Documentation is key in reporting harassment

Published 7:54 am Wednesday, August 15, 2018

By Ginger Broomes

The Orange Leader

Under Texas Penal Code Section 42.07, Texas law designates harassment as an offense if, with intent to harass, annoy, alarm, abuse, torment, or embarrass another, a person:

(1) initiates communication and in the course of the communication makes a comment, request, suggestion, or proposal that is obscene;

(2) threatens, in a manner reasonably likely to alarm the person receiving the threat, to inflict bodily injury on the person or to commit a felony against the person, a member of the person’s family or household, or the person’s property.

In today’s world, that is more and more likely to be in the form of an unwanted text message or a post on social media. Now that you know what it is, what can you do about it?

According to Detective Stephen Ward of the Orange Police Department, any action against you that is “repetitive, annoying, or alarming” would be construed as harassment.

Documentation is key. If you feel threatened, whether it be by an ex or a disgruntled contractor you have used – document, document, document. Use your phone to take screen shots of texts sent to you. Record video if possible and file a police report as soon as you can, armed with the aforementioned information.

“Harassment is a crime,” Ward continued. In the meantime, he also recommended contacting your phone’s service provider to block them from contacting you.

Once you have filed a complaint to police, a detective will be assigned to review your case, and interview all parties involved to determine if a criminal offense has occurred.

“It’s never too early to get police involved,” Detective Ward said.

If convicted of stalking, the first-time offender faces up to six months in county jail and/or significant fines.

Armed with proof, you should call the Orange Police Department at 883-1026 to file an official report, should you feel that you are a victim of stalking or harassment.