Thursday, September 14, 2017

Missouri blogger Randy Turner gets punched in the face by a man apparently upset about reporting on sexual-harassment lawsuit involving Sonic Drive-In


Randy Turner
(From The Turner Report)
A Missouri blogger heard a knock on his door Monday afternoon and answered, only to be greeted by a stranger who punched him in the face.

Randy Turner, who publishes Joplin-based The Turner Report, reportedly told police he thought the assault was related to his recent reporting on a sexual-harassment lawsuit involving a former supervisor at a Sonic Drive-In.  The Joplin Police Department yesterday afternoon issued an arrest warrant for Christopher Alred, 31, of Springfield, MO., the former Sonic supervisor who is a defendant in the federal lawsuit.

The punch knocked Turner to the ground, causing a knee injury and black eye, according to a report at the Springfield News-Leader. Turner said in a blog post that he expects to be fine. But the incident is another example of the dangers that can confront bloggers who tackle sensitive subjects -- a topic we know a lot about. From the Springfield newspaper report:

[Turner] said he feels fortunate that Monday's incident was not worse.

"This guy took a punch at me because I stupidly opened the door without looking through the peephole," Turner said.

Turner said he will now be more cautious when opening his door, but he said the assault will not deter him from reporting on controversial topics. He said he has been a reporter for the last 40 years and has operated his blog since 2003.

What events preceded the assault? Here is how Turner describes it in a post yesterday:

Alred, who formerly worked as a supervisor at the Rangeline Sonic, 1101 S. Range Line, was the subject of Turner Report posts Sunday and Monday noting that he was one of the defendants in a federal sexual harassment lawsuit filed by a former Sonic carhop, that he was facing charges of statutory sodomy for a forced encounter with that same carhop, and that he was charged August 27 with his sixth DWI when the Sarcoxie Police Department arrested him for allegedly driving drunk while his eight-year-old daughter was in the back seat.

Turner's reporting on the federal lawsuit against Sonic and others began with a Sunday post, titled "Explosive lawsuit claim: Pervasive sexual harassment at Rangeline Sonic led to two rapes of underage girls." The headline was an attention-grabber, and so was the content:

A lawsuit filed in U. S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri this week claims management at Rangeline Sonic, Joplin failed to do anything about a culture of sexual harassment and that inaction led to the rape of two underage girls by a 30-year-old supervisor.

The supervisor, Chris Alred, a former Joplin resident, who now lives in Springfield, is facing felony statutory sodomy charges in Jasper County Circuit Court in connection with his actions toward the plaintiff in the lawsuit, who was only 16 when the crime allegedly occurred.

According to the petition, the teenager began working at the Sonic at 1101 S. Range Line in late spring 2015 and heard "various sexual jokes made between managers and staff, including minors."

It was not long before she became the target of sexual jokes, the lawsuit says, and was referred to as "a slut" because she had been involved in a relationship at one time with another car hop.

The second lawsuit-related post came on Monday, titled "Sonic supervisor cited in sexual harassment lawsuit cited for sixth DWI." From that post:

A former Joplin Rangeline Sonic manager charged with statutory sodomy for allegedly forcing a teenage carhop to perform a sexual act is free after posting bond, but that may change.

Chris Alred
(From The Turner Report)
 The Jasper County Prosecuting Attorney is asking that the bond of Christopher Alred, 31, Springfield, (formerly of Joplin and Carthage) be revoked after the Sarcoxie Police Department arrested Alred August 27 for driving while intoxicated. . . .

A primary reason for revoking the bond, it is made clear in the motion is Alred's long history of driving while intoxicated.

The probable cause statement for Alred's most recent arrest, shows that he has pleaded guilty to DWI charges five times, along with another guilty plea to amended excessive blood alcohol content.

Do we live in an age where writing a blog post, based on public records, is a threat to your safety? This is from another Turner post:

When I opened the door and the man asked, "Are you Mr. Turner?" and I said I was, bringing on the punch that floored me, it was not just an aging blogger who was attacked -- it was the First Amendment.

The man waited until he had it confirmed that the person looking at him was the person who had written the post or posts that did not meet with his approval. (Note: Police do have a specific suspect.) Then he attacked. . . .

Randy Turner being attacked is no big deal. Someone being attacked for reporting the facts is. And please, let's drop the negative commenters' self-serving claims that I am writing a bunch of lies. In posts like the ones that brought on the assault, every item in them comes directly from public records.

There is a reason why these records are public, even though sometimes they make us uncomfortable.

29 comments:

Anonymous said...

