Harassment

The HUPD takes reports of harassment very seriously and each report will be investigated fully. Three are types of harassment under Massachusetts General Laws:

  1. Annoying telephone calls
  2. Criminal harassment
  3. Stalking

 

Harassment can take the form of personal contact, mail, telephone calls, email, facsimiles and internet communication. The specific action taken in any particular case depends on the nature and gravity of the conduct reported, and may include intervention, mediation, and the initiation of disciplinary processes or criminal prosecution, when appropriate. Where harassment is found to have occurred, HUPD will act to stop the harassment, prevent its recurrence, and hold those responsible accountable for their actions.

 

At all times, the investigation will be conducted in a way that respects, to the extent possible, the privacy of all the persons involved.  If you feel that you are being harassed or threatened in any way, it is important that you call the HUPD immediately at 617-495-1212.

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Annoying Telephone Calls
According to Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 269, Section 14A:

Whoever telephones another person, or causes any person to be telephoned, repeatedly, for the sole purpose of harassing, annoying or molesting such person or his family, whether or not conversation ensues, or whoever telephones a person repeatedly, and uses indecent or obscene language to such person, shall be punished by a fine of not more than five hundred dollars or by imprisonment for not more than three months, or both.

How to Deal with Annoying Phone Calls:

  • Ask who is calling and the number the person is trying to reach. Do not give out your number or name to the caller or any personal information.
  • Hang up immediately if the caller does not respond when you answer, if the caller begins to use obscene language, or if the caller is not identified to your satisfaction. Do not slam the receiver down, yell at the caller, or otherwise indicate that you are annoyed. Just hang up.
  • Don't talk if the same caller phones again. Remember that all the caller wants is an audience. Don't give the satisfaction of responding.
  • Call the HUPD at 617-495-1212 and report the annoying calls, particularly if you are threatened over the phone.

Trace Procedures for Annoying Phone Calls:
If you have received annoying, obscene, harassing or threatening telephone calls, it is possible to use a Verizon feature called “Call Trace” to identify the name and address connected to that phone number. Call Trace allows you to initiate a trace of the most recent incoming telephone call by dialing a code immediately after terminating a call. The information is recorded and stored with the Verizon Unlawful Call Bureau. To obtain access to this feature, you must first file a complaint with HUPD. HUPD will then contact the University’s Telephone Office for exchanges 493, 495, 496, 432, and 384 to have the call trace feature added to your line. For Harvard exchanges there is no charge to activate the call trace feature. If you have a non-Harvard exchange, you may activate the call trace feature at any time. For these non-Harvard numbers there is a $3.66 charge each time *57 is dialed. Once activated please follow the following steps to trace a call:

  • Let the telephone ring at least two times, answer the call, and stay on the line for 10 seconds.
  • Hang up. Wait two to three seconds. Pick up the receiver and upon hearing the dial tone, press *57 (this procedure must be done immediately after the call, as the trace only works for the most recent call).
  • A recording will tell you that the trace was successful or that the trace was unsuccessful (if the feature is not activated yet, you will hear a fast busy signal).

When you have successfully traced three or more calls, please contact the HUPD’s Criminal Investigation Division (CID) at 617-495-1796 to initiate the process to obtain the phone number’s information. Verizon will release the information only to a law enforcement agency. A CID detective will then follow up with you to discuss the identity of the caller and how you want to proceed with the matter.

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Criminal Harassment
According to Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 265, Section 43A:

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.

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Stalking
According to Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 265, Section 43:

(a) Whoever (1) 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 or annoys that person and would cause a reasonable person to suffer substantial emotional distress, and (2) makes a threat with the intent to place the person in imminent fear of death or bodily injury, shall be guilty of the crime of stalking and shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than five years or by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars, or imprisonment in the house of correction for not more than two and one-half years or both. Such conduct, acts or threats described in this paragraph shall include, but not be limited to, conduct, acts or threats conducted by mail or by use of a telephonic or telecommunication device including, but not limited to, electronic mail, internet communications and facsimile communications.

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