This story has been updated.
A 44-year old man has been convicted of committing a hate crime after sending anti-Semitic emails to an elected official in Westchester.
White Plains resident Timothy Goetze was found guilty of three counts of aggravated harassment, misdemeanors, for threats he made against Greenburgh Town Supervisor Paul Feiner and his family in 2017.
Goetze was found guilty this week following a bench trial in White Plains City Court. Goetze was sentenced to a one-year conditional discharge, 75 hours of community service and orders of protection were issued for Feiner, his wife, and daughter.
In August 2017, the Greenburgh Police Department investigated three threatening emails that were sent to Feiner and his family. Westchester County District Attorney Anthony Scarpino, Jr., said the emails were prompted regarding a Confederate monument at a private cemetery.
Scarpino said that the content of the three emails was identical, but each contained a different subject line: “Human Rights Education;” “Letter to the Ugly Dumb Jew;” and “Letter to the Parasite.”
Among other things the writer used profanities and directed numerous anti-Semitic slurs to. Feiner. The final sentence included the threat: “You better run and hide you stupid f--king jew (sic). We are coming for you and your family,” signed by “Anti-Zionist.”
Although the emails did not have Goetze’s name, an investigation determined that he was the sender.
The District Attorney noted that in court, Goetze’s only defense was on First Amendment free speech grounds. The court ultimately ruled against him, stating that the emails were not mainly political statements; rather the content was largely a personal attack on Feiner and his family and constituted a “true threat.”
"We read, almost daily, of anti-semitic and racist acts around Westchester, the region and the nation," Feiner said. "We should not become immune to acts of intolerance of any type.
" I hope that this conviction will send a message to people who are considering threatening others that they could get caught and prosecuted. Even more importantly, I hope we can all learn to respect and support each other."
“This verdict against Mr. Goetze is an important outcome which illustrates how we seek justice whenever there is a threat to a public figure or any residents of Westchester,” Scarpino said. “Threatening messages will always be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Let anyone who might make such threats know we will go after them. We commend Greenburgh Police on their investigation and maintaining the safety of the Town. We hope the Feiner family can now rest easier.”
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