BREAKING NEWS: State Rep John Rogers Opposes the First Amendment! Update (DTG)

by Roxeanne De Luca | November 4th, 2012

Readability

BREAKING NEWS: State Rep John Rogers Opposes the First Amendment! Update (DTG)

By Peter and Rox­eanne

Break­ing news from Nor­wood, Mass­a­chu­setts: John Rogers’ cam­paign man­ager and par­ents threat­ened, intim­i­dated, and sought police action against two women dis­trib­ut­ing voter guides on a pub­lic sidewalk.

Back­ground

Every elec­tion cycle, Catholic Cit­i­zen­ship, a non-​partisan group of lay Catholics, dis­trib­utes voter guides. Yes­ter­day and today, the group handed out the fly­ers in front of churches around the Com­mon­wealth. One voter guide had the 12th Nor­folk state rep­re­sen­ta­tive race on one side (incum­bent John Rogers against Jim Stan­ton), with the Eliz­a­beth Warren/​Scott Brown posi­tions on the reverse. The state rep voter guide may be found here. The infor­ma­tion is culled from the can­di­dates’ responses to ques­tions, state­ments they have made, and, as applic­a­ble, votes cast. Although John Rogers’ staff and par­ents have refused to cite any mis­lead­ing or incor­rect infor­ma­tion on the guides, they strongly oppose their distribution.

Elaine, a woman in her mid-​sixties, and Brid­get, a young attor­ney, stood in the pub­lic park­ing lot out­side of St. Cather­ine of Siena parish in Nor­wood, Mass­a­chu­setts, on the cor­ner of Wash­ing­ton St. and Nahatan St., dis­trib­ut­ing the guides to passer-​by.

The Harass­ment, Intim­i­da­tion, and Police Calls by Rogers’ staff and parents

Before Brid­get arrived, a man by the name of Jimmy Ger­aghty walked up to Elaine and said, “I’m with Brid­get. May I have those?” Jimmy Ger­aghty is John Rogers’ cam­paign man­ager. (Two years ago, Jimmy Ger­aghty had harassed Brid­get as she dis­trib­uted the voter guides and stalked her later; he also threat­ened and spent three months stalk­ing another man who dis­trib­uted the guides.) Elaine trust­ingly turned the voter guides over to him, never to be seen again by her. (Hello, lar­ceny by trick!)

As Brid­get and Elaine stood in the pub­lic park­ing area across from Nahatan Street from the church, Jimmy Ger­aghty drove up, exited his pickup truck, and the fol­low­ing words were exchanged*:

The ever-​so-​classy lady who asked Brid­get if she got her law license at the dog pound is John Rogers’ mother. The man with her is his father. Jimmy Ger­aghty indeed called the police; here is the photo of the police report:

Offi­cer Daniel Leav­itt arrived and spoke to Ger­aghty; Brid­get walked up to the squad car and said, “We are hand­ing out voter guides; we are not solic­it­ing for dona­tions. We are on pub­lic side­walks, not pri­vate nor Church prop­erty. We are well within the bounds of the First Amend­ment [she handed over her MA bar card], and I’m an attor­ney; we’re being care­ful to oper­ate within the bounds of the law, I do not know what we are doing wrong here.” Offi­cer Leav­itt replied that he just got there; he spoke with Ger­aghty and Elaine, then reported that there was no legal vio­la­tion, that the women were well within their rights, and departed.

As any­one with an iota of legal knowl­edge can tell you, stand­ing out on a pub­lic side­walk dis­trib­ut­ing polit­i­cal infor­ma­tion is pro­tected under the First Amend­ment, and is the core of First Amend­ment pro­tec­tions. A lit­tle old lady and a young woman should not have the police sicced on them for exer­cis­ing that right. Will John Rogers con­demn his cam­paign manager’s actions? his par­ents’ actions?

Because his par­ents did indeed try to use the arm of the police to shut down Brid­get and Elaine, a mere hour and a half later.

