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Gay couple discovers neighbor was behind years of homophobic harassment

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    MILTON, Massachusetts (WCVB) — A gay married couple in Milton who had been harassed for years has discovered who was behind it all.

LeeMichael McLean says he and his husband, Byron Furze, received countless magazine subscriptions in the mail over a five-year period that were addressed to fictitious, homophobic names. The couple was also footed with the bills for those subscriptions.

“It was upsetting and we didn’t know when it was going to stop, or if it would advance to something more,” McLean said. “And it was an annoyance because I had to follow up on all of them.”

The couple did not have any leads on who was doing this until recently when a Boston Globe subscription card was returned to them. The subscription was for “Michelle Fruitzey,” an offensive play on the couple’s first and last names.

“That was the first time in five years that I had seen the person’s handwriting,” McLean said.

McLean shared a photo of the subscription card on social media and gave it to police. A good Samaritan was able to find a potential match by comparing the handwriting to the signatures of members of the Milton Town Meeting, a local board that the couple belongs to.

This ultimately led police to a neighbor and fellow Town Meeting member, who apparently confessed to the mailings.

“He says hi to me. We’ve had casual conversations,” McLean said. “I spoke with him about a week before that last card came about work that was being done on his house. I was running by his house and stopped to have a chat. Never would have suspected it.”

The suspect, who has not been identified by police, has not been charged at this point but could face criminal harassment charges.

The couple is hoping to turn the bigotry into positivity by selling T-shirts that read “#iammichellefruitzey.” All proceeds are going to the Gay Straight Alliance at Milton High School and Pierce Middle School. The T-shirts have raised more than $15,000 for the GSA so far.

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