Had no idea that blogging could be so dangerous.

Anonymous said...

Sonic must go out of its way to hire classy supervisors.

Anonymous said...

Schnauzer,

You need to get in touch with Mr. Turner to compare the pluses and minuses of being incarcerated vs. being punched in the face.

legalschnauzer said...

@1:22 --

Interesting idea. Let's see . . . being beaten in my home, pepper sprayed in the eyes, and 5 months in jail vs. one punch to the face. I think I would take Mr. Turner's deal over mine.

I feel certain neither is pleasant, and both are alarming.

Anonymous said...

I think I would take my chances with being attacked by a private citizen over being attacked by a gang of corrupt cops.

Vester Lee Flanagan II said...

I kinda feel the same way about this story as I feel when soldiers are killed in battle. Very sad, tragic even...but not surprising. Blogger-azzis (My term for bloggers who write from questionable motives, people who revel in the intimate details of others private affairs and e-blast those details not for general good, public service or even profit...but simply because they can, while hiding behind 1st amendment) and soldiers both know the risks they are taking when they perform their chosen professions.

Soldiers carry guns and hide behind bunkers, blogger-azzis use keyboards and hide behind the Internet. When injury or death comes, we should not be surprised it came...we should simply be acknowledge the occurrence.

In my humble opinion blogger-azzis like mr turner and you Mr. Schaunzer dont face nearly enough consequences for your choices.

Anonymous said...

Have those two dudes in the Sonic commercials been advised of this?

legalschnauzer said...

Vester:

You have a strange perspective on a free press, to say the least. Private affairs? Mr. Turner's articles appear to be 100 percent based on public documents. Many of my posts are based totally, or partially, on public documents. As for motives, Mr. Turner and I both have backgrounds in journalism; I have a degree in journalism. What makes you think either one of us has "questionable" motives? How would you know, one way or another?

You are entitled to have disdain for reporters and the First Amendment, but perhaps you should consider moving to a country where free speech and a free press are not more or less the norm. Maybe you would be more comfortable elsewhere because you certainly don't seem to embrace American values.

Anonymous said...

"Mr. Flanagan" accuses others of hiding behind this and that, but he's hiding behind a fake name.


https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/vester-lee-flanagan-ii-named-suspect-live-tv-shootings-virginia-n416331

Bryce Williams said...

Oh I embrace American values...most Americans when they look at the body of work that bloggers like you, turner, Charles C John, Pastor Gregg Locke, Richard B Spencer and similar lot consider your work part of the problem in America. Your "naming names" of those who don't matter (to the public)does not bring truth, justice or right wrongs. You peddle in the currency of gossip and your embrace the feeling of power your cyber spotlight allows you to shine on the defenseless. You and people like Turner claim you are doing public journalism, but in reality you are both reporting nonsense...to embarrass, humiliate and embolden yourselves.

Another news flash, Chico. All the drama you and turner have in your lives... you know, the evictions, broken arms, shattered families, destituteness--its all self imposed.

I wish that YOU would move to a country that treated your ilk as they deserved. Mayve like Vester suggested???

legalschnauzer said...

So you now are Bryce, but you once were Vester. Got a dual-personality thing going on?

You claim to embrace American values, but you pooh-pooh the First Amendment? That's a strange way of embracing American values. I sense a touch of arrogance when you claim to know who and what matters to the public.

Legal Schnauzer has been ranked among the top 50 law blogs in North America, the only one on the list not affiliated with a law firm, law school, legal media organization, etc. We've had 3 to 6 million page views, depending on the stat service you check. Quite a few people value what I do, and I'm convinced the same is true with Mr. Turner.

Care to cite any examples of nonsense reporting at LS or Turner Report? Feel free to give it a shot. By that time, I guess your name will be Walter Cronkite.

Anonymous said...

Uncle Vester:

You think a federal sexual-harassment claim against a nationwide restaurant chain isn't news, especially when it involves claims of statutory sodomy. You want your daughter working at the Sonic in Joplin?

Anonymous said...

I bet Sonic carhops see and hear some strange stuff when they go out to take orders at vehicles. Not sure I would want my kid working in that environment, not to mention to possibility of sleazebag managers like this guy.

Anonymous said...

Aren't those dudes in the Sonic commercials gay?

Frank Vincent said...

Hey Schnauzer,

You quickly found who Vester was, but your library internet connection must have been closing too soon to allow you to find out who Bryce was. Maybe there is a message in those monikers?

I will play ball...though I find you too delusional and narcissistic to imagine you will allow yourself a moment of introspection to consider this.

