A protester who wrote chalk messages criticizing Leonard Leo, a conservative political activist, on the sidewalk outside Leo’s Mount Desert Island house will not face any charges, according to police.
The Mount Desert Police Department told Annlinn Kruger of Bar Harbor that she could face criminal mischief charges for writing a message reading “Leonard Leo = Corrupt Court” on the sidewalk in front of Leo’s house on Monday, according to the MDIslander.
However, Capt. David Kerns of the Bar Harbor Police later said that he told officers to refrain from charging or issuing summons to anyone leaving the messages on public property in the interest of observing freedom of speech, the Islander reported.
Kruger told the Islander that she used homemade chalk paint to leave the messages, but Kerns noted that people leaving messages should use something that can be washed away easily.
Leo, who spearheaded lobbying campaigns to appoint recent conservative judges to the U.S. Supreme Court, bought a house in Northeast Harbor in 2018.
It’s not the first time that Leo has been met with protests about his presence on the island. A man was arrested on July 31 while participating in a protest against the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade outside of Leo’s house. And in 2019, protesters gathered in front of his house during a fundraiser held by Sen. Susan Collins during her bid to get reelected in 2020.
This isn’t the first time that abortion rights messages have made Maine news.
In May, a series of abortion rights chalk messages left in front of Collins’ Bangor home — which she has since put on the market — gained national attention after the conservatice senator reported them to police.
Collins in May didn’t vote for the Women’s Health Protection Act, which would have codified the right to abortion into law.
The chalk writing was washed away from the public property in front of Collins’ house, per the Bangor Public Works’ policy on removing graffiti from public property, but no one was charged in connection with the messages.
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified the police department responding to complaints about chalk writing.