A man who sheltered six children during the Newtown school massacre has become the target of Sandy Hook conspiracy theorists, Salon.com reported
"I don’t know what to do," Gene Rosen said. "I'm getting hang-up calls, I'm getting emails with, not direct threats, but accusations that I'm lying, that I'm a crisis actor, 'How much am I being paid?'"
Rosen, a 69-year-old retired psychologist, lives near Sandy Hook Elementary School where 20-year-old Adam Lanza shot and killed 20 children and six adults on Dec. 14. On the morning of the shooting, Rosen said he had just finished feeding his cats when he saw six children "sitting in a neat semicircle" at the end of his driveway.
"We can't go back to school," Rosen said one little boy told him. "Our teacher is dead."
Rosen took the four girls and two boys — who were students in slain teacher Victoria Soto's class — into his home where he gave them toys to play with while he reached out to their parents.
In the month since the shooting, Rosen said people have posted photos of his home online, created phony Google+ and YouTube accounts in his name, written messages on white supremacist message boards about him, and posted dozens of blogs and videos online, which purport to "expose" him as a fraud.
In the days that followed the shooting, Rosen gave a lot of media interviews, which he thinks may have attracted the bad attention.
"I wanted to speak about the bravery of the children, and it kind of helped me work through this," he said. "I guess I kind of opened myself up to this."
One post, entitled "Grieving Town Grandfather, or Bad 'Crisis Actor,'" reads in part: "Gene's oft repeated, and changing, story about that day, focuses totally on the kids and the sound of gunshots. Even though his eyes and ears should've taken in the whole scene, his story focuses completely on the kids and the guns. Why? Well, if this was a false flag event designed to move political opinion on gun control, here in America, then you would get a lot more bang for your buck by talking about the innocent little children. That's what tugs on America's heart strings the most, especially around Christmas time."
Conspiracy theorists began churning out their opinions in the weeks after the shooting, most notably James Tracy, a media history professor at Florida Atlantic University who says Newtown may not have really happened
. On his blog, Tracy alleges there were multiple shooters at the school, despite reports to the contrary, and that the U.S. government may have employed trained crisis actors.
Another conspiracy theory reported by self-proclaimed Newtown shooting "truthers"
insists that 6-year-old Emilie Parke, who was reported to have been one of the children murdered, is actually alive. In a YouTube video that has drawn more than 250,000 views, a narrator points out that Parker doesn't appear in class photos, but is shown in a photo with President Barack Obama when he visited Newtown shortly after the shooting occurred.
As for the harassment, Rosen has sought advice from a retired state police officer and plans to alert the FBI about it.
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