Lawyer arrested for allegedly making threatening, racist phone calls

A lawyer for the New York state Department of Civil Service was arrested last week for allegedly threatening a black woman and a "little black boy" in separate phone calls over the summer.

The calls blamed on James A. Hennessey Jr., which authorities said were masked by using a website called, were traced by Albany police and the FBI using Verizon Wireless and Time Warner Cable records. They were made on July 19 and July 21 to homes in the same Albany neighborhood.

In the first, the caller used racial slurs and threatened to kill a black woman. In the second, picked up by an adult, the caller threatened to "kidnap the little black boy who plays outside and tie him up."

Hennessey, 58, was charged Friday in Albany City Court with two counts of second-degree felony aggravated harassment and released late in the day on $15,000 bail.

He has worked as an associate attorney since 1993 for the Civil Service department, where he makes $104,080 a year. He could not be reached for comment Monday and a spokesman for the state agency did not return a call to verify Hennessey's job status.

(Published by – October 27, 2010)

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