18 Pa.C.S.A. 2709 Interpretation

In Pennsylvania, a person commits the crime of harassment when, with intent to harass, annoy or alarm another, he:

(3) engages in a course of conduct or repeatedly commits acts which serve no legitimate purpose;

(4) communicates to or about such other person any lewd, lascivious, threatening or obscene words, language, drawings or caricatures;

(5) communicates repeatedly in an anonymous manner;

(6) communicates repeatedly at extremely inconvenient hours; or

(7) communicates repeatedly in a manner other than specified in paragraphs (4), (5) and (6). 18 Pa. C.S. §2709(a).

An offense under subsection (3) is a summary offense, while an offense under subsections (4), (5), (6) or (7) is graded as a misdemeanor of the third degree. 18 Pa. C.S. §2709(c). Even if Ake had been convicted in Pennsylvania of the more serious crime of stalking, 18 Pa. C.S. §2709.1, a first offense under that section is still only graded as a misdemeanor of the first degree. 18 Pa. C.S. §2709.1(c)(1).

Pennsylvania's equivalent of Illinois' hate crime law, entitled "Ethnic intimidation," provides for enhanced penalties if a person engages in harassing conduct "with malicious intention toward the race, color, religion or national origin of another individual or group of individuals." 18 Pa. C.S. §2710(a).

That section would be inapplicable to Ake since a victim's sexual orientation is not among the classifications for which penalties may be enhanced.