Former NAU professor arrested for stalking, harassment

Melissa Santana was arrested on multiple charges including stalking, harassment and creating false statements.

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. - A now former associate professor at Northern Arizona University is being accused of stalking and harassing several people, including a student and members of the Flagstaff and Globe hotshot fire crews.

Melissa Ann Santana, 36, was an interior design associate professor at NAU. A university spokesperson tells 12 News Santana was let go on November 1st. Santana was arrested on campus on October 30th.

According to court documents, Santana used a long list of identities, phone numbers and social media profiles to harass and stalk several people. One of her alleged targets was a student at NAU. 

The student says he met Santana on Craigslist and just days later, the harassment began. He says someone by the name of Amanda started stalking him through both his Facebook page and Yelp account. He says someone then defamed him on NAU’s Facebook page. In one instance, it was written that he had STDs.

Court documents show Santana also allegedly harassed members of the Flagstaff hotshot crew and their families.

Several men say they matched with Santana on Tinder. Investigators found she had multiple Tinder accounts under the names Ann, Amanda and Kendall.

One firefighter says he had a brief sexual relationship with Santana. Once it ended, his car was repeatedly vandalized and he started receiving threatening texts from unknown numbers. One text read in part, “Go die in the fire.”

In September of last year, the Flagstaff hotshot crew superintendent received an email from a woman who identified herself as Cathy McCarthy. In it, she claimed three crew members gave her 15-year-old daughter alcohol and then raped her.

The three men she named in the email were immediately pulled from duty.

Investigators discovered it was all a lie and Santana was behind the email and she does not have a 15-year-old daughter.

Santana also reportedly used unknown phone numbers to text Flagstaff and Globe hotspot supervisors that one of their firefighters had impregnated her.

According to court documents, Santana was linked to five Tinder accounts, ten Facebook profiles and six phone numbers.

She was arrested on NAU’s campus on October 30th. 12 News spoke with NAU students about Santana’s arrest.

“We come to school assuming that it's safe and hear something like uh more or less sexual harassment occur and not be reported by the school especially by one of the school's employees is a little bit alarming,” said Elliott Dominguez, a junior at NAU.

“I think there should be more communication definitely between students and faculty,” said NAU senior Heather Lake.

Santana is scheduled for arraignment on November 29th.

© 2017 KPNX-TV


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