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Kenneth Iasimone: Porno Man

Rhode Island.- State police used Global Positioning System technology embedded in a cell phone to track down and arrest a Cranston man suspected of making 1,800 obscene phone calls to 911 operators over the past two months.

The police arrested Kenneth D. Iasimone, 41, of 210 Hazelton St., who was dubbed “Porno Man” at the Emergency 911 headquarters. Iasimone allegedly called 911 on a cell phone he had bought using the fake name Tony Soprano.

Raymond LaBelle, executive director of Rhode Island’s E-911, said the man sometimes called 4 to 10 times a day.

“He would call and use some dirty language and play a pornographic film in the background,” LaBelle said. “The telecommunications operator who took the call would have to listen to the grunting and groaning and whatever else that goes along with that entertainment.”

Iasimone usually targeted female 911 operators, LaBelle said. If a male answered, he would often hang up.

Harassing and obscene callers are not new to 911 operators.

“We are here 24/7/365. If you want an audience, there is always someone here to answer the phone,” LaBelle said.

But until two years ago, there was no way to track down cell phone callers.

Two years ago, cell phone companies began embedding global positioning technology into phones. When a 911 operator receives a call from a phone with a GPS chip, a map appears on the operator’s computer screen showing a precise location of the caller. In towns and cities that have been “geomapped,” the operators see an exact address and sometimes a photo of the building.

Cranston has not been geomapped yet.

Trooper John Charbonneau’s investigation led him to a local cell-phone company where Iasimmone had purchased a cell phone with prepaid minutes in May using the name of the fictional mob boss of The Sopranos. The cell phone had a GPS chip that helped the police focus on the neighborhood where most of the obscene phone calls originated.

Iasimone was arrested last week and charged with more than 1,800 counts of crank or obscene telephone calls. He was released on $2,500 cash bail yesterday.

Iasimone has been arrested before. In 1999, he was arrested for violation of a no-contact order in Cranston and domestic assault and crank/obscene calls in Coventry. On both occasions, he pleaded no contest and was sentenced to probation and to attend a special program.

LaBelle said the penalty for making a false call to 911 is punishable by a $1,000 fine and/or a year in jail.

LaBelle estimates that Porno Man’s calls took about 90 hours of operators’ time.

The police arrested another obscene 911 caller back in June, but LaBelle said that one wasn’t as prolific as Porno Man. The other man only called a few hundred times.

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