Prosecutors reviewing the case of a man who allegedly sent abusive texts to women — the same man who allegedly sent others photographs of his penis — have declined to prosecute due to a lack of evidence.
Although a half-dozen woman reported to The Signal that a man sent them images of his penis, three women in response filed a complaint about the same man for sending them abusive text messages.
Their specific complaints presented to the D.A.’s Office dealt not with unwanted text images from the man, but with other personal alleged abuses, Alisanne Scolnik, deputy district attorney in charge of the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office in Santa Clarita said.
“There was no mention of penis in the complaint,” she said, which was due to the evidence presented to detectives.
At least three of the women filed a complaint with the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station seeking justice for abusive statements he made to them.
Detectives, in turn, took the case to the District Attorney’s Office.
“We declined the case on (March 30) due to insufficient evidence,” said Scolnik.
If other women received offending photos and kept them, they were not the ones who approached sheriff’s deputies and, later, county prosecutors, according to officials.
“None of the three victims who came forward to file a complaint had explicit photos to show me,” said Detective Turner of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station since the complaints hinged on alleged abusive comments not images.
“We waited almost a month for any other victim to come forward,” Scolnik said, noting none did.
“We reviewed everything in its totality,” she said of the investigation. “It doesn’t mean it didn’t happen, but when it comes to proving something beyond a reasonable doubt, sometimes the evidence isn’t enough to convince 12 jurors.”
Detective Turner said she turned her attention to the “mean” and “annoying” text messages sent to the women by the same man.
Many of the messages could not be available to the detective due to a statute of limitations.
“That information was not available,” Turner said, “and that’s significant.”
Although there is no statute of limitations when it comes to sex crimes, the case presented to the D.A.’s Office was a crime of “annoyance” and not a sex crime, she said.
The specific section of the California Penal Code is 653 deals with unwanted text messages — sexual or otherwise — the same way it deals with harassing phone calls.
In January, at least four women approached The Signal upset over a man texting them photos of his penis.
Their outrage provoked them to use social media as a tool to expose him.
Rally of support
A Facebook page created around a hashtag with the word “stop,” and the culprit’s name — which The Signal has chosen not to publish pending a criminal investigation — had elicited 160 members in one day.
The women whom The Signal spoke with — who were members of the group who never met the man in question — said they wanted something done to stop him texting sexually explicit photos and videos.
“We want him banned from using any kind of social media,” said Jackie Chowdhury, who vowed to not let fear stand in the way of her trying to stop the abuse.
“I worry about what happens if he finds out where I live,” she said. “But that fear cannot hold me down — and, it cannot shut me up.”
For her, the abuse began three years ago with an innocent text sent to her from someone she did not know.
“I was on Facebook and this guy just randomly messages me, saying, ‘Hey,’ so I said, ‘hi.’ Then, he asked, ‘How are you?’ and I replied ‘I do not know you. I don’t think I’m the person you want.
“He replied saying something like, ‘It’s not a disappointment at all, clearly you’re a bitch.”
Chowdhury blocked the caller, only to get a message from the same man using a different social media profile.
“Seven months later, I get a message from a different profile but it’s him,” she said, noting she blocked the new call number. “Six times I’ve blocked him.”
Turner and Scolnik have some advice for anyone harassed with someone sending them unwanted and abusive text messages.
“Block him and tell him you’re going to report him,” Scolnik said. Then a complaint should be filed with the local Sheriff’s Station, sharing with detectives all unwanted images and all other information shared on social media.
On Twitter @jamesarthurholt