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Monday, December 1, 2008
Ex-Badger Taylor charged with threatening AD, tennis star

Associated Press

MADISON, Wis. -- A former Wisconsin football player was charged Monday with threatening athletic director Barry Alvarez, tennis star Maria Sharapova and their families.

Leonard Taylor Jr., 32, of Indianapolis, faces one felony stalking count and one misdemeanor count of telephone harassment. Online court records didn't list an attorney for Taylor. His father told police Taylor has been diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic and hasn't taken his medication for three months, according to the criminal complaint filed in Dane County Circuit Court.

Taylor played defensive back for the Badgers from 1995 to 1998, when Alvarez was the coach. Taylor also played briefly for the Madison Mad Dogs professional indoor football team.

According to the complaint, Wisconsin head athletic trainer Denny Helwig told police in September that Taylor had been calling Alvarez's office phone and leaving six to seven disturbing messages each night since the beginning of the football season.

Helwig said the messages weren't threatening, but described them as "bizarre."

Taylor left similar messages during the 2007 football season, Helwig said. Those messages consisted mostly of complaining that a television network hadn't paid him money it owed him, a UW employee identified only as "LW" in the complaint told police.

Police contacted Taylor by phone the same day they took Helwig's information. Taylor was apologetic and said Alvarez had nothing to worry about.

He said he thought he could talk to his former coach about his problems, but he would stop calling.

The employee identified as "LW" told detectives Wednesday that Taylor left 29 voicemails on Alvarez's office phone on Nov. 24 and Nov. 25.

The profanity-laced messages accused Sharapova of committing various injustices against him. He said he wanted to marry her and kill her and her family.

Taylor also said he intended to come to Madison and kill Alvarez and his family if unspecified demands weren't met within 24 hours.

"Barry, you heard that [expletive] message, [expletive] it. I hate that [expletive] Maria Sharapova ... I just want to look at you one [expletive] last time before I pull the [expletive] trigger, Barry," one message said.

Leonard Taylor Sr. told detectives his son hasn't been seeing his therapist and refused to go to a hospital for treatment, the complaint said.

Taylor was arrested Friday in Indiana, the Wisconsin State Journal reported Monday. A message The Associated Press left for a University of Wisconsin Police spokesman Monday afternoon wasn't immediately returned.

Alvarez referred questions to Amy Toburen, a spokeswoman in University of Wisconsin-Madison Chancellor Biddy Martin's office. Toburen didn't immediately return a message late Monday afternoon.