Montana Man Fined For Racist Robocalls to Tibbetts’ Hometown
An Iowa town dealing with profound grief during the summer of 2018 was further victimized by an abusive "robocaller" who now faces a nearly $10 million fine from the Federal Communications Commission, according to a story in the Des Moines Register.
Scott D. Rhodes of Libby, Montana is charged with a series of "racist, anti-Semitic and harassing robocalls to tens of thousands of phones across eight states", including Iowa. Brooklyn, Iowa. The home of the family of Mollie Tibbetts, a college student who was found murdered three years ago.
Rhodes repeatedly violated the "Truth in Caller ID Act" to manipulate phone calls, making them appear local. While the call was not directly or personally threatening to anyone in Tibbetts' circle, her father says the messages expressed views she would have found "profoundly racist". Rob Tibbetts said, "it was unbelievably painful, it was everything that’s dark and wrong in America right now."
Rhodes' other targets included miscellaneous black and Jewish politicians as well as people in Charlottesville, Virginia where a trial was taking place of a man who drove into a crowd, killing several people at a rally in 2017.
The 827 calls were logged over a period of two days, from August 28-30 in 2018. Rhodes has 30 days to pay the fine and if he does not, the Department of Justice could step in.
Meanwhile, the Register reports that Cristhian Bahena Rivera, who is charged with the murder of Mollie Tibbetts, is set to stand trial May 17, after COVID-19 delays and disputes over evidence held up the case.