Archive for  November 30th 2017

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DES MOINES, Iowa — “I looked on camera and there`s three guys running down my driveway and they had guns,” said Tommy Rhodes. “So, I don`t use my front door, so I went out to see what was going on, thinking it was police, maybe (they) needed something, they were looking for somebody.”

It happened at 8:11 PM on Tuesday Night. Rhodes didn’t know what was going on. His girlfriend and two month-old daughter were also inside the home at the time.

“And, I come out my backdoor and I get a gun shoved in my face for no reason, and it stunned me and I was looking around, trying to see if there`s more people,” said Rhodes. “There`s nobody around. It was just him and he`s yelling at me, telling me to get on the ground and I didn`t want to get on the ground.”

So, Rhodes tried to find out who he was dealing with.

“I was asking who are you?” said Rhodes. “Who are you with? And he wouldn`t tell me and then he finally put his gun down and then he asked me to come to the front of the house with him and then that`s when they found out that I`m not the guy they`re looking for. And that`s when I found out they`re bail bondsmen.”

Rhodes says he doesn’t know the person the bounty hunters were looking for.

“After they found out and looked at their phones, that it wasn`t me…and they finally realized I ain`t the guy, this ain`t the house,” said Rhodes. “And I told them I got cameras and they all just started walking away.”

Police say there’s a gray area when it comes bail bondsmen and bounty hunters and the industry could probably benefit from some more oversight.

“You can very clearly see that the deficiencies in that industry are usually when it comes to training, you know, training and procedures,” said Sergeant Paul Parizek, Public Information Officer for the Des Moines Police Department. “You can know the law inside and out, but if your people all aren`t trained, you know, the appropriate way to behave and do their job, particularly, when it comes to you know the safety aspect, somewhere your wires are gonna get crossed and something bad`s gonna happen one of these days.”

Police say the only recourse in a situation like this, for someone like Tommy Rhodes, may be civil. Rhodes says he is now reaching out to lawyers and considering filing a lawsuit against the bail bondsmen who he identifies as CSI Bail Bonds Custom Solutions Investigations in Indianola.

WHO-TV Channel 13 News reached out to CSI to ask them about this incident and they said they had no comment.

DES MOINES, Iowa — Local and statewide sexual harassment victim advocacy groups say they have seen an increase in victims coming forward and speaking out since the start of the #MeToo movement.

While high – profile and powerful men are taking center stage for sexual harassment accusations, advocates say we shouldn’t ignore those who are not in the spotlight.

“It might be a co – worker who makes jokes that make you uncomfortable or who is touchy feely with people inside your office. That`s where it starts. It doesn`t happen overnight with just the powerful and monied individuals doing it,” says associate director for the Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Assault, Kerri True – Funk.

The blurred lines between what is and is not considered sexual harassment is actually quite clear according to the organization.

“It’s about the unwanted component.  The difference between consensual sex and rape is whether or not somebody says that the act is okay and the same thing goes for sexual harassment,” she says.

Sexual harassment is defined as someone making repeated and unwanted sexual advances, comments or even touching. The increase in reports made to advocacy groups comes during a time of what experts say is culture shift. Advocates say now victims feel safe to share their stories because others are too. True – Funk says if the alleged acts didn’t happen recently, it doesn’t mean victims their lose their credibility.

“It is safer for them now. For them it’s like there is some sort of believe that wouldn`t have been as safe for them three days, three weeks, three months ago. They really feel like today is a day they can talk about it. It’s really about the victim feeling safe and feeling empowered to back that moment.”

On Wednesday, NBC News fired Today Show host, Matt Lauer amid sexual harassment allegations. The accuser’s lawyer claims the harassment began three years ago while both she and Lauer were on assignment in Sochi, Russia for the Winter Olympics.

Local advocacy groups say anytime a victim chooses to come forward is the right time despite statute of limitation laws. Under Iowa law, the statute of limitation is ten years in criminal cases. In civil cases its only three years.

Legal experts urge people who feel like they are being harassed to document the incidents. They also encourage work places to review their harassment policies with employees.