A court case over First Amendment free-speech rights that has engulfed a Wisconsin town is being ratcheted up to a new level with an amended complaint that alleges the police chief confessed he stole a critic’s name and other information, and surreptitiously signed him up for online homosexual porn in retaliation.
The police chief of the town of Campbell also is accused of faking the “Bill O’Reilly” signature to blast his critic in local publications.
The complaint is from the Thomas More Law Center, which represents Gregory Luce in a First Amendment case against newly adopted Campbell town ordinances that severely restrict signage critical of President Obama.
The case originated because Luce, a Catholic tea party member, vigorously opposes Obama’s policies on abortion and other moral issues.
Luce had been wearing T-shirts that call for Obama’s impeachment and displaying an American flag and signs on a pedestrian highway overpass with the same message. He was investigated by state and local authorities for his signs, but no violations were found.
In response, the town adopted new ordinances banning such statements, prompting the court challenge.
Now the complaint has been amended with allegations that Police Chief Timothy Kelemen, originally a defendant in the case, stole Luce’s personal information and signed him up for “a series of unwanted solicitations including solicitations from homosexual oriented pornography and dating websites.”
The legal firm explains the complaint was filed “after an investigation by the Monroe County sheriff’s investigators revealed that Chief Kelemen used his police department and home computers” to sign Luce up for the unwanted solicitations.
“All citizens should be free to exercise their First Amendment rights without fear of retaliation – especially retaliation at the hands of individuals, such as the head of law enforcement, who hold so much power in our communities,” said Thomas More attorney Erin Mersino, who is working on the case.
Town officials referred WND questions to the town attorney, who did not respond.
Kelemen initially denied to investigators his knowledge of the harassment. However, he confessed after they told him they had tracked the offending submissions to the Internet Protocol addresses for his home and office computers, the law firm said.
See Kelemen’s interview with investigators:
“Chief Kelemen used Gregory Luce’s personal information, including home address, telephone number and email address, to create profiles and accounts on numerous pornographic and dating websites featuring homosexual men, insurance companies, and the ‘Obamacare’ website healthcare.gov.,” the law firm explained. “The accounts created by Kelemen resulted in Luce receiving approximately 15 phone calls in a single day regarding the profiles made using his information.”
Thomas More also alleges Kelemen, “under the username ‘Bill O’Reilly,’ posted a number of inflammatory and harassing comments on the website of [the] local newspaper, the La Crosse Tribune, including seven comments on the article regarding the filing of the initial lawsuit.”
“Kelemen posted that Luce had ‘disrespected the wrong mo fo,’ as well as posting false comments about Mr. Luce wetting himself and posting Luce’s home address,” TMLC said.
After initially denying involvement, Kelemen then admitted “the harassment as an attempt to ‘get back at’ Luce.”
Now detectives have referred their investigation to the Monroe County district attorney for criminal prosecution under state law, and TMLC amended its free speech lawsuit, originally dated January 2014, to add the new allegations.
On the original issue of displaying signs as part of the “Overpasses for America” national campaign, the complaint explains: “Defendants have silenced plaintiffs’ freedom of speech and thwarted plaintiffs’ freedom of assembly with callous indifference for plaintiffs’ constitutionally granted rights. … The Town of Campbell’s Ordinance 9.12 only serves to silence and foreclose plaintiffs’ speech and association, rendering plaintiffs unable to reach their intended audience with their message and viewpoint.”
On the issue of retaliation, the complaint alleges Kelemen even needled Luce about the incorrect Internet postings, saying: “Perception is reality Greggy … perception is reality. Welcome to the internet.”
“Kelemen intentionally invaded Plaintiff Gregory Luce’s privacy to serve his motivations to punish, annoy, and harass plaintiff Gregory Luce,” the suit alleges.