-LS reporting on Kristen Milling. There is not a real journalist in the world that would drive so many posts highlight the back & forth exchange between a private person who commented on a story. She has written you asking for privacy & compassion. You chose to ridicule, mock and taunt her. You chose to dive into her personal life publishing her job, personal pictures and entire family tree. All because she dared to ask you for some responsible writing. She would not have been news, had she not written you. You chose to make her news because in your warped mind you have a dual role is journalist and activist...meaning any interaction with you is news.

-LS reporting on your own nephew, Blake Schuler, on his youthful transgressions. Due to your personal failings and inability to maintain a relationship with your family, specifically your brother, you "reported" your nephews minor legal troubles for the sole purpose as to mock, ridicule and humiliate your brother. Using your nephew as a pawn in this is reprehensible. You either dont care or know that what you write will be one of the first things that someone will find about him in a google search. So when a date, employer or university were to look for him...they will find your drivel...harming him, not your brother. Other journalists take aim at issues, but work hard to minimize the collateral damage of their reporting. You use nuclear tactics to cover a minor target and you give exactly zero shits about the fall out or collateral damage.

-LS reporting on the ashely madison hack victims. This is a major example of nonsense reporting. There is not a single reputable journalist that revels in the ability to personalize this story as you do. Certainly it has been covered and there were nuggets of lessons to be learned, but the way your so brutally highlight individuals, their families and their businesses take you out of journalist camp and firmly insert you as a blogger-azzi.

-LS reporting Jessica Garrison. I can give you 3.5 million reasons or spend 5 months trying to explain why you are an asshole, but someone else tried and you were too stupid to learn.

I really could write all day, but I know this is wasted on you. Hopefully you some day meet a blogger version of Vestor or Byrce.

Looking forward to seeing you at the library again. Now go get your shine box.

legalschnauzer said...

Frank:

Here's an idea: If you don't like the way I do my blog, why don't you start your own? Of course, that would be more work than throwing bombs from behind the cloak of fake names. I doubt you have the talent, energy, balls, or intellect to write a blog, but please give it a shot and let me know when it debuts.

Meanwhile, it's certainly interesting that you seem to care so much about Mike McGarity's niece, my brother, and Jessica Garrison. Quite a dynamic going on there.

Anonymous said...

Frank/Bryce/Vester (FBV), in all of his iterations, never even insinuates that any of Mr. Schnauzer's work is inaccurate. Anyone with ties to the news business knows the three rules of journalism are "accuracy, accuracy, and accuracy." FBV, I take it, is acknowledging that Mr. Schnauzer is a pretty good journalist. All of the subject matter that FBV bitches about, while maybe not appropriate for a mainstream newspaper, certainly fits with the theme of this blog.

Anonymous said...

And another thing...

No one is fooled with your fake anonymous postings. If you want to try to pan off some of this drivel as a "reader", try using a different tense or maybe alter there times, beyond just the library limit of shifts on a computer.

So, Mr. Anony-schnauzer, to your point "accuracy, accuracy, and accuracy" fine. I agree a journalist should be accurate, but they should also be apply the principals of Truthfulness, objectivity, impartiality, fairness and accountability. Lets not forget the principal of "limitation of harm". Let me help you with this one, Rog... it often involves the withholding of certain details from reports such as the names of minor children, crime victims' names or information not materially related to particular news reports release of which might, for example, harm someone's reputation.

You are right its your blog...but call it what it is, your personal gripe rag rather than journalism.


legalschnauzer said...

@2:26 --

One of the top 50 law blogs in North America is my "personal gripe rag"? Right, I got it. Makes a lot of sense.

Speaking of making no sense, I have no clue what your second paragraph is about. Why don't you contact me at (205) 381-5673 and try explaining it?

Finally, I actually studied journalism in college, and I doubt you did, and I've never heard of the "limitation of harm" theory. Maybe that's because you pulled it out of your ass.

Do you practice "limitation of harm" in your own life? For example, should a lawyer limit harm by filing only lawsuits with actual merit? Should a judge limit harm by issuing rulings that are based only on the facts and law, not favoritism toward a certain party or attorney? Should cops limit harm by treating citizens respectfully instead of breaking their arms or breaking into their homes and abusing them with pepper spray, with no grounds for even being on the property? Should individuals like "Frank Vincent" limit harm by refraining from making comments that are thinly veiled death threats?

Do we have any reason to believe you practice "limitation of harm" yourself. Or is that just a line of bullshit you like to anonymously apply to others, while ignoring it yourself?

