Gene Rosen says he's consulted with a retired police officer about what to do over the harassing calls and emails he's received questioning his version of the events on the day of the Newtown, Conn., school shootings.
NEWTOWN, Conn. — A retired psychologist who sheltered six frightened children fleeing the school shooting in Newtown last month says he's being harassed by "truthers" who believe the massacre may have been a hoax.
Gene Rosen says he and his wife, Marilyn, are worried about their safety. He told Salon he has consulted with a retired state police office and plans to contact the FBI as well.
"I’m getting hang-up calls, I’m getting some calls, I’m getting emails with, not direct threats, but accusations that I’m lying, that I’m a crisis actor, 'how much am I being paid?'" Rosen told Salon in an article published Tuesday.
Rosen, who now runs a pet-sitting business in Sandy Hook, Conn., was thrust into the national media spotlight when it was revealed he took in six children who turned up on the driveway of his home after gunfire erupted at nearby Sandy Hook Elementary the morning of Dec. 14. Twenty children and six adults were shot to death at the school by 20-year-old Adam Lanza.
Rosen comforted the four girls and two boys, giving them stuffed animals to play with and some juice, while he tried to contact their parents.
His story and his appearances in television interviews have made him a target of people who question the veracity of the official accounts of the Newtown massacre.
Numerous blogs and videos posted online have suggested Rosen was lying or "acting" when he described what transpired that day. At least one video declares him an outright "fraud."
It's all part of a movement loosely dubbed "Sandy Hook truthers." Much like the "9/11 truthers," who cast doubt on the veracity of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, these people say the school shootings were a massive hoax or conspiracy perpetrated by the government or others.
James Tracy, a communications professor at Florida Atlantic University, stirred up public controversy — and anger from shooting survivors' families — after writing on his blog that "inconsistencies and anomalies abound" in the news media's accounts of what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary on Dec. 14.
"While it sounds like an outrageous claim, one is left to inquire whether the Sandy Hook shooting ever took place — at least in the way law enforcement authorities and the nation's news media have described," Tracy wrote 10 days after the massacre.
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Rosen didn't immediately return a call to MSN News on Tuesday to discuss the alleged harassment. A Newtown Police Department spokesman also did not immediately return a call for comment.
Rosen told Salon he is logging every email and call he is getting.
According to Salon, one of the emails read: "How are all those little students doing? You know, the ones that showed up at your house after the 'shooting'. What is the going rate for getting involved in a gov't sponsored hoax anyway?"
Rosen told Salon the amount of negative feedback has been "overwhelming."
"There must be some way to morally shame these people, because there were 20 dead children lying an eighth of a mile from my window all night long," he told Salon. "And I sat there with my wife, because they couldn’t take the bodies out that night so the medical examiner could come. And I thought of an expression, that this 'adds insult to injury,' but that’s a stupid expression, because this is not an injury, this is an abomination."
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