The Tooele County school superintendent says he breathed heavily while phoning a former acquaintance because he had just finished jogging.
James W. Buckley of Stansbury Park has denied accusations in a recently released Cedar City police report that he was "moaning and groaning in a sexual nature." He acknowledged making the calls but said he quickly hung up.Buckley in April pleaded "no contest" to telephone harassment of a former friend, Karen Ward, while he was in Cedar City on district business. He paid a $100 fine.
He made three phone calls to the woman, hanging up when she answered. Later that evening he made two more calls, again hanging up when the phone was answered. Ward told police she heard only heavy breathing and moaning in some of the calls.
Buckley was questioned by police at his Cedar City motel the following day and was later charged with telephone harassment.
"I was totally shocked that I was even questioned regarding this incident. I had no idea it was illegal to call and hang up on someone," Buckley said. "It was determined by the Iron County attorney that the incident was very minor in nature as evidenced by a $100 fine.
"I never moaned or groaned on the phone. My 10-year-old boy was sitting right beside me," Buckley said. "This is the biggest frame job I have ever seen."
Buckley, formerly of Cedar City, said Ward used to baby-sit his children and he was merely calling to see how she was doing. But, when he called the first two times and did not recognize the female voice on the other end, he "chickened out and didn't speak."
Buckley said the third time he called, it was a different female voice, so he again hung up. On the fourth call, Buckley said a male voice answered and he "got vulgar" so Buckley hung up.
Tooele County School Board head Kendall Thomas said the superintendent acknowledges he made a mistake, but he is still a man of high character.