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Harassing Telephone Calls

I have been receiving "nasty" telephone calls from a former daughter-in-law who was just released from a rehab facility (apparently not a success) - she is using a cell phone owned by another party. I have the number but cannot locate the owner. Does Massachusetts law allow me to contact the service provider to have the owner stop the person from using the telephone? All the calls have been left on my answering machine so I have actual proof of the calls. Would an attorney be able to get this to stop? -- (Posted by EndofRope on the Forum Chat Room.)


The following response was posted by KCWesq.: I am not sure what you mean by "nasty." Massachusetts General Law c. 265, s. 43A defines the crime of "criminal harassment." That chapter and section states that "Whoever willfully and maliciously engages in a knowing pattern of conduct or series of acts over a period of time directed at a specific person, which seriously alarms that person and would cause a reasonable person to suffer substantial emotional distress, shall be guilty of the crime of criminal harassment and shall be punished by imprisonment in a house of correction for not more than two and one-half years or by a fine of not more than $1,000, or by both such fine and imprisonment. Such conduct or acts described in this paragraph shall include, but not be limited to, conduct or acts conducted by mail or by use of a telephonic or telecommunication device including, but not limited to, electronic mail, internet communications or facsimile communications."


You do have the opportunity to go to the district court in your community and request that a criminal complaint be issued against the person that is harassing you. A complaint will issue against her and she will be given an opportunity to "show cause" as to why the charges you are bringing against her should not go forward. If she cannot "show cause," she will be formally charged with this crime. You may also want to report the matter to the local police, depending - again - on what you mean by "nasty."


For more information or to post a question, visit our MA Criminal Law Discussion Forum.

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