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MA- Coakley wins injunction against neighbor from hell

4-3-2009 Massachusetts:

Last week Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley announced that her office had obtained a three-year injunction against Deborah May, a Norwood woman accused of terrorizing her gay former neighbor.

The injunction comes as part of a settlement with May, approved by Norfolk Superior Court Judge E. Susan Garsh. In January Coakley succeeded in obtaining a civil rights injunction against May (see "AG Coakley slaps civil rights injunction on homophobic neighbor from hell," Jan. 7).

"Hate-motivated conduct cannot be and is not tolerated in Massachusetts," wrote Coakley in a statement announcing the settlement. "Everyone in this state is entitled to reside in their home free of bias-motivated harassment and intimidation. Our office will continue to aggressively pursue cases where intolerance interferes with another person’s civil rights."

According to Coakley’s office May, who does not have a listed phone number and who Bay Windows was unable to reach for comment, engaged in harassment of her former neighbor for several months, beginning in November 2007. Coakley’s office alleges that May, who at the time lived in the same apartment complex as the victim, began spreading rumors that he was a pedophile and sexual predator.

Six months later she complained to the landlord about the victim’s Pride flag hanging outside his window, prompting the landlord to ask him to remove it. On several occasions May allegedly shouted anti-gay epithets at him within the presence of fellow tenants, and on one occasion she physically confronted him in his yard. Last August she filed a baseless complaint against him to Norwood police, claiming that he tried to expose himself to her.

Under the terms of the settlement May is prohibited from threatening or harassing anyone in the state based on his or her actual or perceived sexual orientation. She must also refrain from contacting her former neighbor and his family, and she must stay 500 feet away from him and his residence and 500 yards away from his place of employment. Should she violate the terms she could face a fine of up to $5000 and a two-and-a-half year jail sentence; if she causes bodily injury while violating the agreement the penalty could be as high as a $10,000 fine and a 10-year sentence. ..News Source.. by Ethan Jacobs

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