Something tells me you are about as shallow as a thimble -- and far less useful.

Anonymous said...

@2:26 --

You might learn how to spell "their" before offering advice to LS about how to handle his blog.

Your use of "and another thing" suggests you are the same person as Frank Vincent -- and he believes in more or less issuing death threats. But you are supposed to be taken seriously about "limitation of harm"? Pfftt!

Effing phony!

e.a.f. said...

Technology has changed the world of journalism and that which is covered by it. At one time newspapers/printed information was restricted to mainly the moneyed class. that changed with computers and e-mails and websites.

Some feel emboldened when they have only one person to deal with rather than a corporation. some people feel so entitled to their criminality that they will break the law in an attempt to stop others from making it public. It may also be a sign of deteriorating mental health. Some one who thinks its O.K. at some level to sexuality assault a child would in my opinion have no problem with punching some one else who published the truth about them.



Now as to Vester's comments regarding bloggers and the information they provide, in the case of Mr. Turner, it was a service he provided to the community. it informed people there was an alleged sexual predator out there. Giving the information wider publication may inform those who thought they were the only victim of the supervisor to come forward. Sexual assault and sexual harassment needs to be removed from society. Everyone has the right to go to work without the fear of being sexually harassed and/or assaulted. Giving this incident greater publication also sends a message to corporations, to ensure their corporate practises include ensuring their work places are harassment and assault free.

As to suggesting Mr. Schuler has "questionable" motives, I would suggest his publication of the names of men involved in such things as A.Madison is providing a public service; for how else might their other sexual partners (wives) know they ought to go see their doctor and be checked for sexually transmitted diseases.

Publishing the facts of a situation, however embarrassing, is the right of all in the U.S.A.. the constitution gives you that right. If its the truth, so be it. if you can't take the bad publicity, then don't act in a manner which will get you that bad publicity. or as they used to say, if you can't do the time, don't do the crime. Growing up in Vancouver, British Columbia children were taught: if you don't want it report it on the front page of the Vancouver Sun, don't do it or don't put it in writing. Seems some area of the U.S.A forgot to teach something like that.

Frank you obviously don't like Mr. schuler's blog, but it is his right to publish it. The American Constitution gave him that right. As to protecting other family members, etc. the person who conducted themselves in such a manner to become the subject of the blog, might have thought of that. Mr. Schuler is not responsible for the emotional well being of those covered in his blog. that is the responsibility of those who they are related to who conducted themselves in such a manner as to become the subject of this blog.

In many of the cases where Mr. Schuler reported on people listing on A.M. they were purporting to be "family types with family type values". Many of these people were engaged in professions where good judgement was important. People who engage in adulterous activities don't always have "good judgement" and so it is important for those who deal with them, to know what they're dealing with. There is also the no small matter, of engaging some one who might be susceptible to black mail. In some professions that is really, really important to know. If a lawyer or accountant will cheat on their spouse, they may cheat you on something also. it goes to values and good judgment.

it would not surprise me if bloggers become targets of unhappy subjects. its easy to attack one person. Its also an indication of the deterioration of American society, the lack of respect for their own Constitution. One of the great documents the world has produced, much like the Magna Carta.

Anonymous said...

How is poverty tonight Roger? Must make you sad to put your head on your pillow at night and know you have nothing. No home. No real job. No name for people to respect. I smile just thinking about it. When you are in bed tonight with that creature you call a wife, I will be eating $100 entrees and having drinks. Hurts a little doesn't it. Makes me so happy when bullies get their due. Have a good night douchebag. I will toast to your ruin at dinner tonight.

legalschnauzer said...

@4:34 --

I've got more respect than you will ever know, both from others and from myself. Self-respect clearly is lacking in your words. They are dripping with projection and self-hatred. In fact, you are so ashamed of your own name that you won't share it here. You will notice that everything I write has my actual name on it. That's a sign of self-respect, but you wouldn't know about that.

I've made more impact on lives than you ever will begin to touch. You've accomplished nothing in life -- and you're lack of real achievement eats at you. Even worse for you, you've come face to face with the fact that you have no moral compass, which leads to lack of self respect. Deep down, you know you could be gone tomorrow -- or you might be gone soon -- and not one person will really miss you.

As for Carol, you despise her because she stands for something. She has shown extraordinary courage in the face of ongoing corruption -- and you know your "courage" ends at the tip of your credit card. In fact, it sounds like you need "liquid courage" just to get through the day. Carol has stood by me, "in good times and in bad," and you know your spouse would not do the same, because you have no worth beyond your bank account.

