August 18, 2011 / 11:10 PM / 8 years ago

Father, son arrested on charges of harassing Palin family

PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) - A Pennsylvania father and son were arrested on Thursday on charges they made harassing phone calls to the family of former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and her attorneys, an FBI spokesman said.

Former Alaksa Governor Sarah Palin speaks during a television appearance at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines, Iowa August 12, 2011. REUTERS/Daniel Acker

The arrest of Craig Christy, 47, and his son Shawn Christy, 19, of McAdoo, Pennsylvania, came a day after they were charged in a federal indictment filed in Alaska with making the harassing phone calls from August 1 to August 9.

The calls were placed after Palin, the 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee, obtained a restraining order against the two men over what she said was harassment.

Craig and Shawn Christy made an initial appearance on Thursday in U.S. District Court in Allentown, Pennsylvania, following their arrest, Assistant U.S. Attorney Retta-Rae Randall said.

No bail was set during the hearing and the two men will be transported to Anchorage, Alaska, for further proceedings, Randall said.

An Alaska state court had issued a restraining order against Shawn Christy in September 2010, ordering him to have no contact with Palin. In May, a court renewed that and issued a similar order against his father, Craig.

Shawn Christy has previously admitted in court to having threatened to rape Palin, sending her numerous e-mails and gifts, and traveling to Anchorage earlier this year.

Craig Christy admitted to making more than two dozen early morning phone calls to Palin’s parents over a two-day period in March. State Superior Court magistrate Jonathon Lack said earlier this year that he found the telephone calls to Palin’s parents, some of which were recorded, to be “very disturbing.”

In the indictment filed on Wednesday, the two men are each accused of causing the “telephone of another repeatedly and continuously to ring, with the intent to harass a person at the called number.”

The indictment does not name any of the individuals who might have been called by Craig and Shawn Christy earlier this month. But FBI spokesman Frank Burton said they were accused of harassing Palin’s family and attorneys.

Shawn Christy has previously been investigated for alleged threats against President Barack Obama and Palin’s former running mate, Senator John McCain of Arizona.

A psychiatric report on Shawn Christy that was sent to the U.S. Secret Service said he has emotional problems, stemming at least in part from a Lyme disease infection that his mother suffered when she was pregnant with him.

Additional reporting by Yereth Rosen; Writing by Alex Dobuzinskis: Editing by Dan Whitcomb and Cynthia Johnston

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