The Harass­ment Continues

After the next Mass, Elaine, Brid­get, and Elaine’s hus­band, being care­ful to remain on on pub­lic ways, handed out the voter guides. (Again, .pdf copies, right here.) When Brid­get walked onto the Wash­ing­ton St. sidewalks,Mrs. Rogers pulled aside a dif­fer­ent police offi­cer and asked him to force Brid­get to stop. (Mean­while, Ger­aghty and Mr. Rogers were harass­ing Elaine and her husband.)

Because when one police offi­cer tells you that a few women have a First Amend­ment right to hand out the voter guides, you obvi­ously try to get another offi­cer to get a sec­ond opin­ion, right? That’s not harass­ment at all.

That wasn’t enough for the ever-​so-​classy Mrs. Rogers, mother to long­time incum­bent John Rogers; she fetched a priest to (erro­neously) claim that the church owned and con­trolled the pub­lic side­walk. The priest rather viciously tore into Elaine and Brid­get and said that he was instruct­ing his parish­ioners to ignore the voter guide, as it was “full of lies” and “bla­tantly par­ti­san”. (Yep, that voter guide that you all just down­loaded.) He also said that the women had dropped off “a huge stack” of the guides inside and that such action, cou­pled with Mrs. Rogers’ advo­cacy, prompted to him to issue the warn­ings to his flock.

(The Depart­ment of Pub­lic Works is closed today; details about the own­er­ship of the pub­lic side­walk will be made avail­able as discovered.)

A stack of voter guides? Where have we seen that before? Yep, Jimmy Ger­aghty tossed the stolen guides inside the church to smear Elaine and Bridget.

Final Thoughts

There is no rea­son to harass and taunt two women who are hand­ing out voter guides. That is beyond the pale; it is par­tic­u­larly dis­gust­ing, and poten­tially crim­i­nal, to not once, but TWICE attempt to get the women arrested for exer­cis­ing their First Amend­ment rights.

No politi­cian can be respon­si­ble for the actions of his sup­port­ers, but these peo­ple are John Rogers’ own par­ents and his hand-​picked cam­paign man­ager. Will Rogers denounce the intim­i­da­tion and unlaw­ful actions of his near and dear, or will he allow the harass­ment in the name of hold­ing onto his seat? Will Rogers refuse to hire Ger­aghty again to run his campaign?

*Brid­get mis-​stated the name of the man who had been threat­ened and stalked last year. His last name is Smith and he wit­nessed some of the events of today.

Update: (DaT­e­chGuy) Fixed the width of the video for Rox­eanne, I am also send­ing an e-​mail to the parish to con­firm and inquire about the priest’s con­duct in this matter.

Update 2: Cor­rec­tion this post was by Rox­eAnne I was not there but am fol­low­ing up.

Update 3: Peter is con­tact­ing the Arch­dio­cese. For the record, no indi­vid­ual in this sce­nario has a prob­lem with the Catholic Church empha­siz­ing that the voter guides are not pro­duced, endorsed, or affil­i­ated with it; how­ever, there’s a very clear line between that and doing what the priest did, which is to say that the voter guides are bla­tantly par­ti­san and that the parish­ioners have a duty to dis­re­gard them. It also exceeds (in my hum­ble opin­ion) priestly author­ity to tell a young woman to stop dis­trib­ut­ing the guides on pub­lic sidewalks.

Update 4: (DTG) Talked to the Mon­signor briefly (he called me just before the Scott Brown event) he says the guides were in the church and because they had the names of can­di­dates they are not allowed, he also stated he was unaware of the spe­cific group and as there are sev­eral pseudo-​catholic groups out there could not ver­ify they were legit. (Given some of the pseudo Catholic groups out there not an unrea­son­able concern)

I’m not in the habit of doubt­ing a Mon­signor of the church, but I obvi­ously know & trust Rox­eanne so I pre­sume she stands by her story. I also trust my read­ers so feel free to make up your own mind. If I get any of the writ­ten ques­tions answered or more info I’ll let you know.

