Conan O’Brien rose from nowhere to become a top TV host. What you might not know about him, though, is that he was hounded for years by a Roman Catholic priest – who went on to become a serial celeb stalker.
The now-53-year-old O’Brien first hit the headlines in 1993 when NBC plucked him from relative obscurity to take over Late Night from veteran host David Letterman. The revamped show was not an instant hit, but O’Brien clung on – and by the time he left 16 years later he’d garnered critical acclaim.
He had also acquired his own “priest stalker,” having come to the attention of Father David Ajemian in September 2006. The reasons why Ajemian fixated upon O’Brien have never been entirely clear – the closest investigators ever came to an explanation is that the pair attended Harvard around the same time. But Ajemian insisted he had a “message” for O’Brien and that, for whatever reason, only he would understand.
He began bombarding O’Brien with letters, signing off as “your priest stalker,” and engineered meetings with the TV host’s parents. Matters escalated when Ajemian tried – unsuccessfully – to get a seat in the Late Night audience. The Boston priest sent a letter to the chat show host saying he’d flown to New York “in the dimming hope you might finally acknowledge me.” In subsequent letters he asked, “Is this the way you treat your most dangerous fans??? You owe me big time, pal.”
Following an apparent death threat, in which Ajemian warned O’Brien of others who had “dodged a bullet,” the situation came to a head in 2007, after the priest tried to bust into a Late Night recording only to be arrested. He was deemed mentally capable and eventually pleaded guilty to stalking O’Brien.
Ajemian told the court he “never meant to cause anxiety or to upset anyone” and escaped with a $95 fine and a two-year restraining order, banning him from making contact with O’Brien. He was subsequently booted out of the Catholic church in 2008 for disobeying his bishop by quitting a mental health treatment program. However, his infatuation with O’Brien was seemingly, finally, at an end. Unfortunately, that was because Ajemian had moved on to a fresh target. In 2010, he was charged with the harassment of a new victim, WCVB-TV news anchor Anthony Everett…