Victims testify about effects of terrifying phone calls

Share on Facebook Print Print
Ryan Dostalek
August 16, 2008
— Karen Coplien spoke fast, even though the Janesville man accused of stalking her and her daughter wore shackles in court Friday.

“These serious charges warrant more time; a lot more time,” she read.

Coplien and her husband read statements asking for a sentence stiffer than the one arranged as part of a plea agreement for Tracy L. Wolf, 36, of 1511 Ravine St.

“I’m not here for payback; I’m here for justice and to let Tracy Wolf know his actions would not be tolerated,” she said.

The calls

Beginning in January, Wolf called the cell phone of Coplien’s 16-year-old daughter 60 to 70 times a day, according to a request for a restraining order. Not knowing where or how Wolf got her number, Coplien’s daughter wrote that Wolf would call several times in succession, one to 10 minutes apart, and leave “obscene” and “scary” messages in her voicemail, according to the request.

Coplien’s daughter became frustrated and scared, causing her to change her cell phone number, but Wolf began calling the home phone number. When Coplien’s husband would answer, Wolf would tell him he was going to find his daughter and come after her, she wrote.

In the criminal complaint, Coplien told police that when Wolf would call the home and speak with her, he would say things such as he was going to “kill your daughter” and that “it’s payback” for calling the police on him.

Coplien and her daughter were among several women who received similar phone calls from Wolf.

One victim told police she received text messages from Wolf that would describe the clothes she was wearing. One message even said he could see her through her window. When the victim looked outside, a man was standing across the street, according to the criminal complaint. But not knowing who Wolf was, she was unsure if the man was him.

Wolf was released on bond after being arrested on the initial stalking charges, but he made more threatening phone calls. When he was returned to the county jail, he continued to make even more calls from the jail to Coplien and her daughter, according to a criminal complaint.

Wolf told police he would get the numbers of his victims by guessing, according to criminal complaints. He knew several of the three-digit prefixes for cell phone numbers in Janesville and would guess the remaining four digits. When he would reach a young female or the voicemail of a young female, he would remember the number and continue making calls, according to criminal complaints. He told police he was going through pressured times and intimidating women made him feel better, according to the complaints.

In addition to making the harassing calls, often of obscene noises and sexual connotations, Wolf used a default password to change the voicemail greetings of his victims to similar noises and sexual references, according to criminal complaints.


The family of another victim spoke on the victim’s behalf in court Friday and said his daughter is finally starting to feel more secure now that Wolf is behind bars.

“(Wolf) terrified (my daughter) to the point where her safety and security was threatened,” the woman’s father said. “I’ve seen no sign of remorse or even accepting responsibility (from Wolf).”

Before sentencing Wolf, Judge James Daley allowed Wolf an opportunity to speak.

Wolf appeared nervous and fidgety as he apologized to the victims, saying he was harmless.

“I don’t know why I did what I did,” he said. “Even though I made threats, my intention was never to harm anybody. I never intended to hurt anybody; I never would.”

The joint recommendation between the prosecution and defense called for a year in the county jail with the RECAP program followed by five years probation.

“I think that though (Wolf) didn’t appreciate the seriousness of his conduct before, I think clearly he does appreciate the seriousness of his conduct now,” Assistant Public Defender Kelly Mattingly said.

But Daley had reservations about the deal.

Daley told Wolf it was hard to believe his story. He pointed out that Wolf continued to make threatening phone calls even though he was locked in jail after being arrested on charges of the same crime.

“My concern is I don’t know if you can control your conduct,” Daley said to Wolf. “I do know that I’ve got to force some sentence here on you which will at least … give these folks some rest and some peace that you’ve taken from them.”

Daley sentenced Wolf to two years in jail and 10 years of probation for one count of stalking, one count of misdemeanor telephone harassment and 12 counts of felony bail jumping.

As part of the plea agreement, the court earlier dismissed 11 other counts of telephone harassment, seven counts of felony stalking, six counts of felony bail jumping, one count of misdemeanor obstructing an officer and two counts of unlawful use of a computer to send harassing messages. The judge, however, was allowed to consider the dismissed charges when sentencing.

As part of Wolf’s probation, he is not allowed to have a cell phone, use a computer that has access to the Internet or have contact with the victims or their families in all of Wolf’s stalking cases. If he violates his probation, Wolf would be looking at 72 years in prison.

Share on Facebook Print Print