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Protection order set for UT trustee; Hussain had received 'hate e-mail' missives

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Coon

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Dr. S. Amjad Hussain, a University of Toledo trustee, yesterday was granted a civil protection order against the man who has been accused of sending him "hate e-mails."

The protection order, granted by Lucas County Common Pleas Judge James Jensen, has several stipulations, including that Michael Coon, 52, of Point Place may not initiate any contact with Dr. Hussain, nor enter any building where the retired surgeon is. A full hearing in court is scheduled for July 3.

Coon, of 5508 Edgewater Drive, was arraigned Monday on three counts of felony ethnic intimidation for sending alleged "hate e-mails" to Dr. Hussain, a Blade columnist.

A Muslim who is a native of Pakistan, Dr. Hussain said he sought the protection order as a precaution.

"I just wanted to be safe," he said.

The Blade was contacted by several people yesterday who had received what they characterized as harassing phone calls from Coon after having letters published on the newspaper's editorial pages.

Denis Eble said he stopped writing letters because of the calls that he characterized as sarcastic and harassing.

He said Coon made remarks on the phone such as, "Why are you such a nonpatriot? Why don't you leave the country if you don't like it here?"

Molly Stuller said she changed her phone number to an unlisted one to stop the calls.

"If you have a view on politics, then you write a letter," she said. "But don't harass people in the privacy of their own home."

She said she was contacted by Coon after having letters published against the Iraq war and criticizing Tom Noe, a former Lucas County Republican chairman who is serving time in federal prison.

The calls were frightening, she said, so much so that she called Perrysburg Township police. "It puts fear in you. You don't know what could happen. It was scary," she said.

She was interviewed yesterday about the calls by Lucas County sheriff's Detective Mark Woodruff, who investigated the e-mails to Dr. Hussain.

Coon, who is listed with the Ohio secretary of state on documents for Holland Benefits Group, an employee benefits sales and service firm, said he has been a business owner for 24 years.

He didn't dispute that people with differing political views from his get phone calls - "they are far-left nuts" - but he said yesterday he doesn't believe his e-mails to Dr. Hussain were harassing or intimidating, and he represents "zero threat" to the doctor.

"There is a jihad against free speech," he said.

In May, several intruders attacked Dr. Hussain in his Springfield Township home. Authorities say Coon had nothing to do with the attack, but Coon said he believes he's being made a scapegoat because the invaders have not been apprehended.

He said he has "no malice in my heart" against Dr. Hussain.

"We could sit in a room together and I wouldn't go for his throat. I just want to say to him, 'You are so misguided.'•"

According to court and police records, in 2002, Coon pleaded no contest and was found guilty in Lucas County Common Pleas Court to aggravated assault, and attempted intimidation of a crime victim or witness.

The charges stem from Coon's attack on a 19-year-old neighbor with a bat, lacerating his head and breaking the young man's left arm, according to a police report.

Contact Kate Giammarise at:

kgiammarise@theblade.com

or 419-724-6133.

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