Northeast Times

Stalking actress gets ‘Batman’ fan a prison term

A Phil­adelphia judge last week wrote the fi­nal chapter in a long-run­ning seri­al in­volving the North­east’s “Bizarro World” Bat­man.

Com­mon Pleas Court Judge Joan A. Brown ordered Charles Nagle to serve the next two to four years in pris­on for vi­ol­at­ing his pro­ba­tion in a 1993 child-mo­lesta­tion case by stalk­ing Law and Or­der tele­vi­sion act­ress Kath­ryn Erbe.

The su­per­hero tie-in is that Nagle, 38, of Green­field Street near Pa­tri­cian Drive in Mod­ena Park, pre­vi­ously was best-known to reg­u­lar North­east Times read­ers, along with fre­quent Com­ic-Con and auto-show at­tendees, as the guy who liked to dress up in a Bat­man suit and hob-knob with the semi­fam­ous to ob­scure act­ors who ap­peared in the 1960s TV series fea­tur­ing Adam West as the Caped Cru­sader.

The de­tails of Nagle’s en­coun­ters with the law, both past and re­cent, are any­thing but hero­ic.

“I’m very pleased with the out­come,” said As­sist­ant Dis­trict At­tor­ney Al­isa Shver, who pro­sec­uted the pro­ba­tion vi­ol­a­tion case. “It really serves to pro­tect the com­munity from someone who the re­cord shows can’t con­trol his ap­pet­ites, who tar­gets wo­men and doesn’t be­lieve he did any­thing wrong.” 

Fol­low­ing his in­car­cer­a­tion, Nagle will have to serve three years’ state pro­ba­tion. He’s already on five years of fed­er­al pro­ba­tion as a res­ult of the Erbe case, and re­mains on the hook for $42,000 in resti­tu­tion to the act­ress.

Much like his per­form­ance last month in a fed­er­al courtroom in Brook­lyn, ac­cord­ing to pub­lished re­ports, Nagle let his tears get the best of him after Brown dropped the ham­mer on Oct. 19, Shver said. He re­fused to ad­mit that he had any ma­li­cious in­tent re­gard­ing Erbe and seemed as­ton­ished that Brown would send him to jail and sep­ar­ate him from his fam­ily after U.S. Dis­trict Judge Jack Wein­stein had failed to do so.

Nagle’s wife and two teen­age daugh­ters at­ten­ded but did not testi­fy at last week’s hear­ing. In­stead, the de­fense presen­ted an ex­pert med­ic­al wit­ness who test­i­fied that Nagle was a “low risk to re-of­fend,” Shver said. It was the same ex­pert who had test­i­fied for Nagle in fed­er­al court.

Mean­while, the pro­sec­u­tion called Jeff Stone, Nagle’s pro­ba­tion of­ficer in re­cent years, who test­i­fied that the de­fend­ant failed to no­ti­fy him in ad­vance of leav­ing Pennsylvania.

Brown found that Nagle vi­ol­ated his earli­er pro­ba­tion in a tech­nic­al sense by trav­el­ing to New York City without telling Stone, and that Nagle vi­ol­ated pro­ba­tion dir­ectly by his crimes against Erbe.

Brown could have ordered Nagle to serve up to 16 years be­hind bars.

Nagle avoided pris­on, at least ini­tially, in the 1993 case des­pite plead­ing guilty to cor­rupt­ing a minor, false im­pris­on­ment, in­de­cent as­sault and re­lated of­fenses. He was ac­cused of try­ing to rape an un­der­age girl that he grabbed off the street near his home, but the dis­trict at­tor­ney’ of­fice dropped an at­temp­ted-rape charge in ex­change for his plea. When the case fi­nally made it to sen­ten­cing phase in 1996, a judge gave him 18 years’ pro­ba­tion.

With­in weeks of that in­cid­ent, and while the case was still pending, po­lice again ar­res­ted Nagle after re­ceiv­ing a com­plaint that he grabbed a 14-year-old girl on the street and told her he wanted to have sex with her, only for her to fight him off and es­cape with the help of her 12-year-old sis­ter. A Mu­ni­cip­al Court judge later found Nagle not guilty of sev­er­al mis­de­mean­or charges in that case.

Nagle nev­er made it onto Pennsylvania’s sex of­fend­er re­gistry be­cause his case pre-dated the state’s Megan’s Law.

Much like a bat in the sun­light, Nagle dis­ap­peared from the pub­lic eye for a while as he pur­sued his in­terests in com­ic-book char­ac­ters and mu­sic. In 2005, he ad­op­ted the pseud­onym Chaz Rose and landed an in­ter­view with the North­east Times in which he dis­cussed his ec­cent­ric pas­time and boas­ted of his nu­mer­ous pub­lic ap­pear­ances as Bat­man.

The Times was un­aware of his true iden­tity and his sor­did past.

But Nagle soon ran afoul of the law again. In March 2010, au­thor­it­ies from New York teamed with Phil­adelphia po­lice to ar­rest Nagle at his home after Erbe com­plained that he had been stalk­ing her and her fam­ily in per­son, by mail and via the In­ter­net for about two years.

Erbe starred in Law and Or­der: Crim­in­al In­tent. In 1998, Nagle took his fam­ily to New York to view an on-loc­a­tion film­ing ses­sion and ex­changed greet­ings with the act­ress, who posed for a snap­shot with him. But when he began put­ting out creepy vibes, se­cur­ity es­cor­ted him away from the set.

In en­su­ing months, Nagle sent let­ters and mes­sages via so­cial-net­work­ing Web sites to Erbe and her fam­ily, in­clud­ing her 14-year-old daugh­ter, ac­cord­ing to the fed­er­al crim­in­al case. In some com­mu­nic­a­tions, he ex­pressed his de­vo­tion to the act­ress. In oth­ers, he taunted her fam­ily. In one in­stance, he pos­ted a doctored photo of Erbe’s daugh­ter with a cock­roach drawn on her face and a dia­logue bubble con­tain­ing the words, “I’m ugly.” ••

Re­port­er Wil­li­am Kenny can be reached at 215-354-3031 or wkenny@bsmphilly.com

You can reach at wkenny@bsmphilly.com.

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