Handwriting Sample Ends Harassment For Gay Couple

A neighbor had been sending mail with homophobic slurs for years
By Liz MacGahan,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 19, 2021 12:20 PM CDT
Handwriting Analysis Ends Harassment For Gay Couple
A rainbow flag.   (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)

A couple in a Boston suburb ended five years of harassment with a little creative detective work. And the neighbors who rallied around them to help have raised over $25,000 for the Milton schools Gay Straight Alliance. The harassment took the form of subscriptions sent to the gay couple’s home addressed to phony—and homophobic—names, USA Today reports. “We were being picked on because we were gay, and it had followed me into my 40s. I couldn’t believe it,” LeeMichael McLean said. McLean and his partner Bryan Furze were troubled by the intrusiveness of the mail, and were growing concerned that their son would see the homophobic slurs on the address labels.

One of the subscriptions their harasser signed them up for was the Boston Globe. But since they were already subscribers, the paper sent back the order paperwork. The subscription card, under the name “Michelle Fruitzey,” was handwritten. McLean posted an image of the subscription card to a neighborhood website along with a recap of the harassment, LGBTQNation reports. A neighbor looked over local election records, found a name in the same handwriting, and sent the police to talk to the match. The suspect, a close neighbor and fellow member of the Town Meeting, confessed, insisting it was just a harmless prank. In an attempt to flip negative into positive, McLean and Furze sold T-shirts with the message “#iammichellefruitzey” to raise funds to fight homophobia in their local schools. (Read more weird crimes stories.)

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