Police have arrested a male patient of Utah State Hospital in connection with a series of harassing telephone calls made to females in Utah County.
Provo Police Capt. George Pierpont said a Provo woman received a telephone call from a man who said he was "Gary Russell," a private investigator with a firm investigating dial-a-porn services. The caller offered to pay the woman money if she would talk to a suspect. Pierpont said the caller hung up, then called back, attempting to disguise his voice. While the woman kept the caller on the line, her roommate went to a neighbor's home and called the police.Police contacted US WEST Communications, which tapped the line and determined that the call was being made from the state hospital.
Police then contacted hospital security personnel, who traced the call to a phone within the hospital. Provo officers then were able to arrest the patient.
State hospital spokeswoman Janina Chilton said the patient had been in treatment in the criminal forensic unit for the past two years. Pierpont said a number of hospital volunteers have received harassing phone calls from a caller using the name Gary Russell, which is not the patient's name.
Most of the harassing calls were made to Provo residents, although one call was made to a Springville resident.
Pierpont said an investigation is under way to determine the link between complaints received about harassing calls and the call made from the state hospital.
State hospital patients do have the right to use the telephone, as well as other services, such as the postal service, unless a doctor restricts them. "The longer (a patient) is in the hospital, the more privileges they have," Chilton said. Such privileges include making unsupervised telephone calls.