Teen Uses Common Sense to Avoid Kidnapping in Ridley Township
Every kindergartener knows not to talk to strangers, but a look at the reports of missing children tells a different story. In most instances where children are abducted or abused by adults, the aggressor is someone the child knows, often a family member. Child abusers often spend months or even years trying to gain a child’s trust before attempting to convince the child to keep secrets about the abuser’s behavior or to run away with the abuser. Still, the stereotype of the creepy man who attempts to lure kids into his car with promises of candy or similar must come from somewhere. This month, a Ridley Township man posted a video on social media that shows a teenager evading abduction by a man. If you have been charged with harassment or any of the other crimes involved in this week’s new story, contact a Pittsburgh harassment defense lawyer.
When Is Harassment a Crime?
The basic meaning of the verb “harass” is “to bother or annoy,” but is it really against the law to be annoying? If every action that elicited feelings of annoyance was a punishable offense, then every sibling in the world would have a lengthy criminal record by the time they reached adulthood. Pennsylvania law recognizes that harassment can vary in severity, and it responds accordingly. According to statute 2709, the most minor types of harassment are summary offenses, which are less serious than misdemeanors and generally do not incur criminal penalties. These include following someone, verbally insulting them, or performing any repeated action that serves “no legitimate purpose” other than to annoy or inconvenience the person. Misdemeanor harassment includes intimidation or threats, and harassment can be a felony when the perpetrator has a documented history of threatening or physically harming the victim. In other words, yelling curses at a rude driver is not a felony, but yelling curses at your ex-wife who previously got a restraining order against you for domestic violence can be.
In the News
A video posted on Facebook in early April 2019 appears to show a teenage girl running away from a would-be kidnapper. Bill Moss posted the video, which was recorded by his home surveillance system. It shows Moss’ daughter running away from a gold car and into the house. The driver of the gold car appears to watch the girl until she enters the house and then drives away. According to Moss, the man tried to persuade the girl to get into the car with him and to show him her feet. Reasonably frightened, the girl instead ran home. Moss says he believes that the same man approached his other daughter in 2017 and behaved similarly; the man was charged with the summary offense of harassment.
Contact Gary Gerson About Harassment Defense
Everyone is annoying sometimes, but not all annoying behavior warrants punishment. Contact the Law Offices of Gary E. Gerson if you need assistance mounting a strong defense against harassment charges.