The lawyer representing Lewiston School Superintendent Leon Levesque said Saturday that Levesque is suing the Fox News Network “for what they dragged him through,” and to deter “irresponsible and reckless” reporting.

Lawyer Bernard J. Kubetz of Bangor said he fully supports the right of the media to report the news, “but when a broadcast giant like Fox acts this irresponsibly and reckless without regard to the impact it can have, there should be an opportunity for a jury to hear what happened.”

Levesque is suing Fox News Network and two of its anchors for libel and slander as part of a civil complaint. The complaint is seeking damages in excess of $75,000, and was filed by Levesque, not in his role as superintendent for the Lewiston School Department. . .

On April 19 the Sun Journal published a story about a Lewiston Middle School student who was suspended after he left a ham steak on a table where Somali students were having lunch, knowing ham is offensive to Muslims. The Sun Journal later was told it was a ham bone leftover from an Easter meal.

In the story Levesque said the incident did not reflect the moral values of the school. “We need to take a look at this and review how a careless act is degrading and causes hurt to other people,” Levesque said. “All our students should feel welcome and safe in our schools.”

A parody of the story was displayed April 23 on the Web site Associated Content. The parody changed the ham steak to a ham sandwich. The Associated Content story quoted Levesque saying ridiculous things he never uttered, including that, “Children have got to learn that ham is not a toy, and that there are consequences for being nonchalant about where you put a sandwich.”

Kubetz said he suspects Fox saw the fake story and aired it without fact-checking.


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