You think being a glutton and a drunk makes you a worthwhile individual, that defines success? What a shallow joke you are. As for poverty, it comes in several varieties. Yes, our funds are low right now, but that will change someday. Your poverty of the soul will never change. It will gnaw at you every day for the rest of your life, like a metastisizing tumor -- and it will follow you to the gates of hell.

Speaking of toast, that's what you will be in hell. And it's what you are in the hell you've created for yourself here on earth -- eaten up with regret, envy, and shame, spreading over you like a cancer. We will escape our difficulties one day, but you have no means of escape; you are stuck with yourself.

Glad I'm not in your shoes. Have a good one, bro.

legalschnauzer said...

e.a.f. --

Thanks for a thoughtful comment. Your comments about those who engage in crime and abuse really hit home.

If you look at the reporting here on our personal situation, it can be boiled down to two indisputable facts:

(1) All of it started with a neighbor, Mike McGarity, who has a lengthy criminal history, much of it involving lack of respect for the rights of others. I challenge anyone to deal on a regular basis with someone who has at least eight criminal convictions on his record. See what it's like to try to engage someone who is impervious to reason. Bottom line: Our problems started from being faced with a criminal, next door, intruding on our privacy and property rights, over and over.

(2) McGarity hired a lawyer, Bill Swatek, who has a lengthy history of receiving discipline from the Alabama State Bar, including suspension of his license. Swatek tried to cheat an opposing party by tape-recording attorneys, without their knowledge. When he was found out, he lied and claimed he knew nothing about the recording. He even lied under oath about it in a bar proceeding. And public records show he lied about in court, in a criminal proceeding for perjury. Bottom line: Public records show McGarity is a cheat and a criminal; they show Swatek is a cheat and a criminal.

No one can dispute our portrayal of these two "gentlemen." Hell, even McGarity's niece didn't try to defend him or even mention his name. She just didn't like being publicly associated with him.

Folks are free to disagree with how we've tried to handle this. But I would like to see them in our shoes -- trying to deal with McGarity and Swatek intruding in our lives -- and see how they fare.

Some people in this world have no respect for the rights or feelings of others. They are incredibly difficult to deal with, especially when one of them receives corrupt favors in the legal system -- probably because of all the dirt he knows on people, as both a lawyer and a former deputy.

People might take issue with Carol or me on certain things. But no one ever has been able to dispute this: (1) Our reporting here is accurate; (2) We always have tried to deal with abuse and corruption by responding in ways that are lawful and ethical; (3) We have stood up for justice, not only for ourselves, but for others.

That makes you a target for those who oppose justice, who want to get away with their crimes and abuse, who want to see the table tilted wildly in their favor -- perhaps because they know, when things are fair and square, they can't compete and they are likely to be unmasked as losers.

Anonymous said...

@4:34 --

Sounds like you've got something up your ass. Why? Are you butt-hurt? Is that what's up your ass? Or is it something else that is up your ass? All I know is: Something is up your ass.

Anonymous said...

Revoke his sex offense bond and tell the inmates what he did to an underage girl. Problem solved.

Anonymous said...

@4:34,

I'd say LS just tore out your heart and stomped that sucker flat. Go massage what's left of your ego. Ouch!

Anonymous said...

Hey, 4:34, you just walked into a haymaker, son. Bet that hurts like a son of a bee.

Here's a toast to your devastated psyche . . . sucker.

e.a.f. said...

A/ 4:34.

poverty can be a relative thing. Remember Dolly Parton's song about the Coat of Many Colours. its still true today. If you have the respect of those who you care about then why care about things people like you say. In my opinion Mr. Schuler would be better off to not print your tirades. He may well print them so others can see what you are writing to him, but rest assured many of us simply do not consider it appropriate.

Mr. Schuler may no longer own his home, but he still owns his personal integrity. That most likely helps him sleep better each night. The fact that Mrs. Schuler was considered one of the best law blogs in America may be worth more to him than a big bank account.

As to eating $100 entrees, really? It is doubtful some one such as yourself would be engaging in these types of activities.

Referring to Ms. Schuler in the terms you do simply lets every one know what a sexist attitude you have. Its bad manner.

Mr. Shuler in my opinion is not a bully. He is simply advising the public of the facts on any number of events, practises, etc. in America. Come to think of it, that is what America has always prided itself on, freedom of the press and freedom of speech.

Now please go find something else to do. No one is really interested in what you spend on dinner. I would suggest you are inflating the cost of your entrée.