By Lisa Pett
A Waupaca man upset about the outcome of a family court judgment is facing charges after allegedly harassing a Portage County Child Protective Services employee and threatening a judge over the phone.
According to the Stevens Point Police Department, Joe Haehnlein, 27, made a series of harassing and threatening phone calls to the employee as well as Circuit Court Judge Thomas Flugar. The calls were reported on July 10.
Police documents show Haehnlein missed a court date on July 10 and Judge Flugaur issued an order in the case, which prompted a series of calls between Haehnlein and the CPS employee. He called and sounded “enraged,” according to the report, at least 11 times, leaving a total of 5 expletive-laden voice mails.
In the criminal complaint, one of the transcribed messages Haehnlein allegedly made said, “I swear to God, you [double expletive] I will sue you and that [expletive] judge. He better hope that I don’t find out where he is.”
Law enforcement officers later made contact with Haehnlein in Waupaca County and took him into custody on suspicion of stalking, harassment and threatening a judge.
Haehnlein appeared via video from the Portage County Jail before Judge Thomas Eagon on Monday. In statements to the court, Haehnlein admitted to being agitated and upset during the calls but denied threatening physical violence.
“I did not threaten anyone,” said Haehnlein. “I have a right to sue someone. I didn’t think I could get in trouble for threatening to sue.”
In determining the probably cause for the charges, Judge Eagon disagreed and said, “a reasonable inference [can be made] from the language [in the calls].”
Haehnlein is due back in court for an initial appearance on August 3. He was ordered to have no contact with Judge Flugaur, unless it is in the scope of regular court proceedings. Any interaction between Haehnlein and the CPS employee must be monitored.
He remains in the Portage County Jail on a $5,000 cash bond.