A Wisconsin police chief is facing charges of unlawful use of a computerized communication system after he allegedly signed up a tea party leader on a gay dating site, a pornography site and Healthcare.gov.
Campbell Police Chief Tim Kelemen could face up to $1,000 in fines and 90 days in jail for the misdemeanor crime. Monroe County District Attorney Kevin Croninger told The Associated Press Thursday that Kelemen will be allowed to keep his job.
Kelemen has allegedly been feuding with the tea party in the neighboring town of La Crosse since last fall.
La Crosse members of the conservative group staged a series of protests on an overpass on Interstate 90, until Kelemen convinced the town board to pass an ordinance in October to ban the demonstrations, claiming that they distract drivers.
Kelemen’s attorney Jim Birnbaum says tea party leader Greg Luce retaliated against him by urging tea partiers across the county to make harassing phone calls to the department.
Luce then started receiving calls and emails from gay dating, porn and federal health care websites.
Investigators in La Crosse tracked some of the activity to Kelemen’s home computer and another at Campbell town hall, the Pioneer Press reports.
Luce filed a civil lawsuit against Keleman alleging that he stole his identity and that the overpass ordinance violates the right to free speech.
Croninger says he will not charge Kelemen with identity theft because he felt he couldn’t prove that charge beyond a reasonable doubt. He doesn’t believe Kelemen was working in an official capacity when he allegedly signed up Luce on the websites.
"There's not really any factual dispute about what took place. It's just how those facts fit the statutes," Croninger said. "This is more of a harassing situation than to harm someone's reputation. That is the distinction I see."
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