An Iowa man was arrested for allegedly threatening to murder a transgender teenager.
Mondell Olson, from Ames, Iowa, is accused of leaving threatening voice messages at a Nevada High School.
He was arrested on Wednesday (15 February) and charged with two counts of first-degree harassment and one count of third-degree harassment.
Olson allegedly threatened to kill, brand and cause bodily harm to a transgender student at the targeted school.
He left the messages targeting the student on the Nevada School District voicemail.
One of the messages, police said, was ‘sexual in nature’.
The school district reported the calls, which were received on 10 and 14 February, right away.
‘This is clearly a hate crime,’ Nevada police Chief Ricardo Martinez II said.
‘I don’t think anybody is going to argue with that. Our suspect specifically pointed out transgender.’
The student, who is a freshman at the school, shared his story of being a transgender boy in his local newspaper.
When Olson read the article, Martinez said he was ‘offended’, and began to threaten the teen.
Police traced the calls back to a cellphone involved in the messages while searching Olson’s apartment.
But although he is charged with harrassment, police cannot charge him with a hate crime – something Martinez described as frustrating.
‘I would like to throw more at him than the book,’ he said.
‘But I can only do what’s available to us.’
Some of the evidence that has been recovered from Olson’s aparment was shared with the Story County Sheriff’s Office.
According to Iowa State Daily, they are investigating similar reports towards the student from around the county.
Additional charges may be filed.