CHESHIRE — The Police Department has confirmed it is conducting an investigation into ‘unwanted messages’ to Town Council Chair Rob Oris and his family.
“We are investigating an incident where a family member of Mr. Oris has been receiving unwanted messages through a social media platform,” said Officer Mike Durkee. “The investigation is ongoing at this time.”
Oris said attacks on social media and via email began around the same time as the controversy surrounding Cheshire High School head football coach Don Drust’s employment.
Late last month, Athletic Director Steve Trifone described the matter as a personnel issue. A June 29 meeting between Drust and school administrators prompted several student athletes and parents to rally in support of Drust at Humiston School, where the meeting was to be held.
It was announced two days later that the issues had been resolved and that Drust would remain the head coach, a position he has held since 2012.
However, according to Oris, whose two sons played for Drust, social media and email attacks had already started against him and his family.
“These are some of the most vile and reprehensible things I have ever received,” Oris said.
While Oris was not the only council member to receive complaints over Drust’s potential firing, Oris and his family seem to have been singled out in the threats.
“I had been reading the emails and could come to only one conclusion: That the threats were all pointing at Rob,” said Town Councilor Tim Slocum. “I usually take these types of emails with a grain of salt, but these seemed to be specifically aimed this time.”
Earlier in the year, Vice Chair Paul Bowman resigned from his position claiming that he and his family were also subjected to harassment. The move shocked many on the council and in the public at large, and now the recent attacks against Oris have left some councilors questioning if they will be targeted next.
“I’m the new guy on the council and.honestly. I didn’t expect this at all,” said Councilor Don Walsh. “Rob and his family give back so much to the community, Paul did too. Who is going to be next? I hope that we can crack down on this before someone else becomes a target.”