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Wednesday, December 10, 2008
The rest of the story: Sheriff Scott used work email to threaten a teacher
Speaking of Mike Scott, last month, the Lee County Sheriff may have also used his sheriff's department email to make veiled threats:
Sheriff Mike Scott was criticized near and far for mentioning Barack Obama's middle name, Hussein, during an Oct. 6 Republican rally at Germain Arena.

hree days later, while guest lecturing at Florida Gulf Coast University, outspoken Unitarian minister Wayne Robinson chastised Scott for inciting bigotry and hatred.

Among the 35 students in Donna Roberts' Environmental Humanities class was sophomore Lindsay Scott - the sheriff's daughter.

"I was absolutely stunned," said Robinson, who didn't learn until after the class ended that Lindsay Scott was present. "I would have never said that if I knew she was there. It's an unfair platform to speak about someone's father."

A visibly shaken Lindsay Scott, 20, left the room in tears.

Robinson and Roberts, adjunct instructors at FGCU, e-mailed letters of apology within 24 hours.

Sheriff Scott said he doesn't have a problem with Robinson, who simply was exercising his First Amendment right to free speech.

But, Scott objects to an e-mail Roberts sent Robinson just seven minutes after apologizing to his daughter on Oct. 9:

• Donna Roberts to Lindsay Scott (8:09 p.m.): "I want to express how terrible I feel about what happened today in our class. You must have felt awful. I am so very sorry."

• Donna Roberts to Wayne Robinson (8:16 p.m.): "I was glad you said what you did. ... Guess we can't hide who we are ... nor should we."
So how did Scott get the second note? Because Robinson accidentally included the text in the email thread to Scott's daughter. Oops! So what's a right wing, rather scary looking sheriff to do? Threaten the teacher, of course!
He reported the incident to FGCU administration, albeit after having to contact "15 different people in 15 different departments" to file a complaint, he said.

"Nobody is going to lie to me or my kids," Scott said.

... Robinson has taught part time at FGCU since 2006, also serving as a guest speaker in some courses. The topic in Roberts' class was the impact of religious views on the world, and Robinson was discussing feelings of men and women from the opening chapters of Genesis. He then moved to religious perceptions, and because Scott's controversial speech was still in the news, Robinson issued his opinion.

"I said that incites racism and bigotry," Robinson said. "It was a very obvious attempt to relate Barack Obama to Saddam Hussein, and also the 9/11 attacks. All of those involved were Muslim, so he was connecting Barack Obama to that."

Robinson and Scott have spoken and e-mailed each other, and all is good. Robinson said he voted for Scott in the general election.

But Roberts later sent a message to her supervisor saying it was "extremely awkward and unethical" that Scott contacted her, used his work e-mail account to do so and closed by saying "you and your superiors at FGCU have not heard the last from me." Roberts took that as a threat.

"To be honest, I have been feeling vulnerable since seeing his name appear in my FGCU inbox last Sunday," Roberts wrote Oct. 17 to Glenn Whitehouse, chairman of the department of communication and philosophy. "I had a friend escort me to class yesterday."

Scott signed all of his e-mails "Mike Scott," not "Sheriff Mike Scott."
Can the feds add that to the Hatch Act thing?

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posted by JReid @ 11:08 AM  
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