I was at a bar for my husbands birthday the other night. My brother in law who is a constant "witty joker" aka a**hole was bragging about going to work high and sleeping in his car while at work. I made a comment that he should "be proud of that" and he proceeds to get serious telling mr how awful of a person I am. I ended up walking out when I realized he was serious. He proceeded to sent me 20 text messages with the most awful offending statements insulting me and "promising" he wouldn't let me ruin his family in a somewhat threatening way. I didn't respond to this tirade but rather am considering filing harassment charges. How does this work in Pa? Does this constitute harassment and does texting classify?
Threatening, obnoxious, or repetitive text messaging can certainly qualify for harassment.
Pennsylvania, however, does not allow private citizens to "file charges." If you wish to pursue your brother-in-law criminally, you will be required to make a report to the police, who will then make a decision on their own whether to file charges against him.
You can also file a private criminal complaint, which will be reviewed by your local district attorney. If the local DA agrees that the charges you allege are serious enough, he will pursue the matter on your behalf as if law enforcement had filed the complaint. If not, he will reject your private complaint.
Pennsylvania does not recognize a civil suit for harassment. You can, however, file under related causes of action (like invasion of privacy) but your case does not sound like a strong one under any tort I can think of.
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