It turns out the locally respected labyrinth in Bernal Heights is the brainchild of a man accused of stalking a woman, according to authorities.
Self-proclaimed artist Cesar Lopez, 34, of San Francisco is charged with one felony count of stalking in connection with a December incident in which he allegedly invited a woman to the labyrinth on Bernal Heights Boulevard in order to conduct a “cleansing ceremony.”
Police said they don’t know what Lopez meant by “cleansing,” but they did say that he had been stalking the now-26-year-old woman since she was 16.
When they met 10 years ago, prosecutors said, Lopez agreed to tutor the girl in Spanish at the Mission Branch Library and she reportedly agreed to teach him English.
About two years later, the girl reportedly wanted to sever the relationship when Lopez became romantically interested. But Lopez allegedly carried on a one-sided relationship for the next eight years, sending letters and creating a rambling blog in order to communicate with her, prosecutors said.
He also apparently built the labyrinth near the woman’s home using stones from Bernal Hill. At one point, prosecutors said, he sent the woman a picture of a labyrinth “in the obvious image of her face” — it even included her glasses. He has since taken down that labyrinth.
But one design remains, and it is revered by neighbors.
According to labyrinthlocator.com, the Bernal Heights piece was built anonymously in August 2008.
“We don’t know who started it,” the website says, “but people are keeping it up and walking it daily.”
An Examiner.com blog, which is unaffiliated with The San Francisco Examiner, described the labyrinth as adding “a sacred element” to the area.
The artist behind it was finally exposed last year, when the woman called police after Lopez allegedly became even creepier. On the woman’s birthday, prosecutors said, Lopez mailed her a card with a flower in it. Then he emailed her saying he wanted her to attend a cleansing at the labyrinth site.
The woman agreed to meet with him, but police showed up instead.
Lopez made clear on a blog dedicated to his relationship with the woman that he wasn’t pleased that police were called.
“I used to paint your portrait 10 years ago,” he wrote. “Hopping (sic) you keep it. It’d be too bad for me to know that a cop used it after eating chocolate donuts at a Starbucks.”
On Friday, Lopez was held to answer on the charge following a preliminary hearing. His next court date is scheduled for Feb. 15.