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Man Accused of Stalking Gymnast

February 25, 1998

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) _ A University of Oklahoma journalism student accused of stalking Olympic gymnast Shannon Miller has returned to Connecticut and plans to withdraw from classes, his lawyer says.

Joseph Whitney Vogt, 25, was charged Monday with a misdemeanor. He was arrested on campus and released on $2,000 bond.

Miller filed a report Sunday contending she had been stalked for more than a month and sought a victim’s protection order against Vogt. She contacted police after Vogt rear-ended a car driven by her boyfriend Saturday in Norman.

``There was no malicious intent at all,″ Vogt’s lawyer, Terry Pierce, said Tuesday. ``He was not trying to hit her boyfriend.″

Pierce said his client never threatened Miller.

``He felt like he was a friend of hers; he was also a fan,″ Pierce said. ``They shared meteorology notes with each other.″

Pierce said the two lived in the same apartment complex and telephoned each other.

``Apparently she got uncomfortable at some point, but she didn’t give him any indication of that,″ Pierce said. ``Because it is Shannon Miller, everyone gets a little scared.″

Pierce said Vogt returned to Connecticut to be with his parents and didn’t plan to return to Oklahoma except for required court appearances.

Miller told police that Vogt followed her to classes, watched her from her apartment parking lot and phoned her repeatedly.

``What I’m hoping for is that things can calm down and get back into perspective,″ Pierce said. ``He’s a shy guy, very unimposing. He has never been in trouble before in his life.″

Miller helped guide the U.S. women to the gymnastics team title and also won a gold medal on the balance beam in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.

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