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  1. #1
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    Aug 2010
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    Default Phone Harassment by a Caller in Another State

    My question involves criminal law for the state of: California and/or Washington


    My sister recently (this week) left her alcoholic husband and is in the process of getting a divorce from him. They live in California and I live in Washington. He keeps calling me, averaging about 5 to 8 calls an hour (all hours of the day) to the point where i had to turn my phone off. He's left messages asking me to call him and I don't want to call him. I've texted him that I don't want to talk to him and I don't want him to call me - yet he still does. He does this to my sister as well. He hasn't made any threats to me about her, but last weekend he did threaten her life (he used to be very physically abusive - hence she moved out). To my knowledge he hasn't made any threats over the phone since she left a couple days ago, just the usual profanity and "i'm going to take the kids away from you" etc etc.

    Anyway, that's the background. Is this considered phone harassment?

  2. #2

    Default Re: Phone Harassment from California Caller to Wa

    Probably. Has she done the two things she NEEDS to do in this situation....notifying the police....and working with an advocate from her local domestic violence program to get assistance with evaluating the situation for a restraining order?
    Catherine NeSmith
    Executive Director
    AARDVARC.org, Inc.
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  3. #3

    Default Re: Phone Harassment by a Caller in Another State

    Quote Quoting WAgirl123
    View Post
    My question involves criminal law for the state of: California and/or Washington


    My sister recently (this week) left her alcoholic husband and is in the process of getting a divorce from him. They live in California and I live in Washington. He keeps calling me, averaging about 5 to 8 calls an hour (all hours of the day) to the point where i had to turn my phone off. He's left messages asking me to call him and I don't want to call him. I've texted him that I don't want to talk to him and I don't want him to call me - yet he still does. He does this to my sister as well. He hasn't made any threats to me about her, but last weekend he did threaten her life (he used to be very physically abusive - hence she moved out). To my knowledge he hasn't made any threats over the phone since she left a couple days ago, just the usual profanity and "i'm going to take the kids away from you" etc etc.

    Anyway, that's the background. Is this considered phone harassment?
    I worked as a civilian at the Columbus, OH PD for 25 years and at one time worked in the Telephone Reporting Unit where we could take certain reports over the phone so the officers on the street could work on more serious crimes. One report we took was Telephone Harassment and this is what we did there.

    We took the police report over the phone (most departments don't offer this so you would have to go to headquarters or see if an officer can come out and do the report) We took the person's personal information and did a general summary of what the problem was. If a threat of bodily harm was made, we had to send an officer out to take the report since we couldn't take the more serious reports of that nature. The person was then advised they could buy a copy of the report in 3 days in our Records Section (time limit is less now, I believe)

    We told the person to keep a list of all calls in a notebook, listing the date and time to show the frequency of the calls and to NEVER answer the phone. The phone company will not tap a phone if they know you are holding conversations with the individual who is harassing you.

    We then advised them to call the phone company and ask them to send the necessary papers to them so they could fill them out and return them later with the phone call record and police report.

    If approved, the phone company would tell them what dates they would tap the phone to record the calls. It is IMPERATIVE that NO ONE knows you are keeping track of calls, that you've made a police report or that the phone company is tapping the phone.

    Hope this helps a little

    If the tap is successful, the documents are sent to the Prosecutor's Office and they will set up a meeting with both parties where the problem is discussed and a warning issued to the suspect, warning them they could be fined and/or spend time in jail.

    This may not be procedure in all areas so check with your phone company and police department to see what they advise you to do.

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