May 4, 2011

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. (AP) — A man was charged with stalking tennis star Serena Williams after police say they caught him trying to walk into her gated subdivision in South Florida.

Palm Beach Gardens police said 40-year-old Patenema Ouedraogo told officers he was going to Williams' home Monday night "because he loves her" and "he knows the feelings are reciprocal."

An attorney for Williams said he had recently obtained a restraining order after Ouedraogo tried to contact the player three times.

Subdivision security guards stopped Ouedraogo as he walked in a few minutes after Williams' sister, Venus, returned home, police said. The guards had been told to call police immediately if they saw someone matching Ouedraogo's description.

It was unclear if Ouedraogo has an attorney. He is being held on $25,000 bond.

According to the police report, Serena Williams' attorney, Malcolm Cunningham, got a restraining order to keep Ouedraogo away from Williams after he followed her to a meeting with her agent in Los Angeles in October.

Cunningham told police Ouedraogo pretended to be Williams' assistant in Tampa earlier this year while she was at the Home Shopping Network. Ouedraogo allegedly convinced HSN security he worked for Williams and was given access her dressing room. Williams had him escorted from the building, but Ouedraogo waited outside for the rest of the day.

Cunningham said Ouedraogo also followed Williams to a radio interview in South Florida last month and demanded to speak with her.

"It's been unsettling for her," Cunningham said in an interview Tuesday. "He continues to show up places including her community."

On Monday, Palm Beach Gardens police say, Ouedraogo told them he knew where Williams would be because he'd been following her on Twitter.

Police said that in Ouedraogo's backpack they found a book written by Williams and a letter to actor Tyrese Gibson asking him to arrange a meeting between Ouedraogo and Williams.

Ouedraogo called Williams "his dream soul mate" and said he would "do anything to meet her and let her know," according to the report.


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