By Peter and Roxeanne

Breaking news from Norwood, Massachusetts: John Rogers’ campaign manager and parents threatened, intimidated, and sought police action against two women distributing voter guides on a public sidewalk.

Background

Every election cycle, Catholic Citizenship, a non-partisan group of lay Catholics, distributes voter guides.  Yesterday and today, the group  handed out the flyers in front of churches around the Commonwealth. One voter guide had the 12th Norfolk state representative race on one side (incumbent John Rogers against Jim Stanton), with the Elizabeth Warren/Scott Brown positions on the reverse. The state rep voter guide may be found here. The information is culled from the candidates’ responses to questions, statements they have made, and, as applicable, votes cast.  Although John Rogers’ staff and parents have refused to cite any misleading or incorrect information on the guides, they strongly oppose their distribution.

Elaine, a woman in her mid-sixties, and Bridget, a young attorney, stood in the public parking lot outside of St. Catherine of Siena parish in Norwood, Massachusetts, on the corner of Washington St. and Nahatan St., distributing the guides to passer-by.

The Harassment, Intimidation, and Police Calls by Rogers’ staff and parents

Before Bridget arrived, a man by the name of Jimmy Geraghty walked up to Elaine and said, “I’m with Bridget. May I have those?”  Jimmy Geraghty is John Rogers’ campaign manager. (Two years ago, Jimmy Geraghty had harassed Bridget as she distributed the voter guides and stalked her later; he also threatened and spent three months stalking another man who distributed the guides.)  Elaine trustingly turned the voter guides over to him, never to be seen again by her.  (Hello, larceny by trick!)

As Bridget and Elaine stood in the public parking area across from Nahatan Street from the church, Jimmy Geraghty drove up, exited his pickup truck, and the following words were exchanged*:

The ever-so-classy lady who asked Bridget if she got her law license at the dog pound is John Rogers’ mother. The man with her is his father.  Jimmy Geraghty indeed called the police; here is the photo of the police report:

Officer Daniel Leavitt arrived and spoke to Geraghty; Bridget walked up to the squad car and said, “We are handing out voter guides; we are not soliciting for donations.  We are on  public sidewalks, not private nor Church property.  We are well within the bounds of the First Amendment [she handed over her MA bar card], and I’m an attorney; we’re being careful to operate within the bounds of the law, I do not know what we are doing wrong here.”  Officer Leavitt replied that he just got there; he spoke with Geraghty and Elaine, then reported that there was no legal violation, that the women were well within their rights, and departed.

As anyone with an iota of legal knowledge can tell you, standing out on a public sidewalk distributing political information is protected under the First Amendment, and is the core of First Amendment protections.  A little old lady and a young woman should not have the police sicced on them for exercising that right.  Will John Rogers condemn his campaign manager’s actions? his parents’ actions?

Because his parents did indeed try to use the arm of the police to shut down Bridget and Elaine, a mere hour and a half later.

The Harassment Continues

After the next Mass, Elaine, Bridget, and Elaine’s husband, being careful to remain on on public ways, handed out the voter guides.  (Again, .pdf copies, right here.)   When Bridget walked onto the Washington St. sidewalks,Mrs. Rogers pulled aside a different police officer and asked him to force Bridget to stop.  (Meanwhile, Geraghty and Mr. Rogers were harassing Elaine and her husband.)

Because when one police officer tells you that a few women have a First Amendment right to hand out the voter guides, you obviously try to get another officer to get a second opinion, right? That’s not harassment at all.

That wasn’t enough for the ever-so-classy Mrs. Rogers, mother to longtime incumbent John Rogers; she fetched a priest to (erroneously) claim that the church owned and controlled the public sidewalk.  The priest rather viciously tore into Elaine and Bridget and said that he was instructing his parishioners to ignore the voter guide, as it was “full of lies” and “blatantly partisan”.  (Yep, that voter guide that you all just downloaded.)  He also said that the women had dropped off “a huge stack” of the guides inside and that such action, coupled with Mrs. Rogers’ advocacy, prompted to him to issue the warnings to his flock.

