April 14th, 2014
Judge orders shame for neighborhood bully
This news is really gonna upset bully apologists who worry so much about the tender sensibilities of offenders (and less about the harm inflicted by these creeps).
Accused bully says judge who sentenced him to hold sign in public ‘destroyed’ his life
By Adam Ferrise, Northeast Ohio Media Group, April 13, 2014
SOUTH EUCLID, Ohio — The man accused of bullying his neighbors for 15 years, including children with developmental disabilities, carried out part of his punishment on Sunday by sitting at a busy intersection with a large sign that says he’s a bully.
Edmond Aviv, 62, endured five hours of people yelling at him from passing cars while holding a sign that said: “I AM A BULLY! I pick on children that are disabled, and I am intolerant of those that are different from myself. My actions do not reflect an appreciation for the diverse South Euclid community that I live in.”
Aviv, who ignored the comments and rarely looked up, said the judge’s sentence and ensuing media coverage that garnered national and international attention ruined his life. He also denied he bullied the family.
“The judge destroyed me,” said Aviv, who refused to answer other questions. “This isn’t fair at all.”
Some 95 cars honked their horns while passing by the intersection on Monticello Boulevard and Trebisky Road. Another 89 yelled insults at him. Aviv sat at the intersection from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m.
Fourteen people approached Aviv, and either took pictures or talked to him. One neighbor, Alex Simmons, the 21-year-old son of South Euclid Municipal Court Bailiff Isaiah Simmons, said Aviv yelled racial slurs at him while growing up in the neighborhood.
“He called me porch monkey a couple times and the N-word,” Alex Simmons said. “I told my parents at the time and they said to avoid his house and be the bigger person. This punishment is great. Justice has been served.”
Aviv pleaded no contest to a fourth-degree misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct. It’s the fourth time he’s been convicted of harassing his neighbors.
Judge Gayle Williams-Byers sentenced Aviv to hold the sign for five hours on Sunday, serve 15 days in jail and seven months on probation. She also ordered Aviv to complete 100 hours of community service, anger management classes and personal counseling at the Diversity Center of Cleveland.
Court probation officer Steve Flowe monitored Aviv the entire five hours. Isaiah Simmons, the bailiff, also stopped by to ensure the sentence was carried out.
Court records say Aviv harassed Sandra Prugh’s family for 15 years. Prugh has two adult adopted children with developmental disabilities, cerebral palsy and epilepsy, a husband suffering from dementia and a paralyzed son.
Records say the most recent case stemmed from Aviv being annoyed at the smell of Downy coming from Prugh’s dryer vent when she did laundry.
Court records say Aviv tried to sue the family in 2010 because the smell bothered him. The case was thrown out. Shortly after, Aviv dumped fabric softener on Prugh’s lawn, the letter says.
Court records say Aviv later made a device that linked kerosene to a fan in his garage. The fan blew the fumes onto Prugh’s property, reports say. One of Prugh’s children became ill because of the fumes, Williams-Byers previously said.
Prugh called police on April 9 and April 11, 2013, reports say. Firefighters and police discovered the kerosene contraption and made Aviv dismantle it, reports say.
Court and police records say the dispute between Aviv and Prugh dates back 15 years.
Prugh’s letter to the court says that in 1998, Aviv jogged past her and spit on her. He spit on her again while she was planting flowers in her backyard, the letter says.
Aviv later called Prugh a “monkey momma,” according to the letter. The letter says Aviv used the slur while she held her two adopted African-American children with disabilities.
Prugh also claimed Aviv regularly threw dog feces on her son’s car windshield and once smeared feces on a new wheelchair ramp the family built for their disabled children.
On Sunday, several people cursed at Aviv and hurled insults at him from cars. Many slowed to read the sign and take photos. Most of the people who approached Aviv said they liked his punishment. Some said they felt sorry for him.
Neighborhood residents and enraged citizens tried to talk with Aviv, who refused to acknowledge them. One said she drove from Eastlake, a 12-mile drive, specifically to talk with him.
Two women approached him and offered Aviv a bottle of water. One offered him lunch.
One former resident, Brandon Rehner, who said he attended Brush High School with one of the Prugh children, said Aviv cursed at him when he walked by Aviv’s home several years ago.
Scott Fierman, Aviv’s attorney, checked on his client. He declined to address reporter’s questions.
One resident, Bill Schneeberger, who said he’s lived in South Euclid for 15 years, said he knew the children Aviv is accused of bullying. Schneeberger described the children as polite and well-mannered.
Schneeberger said he liked the punishment.
“It’s absolutely good,” Schneeberger said. “As long as he learns from it.”
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