Man Remains Jailed Over Web Postings

The man posted personal information of employees of a retirement home that he had been evicted from.

by / June 6, 2002
SEATTLE (AP) -- A 70-year-old man has been in jail for more than three months for refusing to delete from his Web site addresses and other personal data of employees at the retirement home that evicted him.

The jailing of Paul Trummel, a native of England who moved to the United States in 1985, has drawn fire from national and international writers groups that support his First Amendment claims.

"Our concern is that he's being punished for speech on the Internet that should be protected," said Lucy Dalglish, executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press in Washington, D.C.

Other groups that have questioned the jailing include the National Union of Journalists in London and Reporters Sans Frontieres of France.

Trummel was jailed indefinitely on Feb. 27 for violating an anti-harassment order by King County Superior Court Judge James A. Doerty. Doerty ruled in April 2001 that Trummel had been abusive and stalked residents and administrators at Council House, a low-income retirement home in Seattle.

Doerty ordered Trummel to remove from his Web site the home phone numbers, addresses and other personal data on employees at Council House, and imposed fines of $100 a day for failing to comply.

Trummel also was ordered to remove a picture making administrator Stephen Mitchell resemble Osama bin Laden.

Council House managers and some residents say Trummel is delusional, obsessive and inflammatory. He was evicted last year, partly because of his Web site and newsletter Disconnections, a takeoff on the center's official publication, Connections.

Last week Doerty limited Trummel's phone privileges, saying he was still harassing residents and staff members, and he was placed in solitary confinement. His incarceration is set for court review June 17.

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