Tuesday October 15, 2002   |   wildcat.arizona.edu   |   online since 1994
UA News
Police Beat

Write a letter to the Editor

Contact the Daily Wildcat staff

Search the Wildcat archives

Browse the Wildcat archives

Employment at the Wildcat

Advertise in the Wildcat

Print Edition Delivery and Subscription Info

Send feedback to the web designers

Arizona Student Media info

UATV - student TV

KAMP - student radio

Daily Wildcat staff alumni

UA News
UAPD reports rise in obscene call complaints

By Devin Simmons
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tuesday October 15, 2002

More students are reporting harassing phone calls, but many still don't press charges

UA residence halls have been targeted in a string of uninvited phone calls that range in content from curious to obscene.

There were reports of 14 obscene phone calls to women in their dorms from Sept. 29 to Oct. 9, in what UA police describe as random harassment.

The calls have been made to residence Halls all across campus from Coronado, to Kaibab-Huachuca, Manzanita-Mohave and Coconino.

Cmdr. Brian Seastone of the University of Arizona Police Department said it is hard to tell whether the callers phone sporadically or whether the calls are part of a systematic plan.

"It is hard to tell if these calls are part of a pattern. They appear to be pretty random," he said.

The calls have come from a number of different sources, though they are usually made by men, and are often sexually explicit in nature.

Irene Anderson, director of the Oasis Center for Sexual Assault and Relationship Violence, said that a number of the people who come to seek counseling in her office do so as a result of harassing phone calls that they have received.

Anderson also said that the number of incidents of harassing phone calls really has not gone up, but what has happened is that more women are reporting them to the police.

"On the whole. society is becoming more aware, more sensitive to these types of problems," said Anderson. "So women are starting to feel more empowered to make a report."

In some instances, reports have been made to police but the victim has been unwilling to press charges or seek any further action. And in many cases incidents of obscene phone calls simply go unreported.

"Sometimes, people don't take action because they feel like they lack enough information to give police," Anderson said. "They also fear the attention that reporting it might bring and the idea that the person harassing them might retaliate."

Recent calls have included sexual innuendo and macabre statements.

A man called a woman in a dorm on Oct. 8 at about 9:30 p.m., claiming that he was just a boy who needed help with something. When the woman asked him what it was he needed help with, the man said he needed help to finish

masturbating, reports stated.

Two women who live in another residence hall reported three phone calls from a woman who said, among other things, "Guess what we are drinking? A blended baby."

Another woman reported a man called her three times, telling her a different name each time. During a third call, when the woman asked the man who was calling, he said "you know who."

Some students were unfazed by the reports of the phone calls.

"I don't think it is a big problem," said Emily Levy, an undecided freshman and an Arizona-Sonora Residence Hall resident. "It is just a phone call. It is not like they can really hurt you."

Judaic studies freshman Lindy Sherman said that some nights she can hear phones ringing down the whole hall, from room to room, as if the callers were trying everybody in the building.

"I'm not concerned or nervous," said Sherman. "It is pretty much just some stupid person screwing around."

Harassing phone calls are a violation of state law, Seastone said.

Anyone charged with making a harassing phone call faces a Class One misdemeanor, which carries a $2,500 fine and/or six months in jail. Additional charges, such as sexual assault, can be added depending on the content of the calls.

The type of response that is warranted for an obscene call differs case by case, Seastone said.

"It is up to the victim to assess the situation," he added. "If the situation is repeated, if the content of the call is graphic, if there is a fear that someone might be stalking you, then you certainly need to report it."


Webmaster - webmaster@wildcat.arizona.edu
© Copyright 2002 - The Arizona Daily Wildcat - Arizona Student Media