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Anonymous fliers falsely label PSL man a pedophile

10-30-2010 Florida:

PORT ST. LUCIE — Somebody is attacking Alan Schmidgall, anonymously distributing fliers in driveways and mailboxes in his neighborhood calling the 51-year-old lawn maintenance man a child predator.

Schmidgall found the first fliers about two weeks ago, inside weighted plastic bags tossed into his neighbor’s driveways. The next day, he said, neighbors approached him with copies of a second flier left in their mailboxes. These stated that he “loves young boys” and challenged people to “go online and see for yourself.”

It’s untrue, said Schmidgall. He went to the Port St. Lucie police. They couldn’t find a shred of evidence that Schmidgall had done anything wrong.

“We confirmed it,” said police spokesman Officer Tom Nichols. “He has no criminal history in the state of Florida or outside the state of Florida.”

Nichols added, “I feel bad for the guy.”

But he also said no crime was committed for his department to investigate.

“This is a civil matter,” Nichols said.

Schmidgall said he was “devastated” by what he described as a hate crime.

“A child predator?” he said. “I went up and down the street telling people that this was done to me and not to believe it.”

Schmidgall also contacted a West Palm Beach television station, which aired interviews with he and Nichols.

Schmidgall reported to the U.S. Postal Service about neighborhood mailboxes being stuffed with the unstamped flier Oct. 14 — one day after the first broadside. That flier gave Schmidgall’s physical description and identified him as “a gay white male” who “had a boyfriend that could have been his son.”

Schmidgall responded in an open letter to his lawn service clients.

“It is true that I had a younger boyfriend, but he was 25 — a grown man — not a young boy,” Schmidgall wrote.

That same individual drew attention to himself April 4, 2009, when he was arrested for indecent exposure after reportedly running naked down the street on which Schmidgall lives. The arrest was reported by Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers and that story is referred to in the second flier.

“I see all these hate crimes, gay-bashing, gay kids killing themselves because they are being bullied and feel unwanted in society,” Schmidgall added in his letter to clients. “Please, this has to stop, because we deserve to live in this world and be happy just like everyone else.”

Jeff Esser, a postal inspector in Miramir, said Friday that he is waiting for Schmidgall to copy him on some materials.

“At this point, based on what I know, I do not anticipate that there will be federal charges,” Esser said.

Placing unstamped material in a home mailbox is seen as depriving revenue.

“The Postal Service will try to identify who put these (fliers) in the mailboxes and send them an invoice,” Esser said.

When a suspect is identified, Schmidgall said he intends to sue for slander.

“I want them to be prosecuted and not just a slap on the wrist,” he said. “They tried to ruin my life.”

Four days after the first fliers appeared, Schmidgall got a letter in the mail with no return address.

“A neighbor had told me that she had seen you picked up the blue flyers (sic) that were in the people’s driveways,” it read. “That was pretty smart of you. A few of us had decided to then mail them to over 500 homes in the area, so that way you will never get to them.” ..Source.. by James Kirley

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