ROSSLYN FARMS (KDKA) — Disputes and bad blood between neighbors are not uncommon, but sometimes they take a hateful turn.
There is a running feud in Rosslyn Farms.
“By the signs alone, by putting my name up there and putting stuff on there, that alone is a hate crime,” Dave Simanski said.
Simanski is gay and he says awhile back his neighbor found out he’s HIV positive. Since then, he says anti-gay signs bearing his name started appearing in her window and that his neighbor began taunting him with slurs, trumpeting the fact that AIDS is fatal disease.
“That I will die a very slow and painful death from it, that I deserved what I got,” Simanski said.
Simanski makes other claims as well — that his neighbor has dumped cat feces on the border of his property, producing a noxious ammonia smell. When KDKA Investigator Andy Sheehan visited last week, the smell was overpowering.
“When know they’re positive to put cat feces and stuff out into the yard to cause them to have to have more lung problems or whatever, I mean, that to me I just don’t understand and our police here don’t seem to want to do anything,” Simanski explained.
Rosslyn Farms police have issued no citations, but while a KDKA-TV crew was taping, a police car did show up.
Andy Sheehan: “Can you tell me about any of these complaints?”
The officer said he was unable to comment and that the chief is on vacation. Simanski has also filed complaints with District Justice Dennis Joyce, but after three hearings, the judge dismissed the case with a warning and simply charged the neighbor courts costs.
Initially, Andy Sheehan was unable to contact Simanski’s neighbor, but on Monday, she agreed to speak with him if she would not be identified.
Andy Sheehan: “Do you have problem with gay people? Are you anti-gay?”
Neighbor: “No. No I’m not. I like people for who they are and if they act decent towards me.”
The woman says relations with Simanski and his partner soured over a series of property disputes and that she is not the only one calling names.
Neighbor: “You name it, they’ve called me it.”
She denies putting cat feces on the edge of her property, but concedes that she has reminded Simanski of his medical condition.
“You know you’re going to die and you are going to die a slow horrible death, that is a fact,” she said.
Absent a gay hate crime law, the gay advocacy organization Persad says they’ve begun a program to intervene in some cases like this, speaking with the police, magistrates and if possible the neighbors.
“You know, I think people are more amiable to being educated and changing when they’re not feeling like they’re being attacked,” Persad Director Betty Hill said.