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State v. Getchell

Superior Court of Maine

July 2, 2018

STATE OF MAINE
v.
AARON GETCHELL Defendant

          ORDER AND DECISION

         By a Complaint dated July 26, 2017, the Defendant, Aaron Getchell, has been charged with Harassment by Telephone, 17-A, M.R.S.A, § 506(1)(A}.[1] A jury waived trial was held May 26, 2018, at which testimony was received from Officer Timothy Mace of the Washington County Sheriff's Office and from the alleged victim, Desiree Greenier. Also admitted into evidence was State Exhibit 1, a printout of the screenshots of Facebook Messenger messages exchanged between the Defendant and Ms. Greenier on the dates of July 19, 2017 through July 23, 2017, and Exhibit 2, a CD with a clearer image of the screenshot of the messages sent July 23, 2017 which include the picture of male genitals.

         FACTS

         Sometime prior to mid-July 2017, Desiree Greenier was introduced to the Defendant by her friend, Destiny. This brief introduction was the sole time Ms. Greenier had any in-person or voice communication with the Defendant. Ms, Greenier, who turned 15 on July 18, 2017, did not know Defendant's age but recognized him as older, as an adult. [2] In mid-July 2017 Ms. Greenier received a Facebook Messenger message from Defendant in which he asked why her friend Destiny had "blocked" him on Facebook. Ms. Greenier responded that she did not know why. Ms. Greenier and Defendant had no further communication of any kind with one another until July 19, 2017.

         On Wednesday, July 19, 2017 commencing at 11:41PM, Defendant sent to Ms. Greenier via Messenger a message "Hey" "What are you up too". {See State's Exhibit 1). Defendant then attempted to telephone Ms. Greenier at 11:43 PM but she did not answer. Defendant messaged her again asking "No answer?", and then he attempted to telephone her again at 11:48 PM, but Ms. Greeneil did not respond to the message and did not answer the phone call.

         On Thursday, July 20, at 11:37 PM Defendant again messaged Ms. Greenier "Hey", "You there". Ms. Greenier did not respond. At 11:50 PM and again at 11:52 PM Defendant attempted to telephone Ms. Greenier, but she did not answer either call. Defendant then sent Ms. Greenier additional messages, "???", "It will be fun I promise", and "Ok you're ignoring me" and also sent a picture of what appear to be the boards or planks of a deck. Ms. Greenier then did respond with "Yes?".[3] Ms.Greenier testified her response of "Yes?' was her way of asking "what do you want?". Defendant then messaged her "What ya doing", "Add me on Snapchat", "Guessing I'm to old not cool enough", and"????". Defendant then tried to call her at 12:03 AM, (it now being Friday, July 21, 2017). Ms. Greenier did not answer or respond, and Defendant messaged again "Geez ignore me that quick", and "You wanna see a dick pic??". Ms. Greenier did not respond but testified she understood the message to be asking her if she wanted to see a picture of Defendant's penis. Defendant attempted to telephone her again at 12:06 AM, and Ms. Greenier again did not answer. Defendant messaged again "Ok I'll leave ya alone" but also messaged "It's big ...... ", which she understood as a reference to his penis. Ms. Greenier did not respond. Defendant then attempted to telephone her two more times, at 12:08 AM and at 12:13 AM. Ms.Greenier did not answer or respond to either call. Defendant messaged Ms. Greenier again, "Yes and the ignore thanks" and sent her a picture of what is seen as a blank screen. Ms.Greenier then did respond, "I'm trying to sleep". She testified this was a "nice way" of asking the Defendant to leave her alone. Defendant responded "Ok sorry".

         The next communication was on Sunday, July 23, 2017 at 10:29 PM when Defendant messaged Ms. Greenier "Can you chat with me" and "Geez you must be sleeping again". Ms Greenier did not respond. A few minutes later at 10:33 PM Defendant attempted to telephone Ms. Greenier but she did not respond. Defendant then sent another message, "I'll show you something interesting if your there". Again no response. Defendant then sent Ms. Greenier a picture exposing a penis. (See Exhibit 2). Ms. Greenier did not respond. Ms. Greenier never "blocked" Defendant from messaging her but did stop opening the messages.

         Ms. Greenier testified she was offended by the picture containing a male penis and stated "It bothered her a little". She also testified she has in the past randomly received from peers pictures of a male penis, that such pictures are commonly known as "dick pics" and that she found them disgusting. Ms. Greenier's testimony left the court with the impression she disliked receiving such unsolicited pictures and found them offensive. She also testified to understanding the term "dick" can be used in other ways including describing mates, and that she has the used the term herself in that manner.

         DISCUSSION

         The Defendant has been charged with the Class E crime of Harassment by Telephone pursuant to 17-A, M.R.S.A. § 5O6(1)(A), which states:.

A person is guilty of harassment by telephone or by electronic communication device if:
A. By means of telephone or electronic communication device the person makes any comment, request, suggestion or proposal thai is, in fact, offensively coarse or obscene, without the consent of the person called or contacted;

Therefore, to convict the Defendant of this charge, the State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt each of the following elements:

-by means of telephone or electronic communication device,
-the Defendant made to Ms. Greenier a comment, request, ...

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