(The Department of Public Works is closed today; details about the ownership of the public sidewalk will be made available as discovered.)

A stack of voter guides?  Where have we seen that before?  Yep, Jimmy Geraghty tossed the stolen guides inside the church to smear Elaine and Bridget.

Final Thoughts

There is no reason to harass and taunt two women who are handing out voter guides.  That is beyond the pale; it is particularly disgusting, and potentially criminal, to not once, but TWICE attempt to get the women arrested for exercising their First Amendment rights.

No politician can be responsible for the actions of his supporters, but these people are John Rogers’ own parents and his hand-picked campaign manager.  Will Rogers denounce the intimidation and unlawful actions of his near and dear, or will he allow the harassment in the name of holding onto his seat?  Will Rogers refuse to hire Geraghty again to run his campaign?

*Bridget mis-stated the name of the man who had been threatened and stalked last year.  His last name is Smith and he witnessed some of the events of today.

Update: (DaTechGuy) Fixed the width of the video for Roxeanne, I am also sending an e-mail to the parish to confirm and inquire about the priest’s conduct in this matter.

Update 2: Correction this post was by RoxeAnne I was not there but am following up.

Update 3: Peter is contacting the Archdiocese.  For the record, no individual in this scenario has a problem with the Catholic Church emphasizing that the voter guides are not produced, endorsed, or affiliated with it; however, there’s a very clear line between that and doing what the priest did, which is to say that the voter guides are blatantly partisan and that the parishioners have a duty to disregard them.  It also exceeds (in my humble opinion) priestly authority to tell a young woman to stop distributing the guides on public sidewalks.

Update 4: (DTG) Talked to the Monsignor briefly (he called me just before the Scott Brown event) he says the guides were in the church and because they had the names of candidates they are not allowed, he also stated he was unaware of the specific group and as there are several pseudo-catholic groups out there could not verify they were legit. (Given some of the pseudo Catholic groups out there not an unreasonable concern)

I’m not in the habit of doubting a Monsignor of the church, but I obviously know & trust Roxeanne so I presume she stands by her story. I also trust my readers so feel free to make up your own mind. If I get any of the written questions answered or more info I’ll let you know.

DaTechGuy on DaRadio Saturday Noon EST. WBNW AM 1120 Concord WPLM 1390 Plymouth WESO 970 Southbridge, FTR Radio, the 405 Media

DaTechGuy on DaRadio Saturday Noon EST.  WBNW AM 1120 Concord  WPLM 1390 Plymouth WESO 970 Southbridge, FTR Radio, the 405 Media

Last week:

Special Easter show Hour 1 MINH
& Hour 2 WQPH

Next week:

Get Cash for Your Pallets! 1-(800) 248-7543

Get Cash for Your Pallets!  1-(800) 248-7543

Before You Buy Give Colonial West a Try……… 978-516-0799

Before You Buy Give Colonial West a Try……… 978-516-0799

jeffrey’s

jeffrey’s

Buy Raspberry Ketone Here

Buy Raspberry Ketone Here

Belanger Hardware 284 Water St · Fitchburg · (978) 342-2912

Belanger Hardware 284 Water St  · Fitchburg  · (978) 342-2912

Try the Double Burger!

Try the Double Burger!

Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester

Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester

pottery paintin place

pottery paintin place

The Navy Seals in their First Mission

The Navy Seals in their First Mission

Get yours for Kindle Here

Get yours for Kindle Here

Listen to your Granny

Listen to your Granny

Bernard PC 774-322-6045

Bernard PC 774-322-6045

Support our favorite Charties

Chris Muir’s Day by Day

Read me at Examiner.com

Read me at Examiner.com

Only 114 Million Hits to retirement!

Monthly Goal (Mortgage Plus Writers) $1465

Olimometer 2.52

Most Innovative Blogger 2013

Most Innovative Blogger 2013

Tags