CAPE CORAL, May 9, 2003- A Cape Coral man is trying to clear his name after bogus fliers were circulated in his neighborhood accusing him of being a child molester. For Michael Wheeler, it's a living nightmare.
Imagine what it would feel like to find out your neighbors think you're a sex offender.
"The first thought that went through my head is how could I be accused of something I think is the worst crime anybody could commit," said Wheeler.
Wheeler is living in a nightmare.
"None of the neighbors wave at us or smile at us anymore," said Wheeler.
Officials with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement confirmed Michael Wheeler is not a sex offender, even though dozens of fliers went to his neighbors saying he was.
Wheeler now believes the first fliers probably went out a year ago. The same time he said his neighbors started to act funny.
"The kids won't play with my son anymore," said Wheeler.
Some neighbors said they were fooled by the letter that looked legitimate
"It seemed like an official thing," said Chris Wilson.
Cape Coral Police say the flier is totally bogus for several reasons.
* The logo on the top is not the Cape Coral Police Department's logo.
* The next line that reads "child molester alert" is unofficial terminology that wouldn't be used.
* The words "lewd" and "lascivious" are spelled wrong.
* The state case number is fake.
"He and his wife have always been good neighbors I don't know why anyone would do something so horrible," said Janette L'Heureux.
Wheeler and his family would like to know too. They also want their old life back.
"Play with my son, stop giving us dirty looks and be our neighbors again," said Wheeler.
Dozens if not hundreds of people in wheeler's Cape Coral neighborhood got the flier.
Wheeler has called the police about the flier. Police said the letter is a first-degree felony punishable up to one year in jail and $1,000 fine.
Wheeler is circulating his own letter to try and clear his name. ..News Source.. by Margaret Carlo