Tuesday, October 29, 2002

Hate e-mail ruled not a crime

The Associated Press

OXFORD, Ohio - An anonymous e-mail sent to members of a gay and lesbian support group at Miami University was "despicable" but not a crime, university officials said.

The e-mail was sent Oct. 20 to 12 members of Spectrum, a campus organization that describes itself as a group of "gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans, queer and straight Miami students, staff and faculty."

The e-mail said Spectrum and its members "weaken the moral foundation of this country." It went on to suggest that they "should go find (themselves) a ceiling rafter and a sturdy piece of rope. You know the rest."

Because the message did not suggest that the writer intended to harm the recipients, university officials concluded that it could not be investigated as a crime, university spokesman Richard Little said Monday.

The e-mail was fictitiously signed with a name that does not belong to any student at Miami, and school officials do not know whether it came from within the university, Little said.

Spectrum said Monday that it and other campus organizations, along with faculty members, plan an "anti-hate rally" Tuesday afternoon on the Oxford campus, to counter the e-mail's message.

The 12 recipients made their sexual orientation known in a "National Coming Out Day" advertisement that ran on Oct. 11 in the Miami Student campus newspaper.

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