Crimes Against Personal Security
Crimes against personal security encompass situations where a person feels threatened through physical intimidation or through communications. The conduct can include telephone calls, emails, text messages, postings on a website, or physically following another person. These cases may arise in any number of circumstances and may be reported because the person alleging the Harassment is unusually sensitive or misunderstands the nature of the communication. Carefully analyzing the language and actions of the accused are very important because these crimes require specific criteria that is not always met by the conduct of the accused. It is also important to begin an investigation immediately as preserving electronic communications of both the accused and the victim can be important to creating a successful defense.
Malicious Harassment occurs where a person maliciously and intentionally causes physical injury to another person, or physically damages the property of another person because of the actor’s perception of the other person’s race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, or mental, physical, or sensory handicap. Malicious Harassment can also occur where a person threatens a specific person or group of persons and places that person or persons in reasonable fear of harm to person or property.
Stalking occurs where a person intentionally and repeatedly harasses or repeatedly follows another person and the person being harassed or followed is placed in fear that the stalker intends to injure the person, another person, or property of the person or of another person. The feeling of fear must be one that a reasonable person in the same situation would experience. The crime also requires that the person accused of stalking intends to frighten, intimidate, or harass the person and knows or reasonably should have known that the person is afraid, intimidated or harassed.
Telephone Harassment occurs when a person who, with intent to harass, intimidate, torment or embarrass another person, makes a telephone call to such person using lewd, lascivious, profane, indecent, or obscene words or language or suggesting the commission of any lewd or lascivious act; or anonymously or repeatedly or at an extremely inconvenient hour or threatens to inflict bodily injury on the person or property of the person called or any member of his family or household.
Cyberstalking occurs where a person, with intent to harass, intimidate, torment or embarrass another person, makes an electronic communication to such a person or a third party using lewd, lascivious, indecent, or obscene content, anonymously or repeatedly, or while threatening to inflict injury on the person or property of the person or any member of his or her family or household. Cyberstalking can include communications through text, email, and postings on websites such as Facebook or other social media sites.