Gwinnett help hotline hit with harassing phone threats

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DULUTH, Ga. - A Duluth-based hotline that helps victims of sexual assault has asked police to open an investigation into a person who has made dozens of threatening calls to counselors and victims' advocates.

"The same caller is abusive, using a lot of profanity, threatening, and very, very hostile to our staff," said Gwinnett Sexual Assault and Child Advocacy Center Executive Director Ann Burdges.

Burdges told Channel 2's Tom Regan she believes the caller is a woman in her 20s.

She said the caller initially claimed to be an abuse victim, but then lashes out at phone counselors using angry four-letter words.

"It's upsetting because you want to help people and you don't want to be abused while you're doing that. It can already be a very difficult job," said victim advocate Seterria Brodnix.

The mysterious caller claims she is an abuse victim, but changes her name and her story with each call.

Counselors said the repeated calls have tied up the help line for hours and distracted resources from other crisis-line callers.

"I think it's hard, because we have such limited resources as it is. To have one caller taking up so much of our time, our resources, it's just draining on our staff members," said victim advocate Kate Bobb.

The Center's executive director said the same caller was banned from a crisis hotline in DeKalb County.

Recordings of the caller have been turned over to Duluth police, who have opened an investigation and may make an arrest. The motivation behind the calls is unknown.

"You don't know if there are mental implications behind this. You don't know if this is a prank, and you don't know if this is just an outlet for anger," said Burdges.



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