Priest Jailed in Stalking of Conan O'Brien

By Bruce Lambert
New York Times
November 8, 2007

A priest from Boston has been charged with stalking and harassing the talk show host Conan O'Brien, law enforcement officials said last night.

The suspect, David Ajemian, was arrested on Friday when he tried to attend a taping of NBC's "Late Night With Conan O'Brien" program at Rockefeller Center, the police said. The priest is being held in jail for a court-ordered psychiatric examination, and is due back in court tomorrow.

Court papers quote from menacing postcards and letters — at least some written on a parish letterhead — that Father Ajemian is alleged to have sent to Mr. O'Brien's home and television studio for more than a year. The letters continued even after the priest was asked to stop, law enforcement officials said.

A Feb. 20 letter said: "I'm told by some of those officious little usher people that you're overbooked. Is this the way you treat your most dangerous fans? You owe me big-time, pal. I want a public confession before I even consider giving you absolution."

An April 26 letter, signed Padre, said, "I am not Seung Cho," apparently alluding to the gunman at Virginia Tech. The letter continued: "Even if I did once look out on that dark and dreaded doorway on West 72 Street, remember Frank Costello once dodged a bullet in your building, and so can you." The gangster Frank Costello was shot and wounded in the lobby of the Majestic on West 72nd Street in 1957.

The priest said in his correspondence that he had followed Mr. O'Brien's career since they both attended Harvard.

When Father Ajemian was ordained in 2001, The Boston Herald said he was a "former Episcopalian who was turned on to religion partly by Federicio Fellini's 1960 film 'La Dolce Vita' ".

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston said that Father Ajemian has been placed on leave, The Associated Press said.

Calls for comment last night at NBC were not immediately returned.

Al Baker and Anemona Hartocollis contributed reporting.


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