Portland man faces civil-rights charges for threats, slurs -- The Maine GayNet Archive

Saturday, May 31, 1997

Portland man faces civil-rights charges for threats, slurs

By Jason Wolfe
Staff Writer
©Copyright 1997 Guy Gannett Communications
The state Attorney General's Office has filed a civil-rights complaint against a 45-year-old man accused of threatening and yelling homophobic slurs at his Portland landlady.

The complaint, filed in Cumberland County Superior Court, stems from a May 17 incident at a Hampshire Street apartment house.

The owner of the apartment had gone to collect rent from Samuel L. Call, a first-floor tenant. Call told the 36-year-old woman, who is a lesbian, that he did not have any money, according to the complaint.

As she left, the complaint alleges, Call followed her out and uttered a profanity followed by calling her a ''dyke.'' He then told the woman he would kill her if she ever came near his apartment again, according to the complaint.

After more homophobic slurs and lewd sexual gestures, the complaint alleges, Call ran at the woman yelling, ''I'll get a gun and blow you away.''

Police charged Call with terrorizing and harassment. Call could not be reached for comment Friday.

''The brazenness and openness of what he said and did is what's disturbing about this case,'' said Stephen Wessler, assistant attorney general and head of the agency's civil-rights unit. ''There seems to be this sense out there among these types of perpetrators that they can say these things and get away with it. But they're wrong.''

The court action seeks a permanent injunction prohibiting Call from coming within 100 feet of the woman or contacting her in any way. He also faces a civil penalty of up to $5,000.

A court hearing is expected within two weeks, Wessler said.

The woman is in the process of evicting Call, who reportedly was intoxicated during the incident.

The Attorney General's Office pursued the civil-rights case against Call on the advice of Portland police. The state has four witnesses who saw or heard the encounter, Wessler said.

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