Local father speaks out against harassment over social media
For one Laredo man, it’s another year of uncertainty and frustration over a harassment case that continues to haunt him and so many other families that go through this.
LAREDO, Tex. (KGNS) - In 2020 alone, the Laredo Police Department received over 1,900 calls about harassment, filed over 700 reports, but made only 24 arrests.
Following up on these cases are difficult and there are so many out there, but for one Laredo man it’s another year of uncertainty and frustration over a harassment case that continues to haunt him and so many other families that go through this.
The man whose identity we want to protect shares his story to KGNS and a message to others experiencing the same thing.
Under the Texas Penal Code, harassment is defined as a person who commits an offense with the intent to harass, annoy, alarm, abuse, torment, or embarrass another person.
This is something a Laredo man, who we’ll call Alfredo in order to protect his identity, is all too familiar with.
“Since September of 2019 to this day, I’m still being harassed by this person trying to harm my daughter.”
According to Alfredo, it started when he got together with his current girlfriend.
“When things started getting a little more serious between me and her she said, ‘you know what, I just want to let you know about something. I don’t want to lie to you.’ She said, ‘me and my manager, we used to see each other’ and she told me everything straight up.”
He says that relationship ended when it was discovered the man was married. This was back in 2017.
Alfredo says he knew the man in question and suspects that’s what led to the harassment.
It began with constant phone calls to his girlfriend and although the number was changed, the man got it.
“Insulted her with bad language saying he was going to abuse her.”
After this, Alfredo says the man confronted them about his wife finding out and that’s when things started to get worse.
“So then I started receiving messages about my daughter. He’ll tell me, ‘hey, I’m going to rape your daughter.’”
At the time his daughter was only five years old.
Alfredo received these messages on a daily basis until he decided to file a police report and changed his number.
“In April, he started again through Facebook messenger. He started sending me the same things. Sending me pictures of my daughter, basically the nastiest things you can every think about somebody trying to do to a five year old girl.”
A month later an arrest warrant was made.
“It was just a warrant for harassment. The detective had told me maybe he’s gonna cool down or he’s going to keep on going with more anger and yeah, that’s what happened.”
Alfredo alleges that the man started getting his girlfriend’s teenage kids involved, possibly got his girlfriend fired from her job, and was sending pictures of his daughter from outside her home.
When it comes to harassment over social media, Laredo Police Department investigator Joe Baeza says it’s a difficult thing to prove.
“Basically, there’s different factors involved. Whether the person is that person or not. Also, the process of issuing a subpoena to a social media platform is rather lengthy and very procedural.”
It was not more than three years ago that the Texas Penal Code was updated to include social media as a form of harassment over electronic communication, paving the way for cases like Alfredo’s.
Investigator Baeza says no cases are similar but incidents of harassment usually involve someone you know, and he offers some recommendations to those who are dealing with it.
“If you do find that you’re a victim of harassment, especially if you’re being harassed through social media, for one you should report right away, and start documenting. Don’t lose anything.”
Alfredo has followed every step, but in his eyes it’s gotten him nowhere.
He tells us that he has since blocked the man on social media and only wants to live in peace now. He is hopeful that one day justice will be served.
Harassment is considered a class “B” misdemeanor.
If a person has been convicted of a class “B” but continues this behavior, it will then be elevated to a class “A.”
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