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Using "Pretext" Phone Calls in Sexual Assault Investigations

NCJ Number
Harold Eisenga
Date Published
21 pages
The "pretext" telephone call is an investigative tool that can be used in a wide variety of criminal investigations and that can be especially effective in sexual assault investigations.
The pretext telephone call is simply a tape-recorded telephone call between the victim and the suspect. The call is usually initiated by the victim under the supervision of a police officer, and the suspect is not aware the call is being recorded. The purpose of the call is to solicit incriminating statements from the suspect. Statements obtained from the call can be powerful evidence in court. Types of equipment needed to make pretext telephone calls are identified, and victim interview and related considerations are noted. Guidelines are also offered on when to make the pretext telephone call and on how to protect the victim. A training bulletin of the San Diego, California, Police Department is included that provides additional information on drug-facilitated sexual assault investigations, along with a preliminary rape case information sheet and a sex crimes toxicology request form.