in Lower Merion, making her feel unsafe, according to the Norristown Times Herald.
Adding to Davidson's unease, Silvan had hand-delivered some of the packages to the anchor's home, as they were unmarked. The deliveries arrived throughout a period of two years from October 2017 to January 2019.
Davidson, 56, currently is co-anchor of the station's morning show "NBC10 News Today." She has been at the station since 1996.
Silvan never spoke to Davidson in person, and she testified that she had never met Silvan before the stalking began.
A #MontcoPa judge has convicted David E. Silvan, 42, of #Philadelphia, of charges of harassment & stalking, finding he annoyed & alarmed #NBC10 news anchor Tracy Davidson by sending her lewd, lascivious or threatening materials on multiple occasions between 2017 & 2019. pic.twitter.com/u0m4Txay1O— Carl Hessler Jr. (@MontcoCourtNews) February 5, 2020
Police identified Silvan as the sender of the packages using receipts for the porn and underwear that listed his billing address. Silvan's mother also identified his handwriting on the letters.
The judge allowed the stalker to remain free on bail until sentencing but ordered him to stay away from Davidson's house and not communicate with her in any way. Silvan will undergo psychiatric evaluations before sentencing.
The Times Herald reported that during the trial, Silvan's mom testified her son has brain injuries and hearing loss from a vehicle crash during his youth.
There is a disturbing history of news anchors being stalked, both in Philadelphia and elsewhere in the United States.
The most notorious local case involved another NBC10 anchor, Steve Levy. A man named Preston Lit became obsessed with Levy and thought the newsman was Jesus Christ and could control the weather. In 1996, when police came to arrest him on charges that he has been harassing Levy, Lit led police on a 120-mile chase from Atlantic City to Wilmington, Delaware.
Lit's criminal record also included a history planting fake bombs, and in 2004 police arrested him again after Lit trashed a New Jersey hotel room, painting the walls with graffiti, some of which reference Levy.
More recently in 2016, Christopher Nilan, of Upper Darby, served less than 6 months in prison but continues to serve 15 years of probation for stalking a CBS 3 reporter, whose identity was withheld in media reports.
The DelcoTimes reported that at his sentencing, Nilan told the judge he had no intention to stay away from his victim.
“I’m not going to give it up ... I don’t do that. I’m not going to give it up. I want to be with her. I’m the only person who can protect her."
Experts say there is an unsettling trend of women who work as TV news anchors and reporters being stalked. In a 2010 article in Psychology Today, forensic psychiatrist Dr. Park Deitz described the "typical delusional stalker" of TV news reporters as a male in his 30s, likely unemployed and not involved in any kind of romantic relationship:
"Desperately he yearns for a connection, yet sometimes tormented by mental disorders, he can find no way to fulfill his dreams. And as he sits alone day after day, it suddenly comes to him: an image of a beautiful young woman, friendly, engaging, cordial yet warm, talking to him, looking him in the eye. She appears every day at the same time, greeting him with a warm smile saying goodbye to him at the end: 'That's the news. See you tomorrow!'"