Fine, Probation For Harassing Calls To Councilmen

OCEAN CITY — An Ocean City woman, charged last year with three counts of telephone misuse-repeated calls after a spree of threatening or harassing calls to three resort Councilmembers in October, was found guilty last week in District Court on one count and was fined and placed on probation.

The Worcester County State’s Attorney’s Office in October formally charged Amy Lee Durham, 39, of Ocean City, on three counts of telephone misuse-repeated calls to three Ocean City Council members over a period of two days from Oct. 4-5. In the first count, the state’s attorney’s office charges and alleges on or about Oct. 4, Durham “unlawfully did misuse telephone facilities and equipment for repeated calls with the intent to annoy, abuse, torment or harass Brett Ashley” in violation of Maryland law.

The other two counts read exactly the same way with Councilman Jim Hall allegedly victimized with calls on Oct. 4 and Councilman Joe Hall on Oct. 5.

Both Joe Hall and Ashley confirmed last October they had received early morning calls from an unknown number. Hall and Ashley said the caller blocked the phone number from appearing, but Ashley characterized the calls as “threatening,” while Joe Hall referred to them more as “harassing.”

The incidents were immediately reported to the Ocean City Police Department, which then alerted the state’s attorney’s office. The state’s attorney’s office contacted Verizon and was able to obtain the phone number and traced it to Durham, a part of Mayor Rick Meehan’s extended family. Reached last fall, Meehan declined to comment on the matter, simply saying, “obviously, it’s not the kind of behavior I condone in any way.”

In his formal statement read in court last Friday, Ashley evoked the names of notorious assassins Lee Harvey Oswald and Sirhan Sirhan, along with Arthur Bremmer to illustrate his point about the dangers of threats of violence against public officials.

“Our country has a long history of misguided individuals that direct their frustration, anger and violence toward elected officials,” Ashley said in his official statement. “The question that still haunts me today is, what if she was not caught? Might we not be here today?”

Ashley asked the court to send a clear and convincing message that this type of behavior is inexcusable.

“I believe this was a systematic and planned out attempt to harass and threaten elected officials because the defendant didn’t agree with our actions and viewpoints — truly a dangerous and potentially deadly scenario,” Ashley said.