Janesville man pleads guilty to making threats

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Kevin Murphy
Saturday, January 7, 2012
— A Janesville man faces a maximum five years in prison after pleading guilty in federal court Friday to making dozens of threatening calls to a Hufcor official involved in him leaving the company.

Joseph E. Crotty, 49, was asked to leave Hufcor in June over allegations that he threatened a supervisor and had problems with alcohol, according to court documents.

In August, Crotty began making phone calls to a Hufcor vice president, leaving messages that were vulgar and abusive in tone and angry and threatening in content, Assistant U.S. Attorney Meredith Duchemin said.

The calls continued between Aug. 16 and Aug. 26 despite the vice president obtaining a restraining order against Crotty. Authorities used cell tower locations to find Crotty, who was arrested Sept. 7 in Oklahoma.

After Crotty was indicted for interstate stalking, his attorney, Jack Hoag, sought a competency evaluation to determine if his client was “insane” at the time of the offenses, according to court documents. The evaluation found Crotty competent to proceed, and on Dec. 23, a plea hearing was scheduled.

In court Friday, Crotty said he had heard some of the voice messages he left and didn’t want to hear the others.

“I just made some phone calls that never should have been made. I didn’t think it would get to this,” he told District Judge William Conley.

Conley told Crotty he caused the Hufcor vice president “significant emotional distress … you were angry and wanted to make her angry as well.”

Although Crotty has undergone a competency evaluation, Hoag asked that a mental assessment also be conducted to identify if treatment could be a mitigating factor at sentencing for any of Crotty’s remaining mental health and alcohol abuse issues.

The cost of the assessment was “a legitimate issue,” said Conley, who would determine if it was appropriate before Crotty’s sentencing on March 2.

Crotty remains in custody pending sentencing.

Janesville-based Hufcor is the world’s leading producer of moveable walls and folding partitions.

Last updated: 7:35 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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