A Juneau man was recently investigated for obtaining cell phone numbers of teenage girls through his workplace and making contact with them, a case that police said was “clearly inappropriate” and cost the man his job but was not a criminal offense.
The Juneau Police Department launched an investigation into the matter in mid-December after a staffer at one of the high schools informed the school resource officer of the rumors, according to JPD Lt. Kris Sell.
Police were able to determine the man in question, whose name was not released, had reached out to a 15- and 18-year old girl, at least one of whom was a student, by text messaging over the phone, Sell said.
Police looked into whether the activity amounted to enticement of a minor, contributing to the delinquency of a minor or criminal use of a computer, but found that no crime was committed. Sell said the man gave the girls compliments and appeared to “try to make friends with them,” but did not request sex, to meet up or to engage in any illegal activity.
“It didn’t fit any crime,” Sell said in an interview Friday. “It’s not criminal but certainly very creepy,” she added.
The man’s name and the name of his workplace was not released by the Juneau Police Department, citing privacy issues since neither the employer nor the employee is being charged with a crime.
Sell said the man was employed by a private business and is not a government or school official or public servant. Sell only described him by an age range, saying he was “pushing 30.”
Sell commended the employer for doing “the responsible thing” by firing the man, which cuts off his access to cell phone numbers collected by the business. She advised the public that anytime a business uses contact information in a way that was not intended to immediately report it to the business manager, or if warranted, the police.
Sell also lauded the teenage girls in this case for “soundly rejecting” the man’s interactions with them.
“They shut him down,” the lieutenant said, adding that the girls’ parents also objected, and appropriately so.
Police created a case out of the incident for informational purposes only.
“He’s in our records now,” Sell said. “If that type of behavior pops up again, we’ll revisit the whole issue but hopefully he’s learned a real life lesson on not to use stuff he gets at work to try to make friends with people.”
• Contact reporter Emily Russo Miller at 523-2263 or Emily.firstname.lastname@example.org.