A news conference was held by the Lancaster Post on Wednesday afternoon. Much of what was presented has been covered by prior NewsLanc reports. But there was some significant new information.
At the outset, Chris Hart Nibbrig, Editor, announced a complaint was being lodged with the FBI concerning violations by Franklin and Marshall College of his and Ron Harper, Jr.'s civil rights.
Also, Hart Nibbrig said that tomorrow their attorneys would seek a Temporary Restraining Order against F & M from a federal judge in Philadelphia to prevent F & M from interfering with their Fourth Estate rights.
He later further indicated that after publishing this week's edition, he and Harper will consult with attorneys about the filing of a criminal complaint against F & M personnel with the Lancaster Police.
Ron Harper, Jr., News Editor, reported that he has video tapes of an individual taking the entire stacks of the May 30 Lancaster Post tabloids from two Turkey Hills and the identify of the individual will be made known in their June 6th edition.
Harper claimed that Lancaster Police did not treat the earlier theft of a Post distribution box from the SW corner of Marietta and School Lane "as an important matter and a First Amendment offense."
Harper speculated that the middle age lady in the back ground yesterday when a groundskeeper first accosted Harper was the wife of F & M president John Fry. After the press conference, Harper told NewsLanc that he had heard that Mrs. Fry had called out the F & M security force unnecessarily on other occasions.
Harper said that in preparing last week's front page story about the alleged burglary, he had asked Fry "Did you lobby the District Attorney to let the students off lightly?" Instead of answering, Fry had a letter hand delivered to Harper telling him that he could not step foot on F & M property.
Editor Chris Hart Nibbrig said that six security persons surrounded them and seemed to be after Harper. "Ron said don't touch me. We didn't do anything wrong."
According to Hart Nibbrig: "To watch a personal friend, a partner, a good guy, being thrown down, just because he published a story that the man across the street didn’t agree with, is despicable. We intend to pursue all of our legal rights."
Harper had a highly visible contusion on his right temple. He said he has been under treatment for a back injury for some time.
Harper said he heard the security guards saying "The president is here. The president is here." According to Harper, "I could see that John Fry was across the street and was supervising this."
Harper especially singled out F & M Public Safety Sergeant Edward Carroll for criticism: "He physically assaulted and definitely sexually molested me." Harper claimed that Carroll three times fondled Harper's testicles over a period of several minutes while Harper was handcuffed.
Harper also said he was not allowed to call his attorney despite his repeated requests.
Harper added that two of the Publilc Safety Officers did treat him with respect when he was kept in a cell at the security office for two hours.
Hart Nibbrig was detained in handcuffs against his will. He received a "Defiant Trespass Citation" from F & M.
Harper announced that twenty-six minutes of video recording showing the placement of the box was entirely within the right-of-way is now posted at www.LancasterPost.com/media. The area is used as a Red Rose Transit Authority bus stop.
According to Hart Nibbrig, his camera was returned but some photographs had been deleted.
Harper said he had a message for F & M’s president: "John Fry. We will not accept your Philadelphia bully tactics here in Lancaster County"
He added "John Fry is the most unqualified academic president that Franklin & Marshall has ever had. He lacks the moral integrity to be at the helm of a police force which he chooses to use as a bunch of bullies and jack booted thugs. We must demand accountability when they have abused their power."
Fourteen persons, including representatives of Channel 21 and Channel 11 and the Sunday News attended the press conference. Not present were WGAL and Fox 43.