Olympian gymnast Shawn Johnson broke her silence on Good Morning America Tuesday about her harrowing experience with a stalker who had planned to kidnap her, and how she eventually mustered up the courage to face him in court.
Watch the clip on RadarOnline.com
As RadarOnline.com has previously reported, on June 11, 36-year-old Florida native Robert O’Ryan was convicted on charges of felony stalking and commercial burglary after a 2009 incident in which he’d jumped the fences at CBS Television City in Los Angeles during filming of Dancing With the Stars (Johnson was a contestant on the show). In his car, police found two loaded guns, duct tape, a wooden club and a scary note he had written to the Olympic star.
Johnson said that it was no easy task to face her stalker in court.
“I didn’t want to — I kept asking if I could stay in the back room or go home,” Johnson told GMA’s Robin Roberts. “I had to stand up for everybody else out there that’s been through it. I just had to go there and kind of help put him away.
“Before all this happened, I thought I was invincible,” she continued. “I thought nothing like this could happen to me and nothing would ever happen. But it was a reality check. It made me change the way I go about everyday life — you hate to say, it’s real.”
The Dancing With the Stars champ also had a message for others who find themselves being stalked or harassed.
“Stay strong. Stand up. Have a voice,” she said. “Tell people what you’re feeling, how you’re feeling and you can never be too safe. It’s better safe than sorry.”
In finding him guilty, the judge also ruled that O’Ryan was mentally insane. He could spend the rest of his life in a mental institution
More with Johnson airs on Tuesday’s edition of Nightline, which airs on ABC 11:35/10:35c.