Chesterton Tribune

Charges dropped: Businessman sues accuser in defamation suit

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A local businessman is suing a Chesterton woman who accused him in 2005 of exposing himself in front of her at his health food store and of rubbing her shoulders against her wishes.

Mark E. Snyder of Jackson Township, who operated Sunrise Farms at 572 Indian Boundary Road, is seeking a total of $100,000 in damages from Alicia Zamarron, in a suit filed on Aug. 6 in Porter Superior Court.

Snyder was formally charged with public indecency and battery in connection with the alleged incident, but those charges were dismissed on March 15, 2010, Porter County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Mark Acevedo told the Chesterton Tribune today. “Ultimately it was decided to dismiss all the charges against Mr. Snyder and not to proceed with the case,” Acevedo said.

Zamarron told Chesterton Police that on May 15, 2005, Snyder had inappropriately hugged and kissed her when she was in the store alone with him around 1:30 p.m. that day. Zamarron also reported that Snyder had dropped his trousers as he was ringing up her purchase.

In a subsequent interview with the CPD, Snyder vehemently denied the charges, said that he did hug Zamarron because she was upset and that he often hugs customers, and that anyone could fabricate such allegations because he has no way of defending himself. Snyder advised the CPD as well that Zamarron had informed him that she was depressed and that possibly “her thinking is irrational.”

Zamarron’s complaint did result in a filing of formal charges against Snyder and the issuance of an arrest warrant, which was duly executed.

But those charges have been dismissed and in his suit Snyder states that Zamarron “filed a false report” knowing “that it would result in (his) arrest,” knowing the allegations “to be false at the time she made the report,” and knowing that her report “would affect (Snyder’s) standing in the Chesterton business community.”

“As a direct and proximate result of (Zamarron’s) statements,” Snyder further states, his “reputation and character have been irreparably damaged,” while the “publication of the false and misleading statements . . . have also caused (him) severe emotional and psychological distress and was deliberately calculated to produce such effects.”

Snyder—who attached as exhibits in his filing news stories from the Chesterton Tribune, the Times, and the Post-Tribune—is seeking $25,000 for actual damages, $75,000 for punitive damages, and reasonable attorney’s fees.

 

 

Posted 8/16/2010