Sunday, July 30, 2006

Massachusetts State Harassment Laws

CHAPTER 265. CRIMES AGAINST THE PERSON

Chapter 265: Section 43A. Criminal harassment; punishment

Section 43A. (a) 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.

I am currently looking into allegations that some of our opponents are in violation of this and other laws geared to protect the gay community from hate. I will update this thread as information becomes available.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hello-

I am seeking information about harassment and after reading the actual law I believe I have a case against someone that I unfortunately know. I am hoping that someone can help me with next steps. There is a woman (using that term loosley as she is only 22) who used to date my boyfriend. She has continued to make threats to me, has her friends stalk me, and send me messages over the internet that qualify as harassment. My boyfriend has tried to make her stop as well. We believe she is mentally ill and therefore my fear has increased slightly not knowing what she is capable of. Can someone help me figure out what to do?

John Hosty-Grinnell said...

Dear Anonymous,

I cannot give legal advice, but as two friends talking here is what I
would do. I would print up all the email that you have, write down all
the instances you can remember in detail, and go down to the police
station with this. I would file a complaint and send this person a
certified letter requesting they cease and desist. Another avenue open to you is to contact the attorney general's office. They should have a special office set up for domestic issues.

Barring that, I would get a lawyer involved and that should end this
problem. People only seem to misbehave when it doesn't cost them. ;)

Best of luck, let us know this turns out for you.

Anonymous said...

I have a question regarding my situation for harassment claim against multiple people. Just to get important facts regarding the matter I am a culinary arts student and most of this pertains to a hostile work and learning environment. A few weeks ago, there was a service, then obviously after-service clean-up. While throwing away old food, six students started to throw stale muffins intentionally toward my head with out any provocation all they said that is to justify their actions was our political beliefs (I am not arguing that they don't have a right to debate their right to have their ideals but there is no need to get violent). As the week continued these individuals started to make inflammatory statements as "Off with his head". I went to all the administration officials that could have power but was advised not to go to the police just yet. Now over the past three weeks I have been getting more threats from these people with absolutely no comments to incite any harshness towards me. Does this violate any laws concerning Harassment?

John Hosty-Grinnell said...

I'm not sure, you'd need to consult with someone that knows law in your area.

Anonymous said...

Hi! I'm wondering if you have any insight as to what could be done regarding this incident: I was looking for a parking spot in a lot in MA. There was a car ahead of me, and it looked like he was going to pull into an empty spot on our left. There was also an empty spot on our right, so I pulled into that. When I got out of the car, he yelled, "Thanks you stupid bitch, I was going to back into that spot." I flipped him off and then he said, "Yeah, you know you want to. Nice tits." This was while his family (with kids) were in the car. I called the police station to report it (I got his plate number and vehicle description) and I'm just wondering what they might do or if I can do anything else. I don't want this to just get written down somewhere and forgotten. Thanks for your time! I really appreciate any insight you might be able to give.

Anonymous said...

Hi I may have a case. I have been living in an apartment in mass for over ten years now. The rents cheap so it is tough to get another place. I have a neighbor that has been harassing me the hole time. He is a exvet. And has some serious issues. He came over and asked me to have a beer with him then he was making sexual advances toward me when I refused him he told me he used to kill people in there sleep. I told the land lady and asked her what I should do. She said if I do anything it might get worse. So I do nothing and years go by and he does it again like coming to my door when I'm in the shower and knocks on the door like the place is burning down I answer in a towel and he ask me for a cig. I tell him to leave me alone. Then while I'm sleeping he starts taping on the wall to wake me up. I tell the land lady she does not believe me. Well any how time goes by he does the type of thing over and over. I just figure the rents cheap so I have to deal with it. Just this year he leave a note in my mailbox that says.
Hope we can patch things up. Have tried to keep the noise to a minimum lately and you have done the same. You are a good neighbor and I would like really like to be friends again. ????
Now I thought it was over and I get this letter. I just walk by him and try to keep to myself. He then starts messing with my vehicles trying to break into one and the other he was crawling under I don't think he did anything but I caught him. So then one day I am going out to my truck and he is standing in his window naked starring at me. I tell the land lady and everyone else that is reasonable for the place. They tell me to not go to the police or it will get worse. So then I see him in the hall way and say to him. If you mess with me one more time I'm going to the police he says he is going to take me to court for harassment.????
I guess I will wait till the complaint comes in and file one against him. I just will have to bring as many people that I can to court with me as witnesses. Is there any good lawyers that you know of???

John Hosty-Grinnell said...

This is an issue you should bring up with a lawyer you trust; lawyers alone are qualified to give legal advice. If you would like to speak to a lawyer but do not know who is in your area I would contact the Massachusetts Bar Association.

Good luck with this, I can sympathize.

Teacher bullied by principal said...

I am looking for some advice. I am having a problem at work with a boss. I had a disagreement with her and she tried to get my position changed. She was unsuccessful. Since then, she is always looking for reasons to find wrongdoing with any situation. Recently she had a coworker ask me if it would be possible to help in a task. I was not demanded to do the assignment, just simply asked if I could help out. I said I would help, but unfortunately I said if I did the task I would not be able to do another assigned task. So my coworker, simply said it was no big deal it would be something she could do. Well, the next morning I was written up for refusing to do a duty. First, my boss never asked me, it was an equal coworker. I do not her port to my coworker, so I did not refuse a task to my boss. Second, my boss never talked to me about this. I received a letter and was spoken to by a higher up. A department boss. She has ignored me since. She has been on my case since she was unsucceful in getting my positioned changed. I feel uncomfortable at work and she gossips to a several coworkers and they come to me about it. I feel very nervous everyday. I am in a union and do not believe she can fire me because of this. But the every day negative attitude and all the uncomfortable stares is maing me very upset. What can be done? Is this bullying or some sort of harassment? I feel harassed and want help.