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Utah company goes after obscene caller in court

Published September 23, 2012 1:01 am

Courts • Lawsuit references "John Doe" with hopes of later identifying the caller.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

A Utah company that provides telephone services for hearing and speech-impaired clients has asked a federal judge to disconnect a person who has made more than 300 obscene calls to its female employees since mid-July.

The caller, identified as "John Doe" in court papers, dialed various Sorenson Communications numbers and, when female staff answered, engaged in heavy breathing and made obscene and indecent proposals. In some instances, the caller left pornographic voicemail messages. Some 30 women have received the calls; at least one received six calls in a single day.

The man has falsely claimed to be a customer and at least once said he was "Rick Smith," which the company believes to be a fake name.

The calls appear to be coming from the "916" area code, assigned to Sacramento, Calif., but Sorenson said that the man may be using "caller ID spoofing" to conceal his real location.

A month ago, a Sorenson director left a voicemail message at one number used by the caller, demanding he stop the harassment and alerting him such calls are a crime.

But the calls continued.

The most recent call came Wednesday, a day before the company filed its complaint in U.S. District Court.

The company says the harassing calls are harmful and interfere with employees' ability to handle legitimate calls. The calls, it asserts, violate computer fraud and abuse, trespass and electronic communication laws — federal and state crimes punishable by at least a year in jail and at least five years in federal prison.

Ann Bardsley, public relations director for Sorenson, said Friday the company is "taking all the proper legal action" to identify the caller and stop the harassment. His name will be added to the lawsuit once it is confirmed, she said.

brooke@sltrib.com