DPS arrests harassing caller `John’

Heather Harper

A 30-year-old Ames man was arrested Thursday morning and charged with harassing several women living in the ISU residence halls. James Donald was arrested by the Department of Public Safety and was charged with 10 counts of third-degree harassment, said Aaron DeLashmutt, investigation officer with DPS. DeLashmutt said Donald made 27 random harassing phone calls to ISU residents in Maple-Willow-Larch, Oak-Elm, Wallace and Friley Halls between Aug. 28 and Sept. 6. In 22 of the 27 calls, DeLashmutt said Donald claimed to be an ISU junior named John, and he asked for Sara. DeLashmutt said Donald tried to have sexual conversations with at least 12 of the ISU females. “He asked them intimate personal questions and if they would have phone sex with him,” DeLashmutt said. Donald said everything “is just a big misunderstanding, that’s all,” when asked about his arrest. He refused to comment any further. Jerry Stewart, assistant director of DPS, said Donald admitted to officers that he made the calls and the motive behind the calls. “Donald told DPS officials he initially began calling people in an attempt to locate a person by the name of `Sara’ whom he had allegedly met in a local establishment,” Stewart said. “However, he apparently received an erroneous phone number from this individual and simply began randomly dialing other numbers.” DeLashmutt said DPS cross-referenced 10 of the 27 victims’ phone records to find a common number. After investigating the records, DPS filed for an arrest warrant when Donald’s home phone number lined up with the correct time frame of each record. Stewart said many jurisdictions receive harassing phone calls, so it is not unusual for campuses to experience harassing calls. “We receive a number of reports of harassment, some we believe are due to telemarketing efforts, others are simply misdials,” he said. “They can be pranks or outright harassment due to jealousy or a number of motivations.” Stewart said the telephone calls were harassing, but not necessarily threatening. “The content – while it was perhaps annoying and alarming – it did not threaten violence or bodily injury,” he said.