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Menacing defendant 'went at this thing without having all the information'

Cary Ashby • Apr 26, 2018 at 9:00 AM

A Norwalk man has been convicted of threatening a business owner he suspected of being responsible for taking suggestive photographs of seemingly underage girls.

After slightly more than an hour Wednesday afternoon, a Norwalk Municipal Court jury found Timothy F. Morsher, 61, of 285 1/2 E. Main St., guilty of menacing. He will be sentenced in about 14 days and faces 30 days in jail and a $250 fine for the fourth-degree misdemeanor.

“I think it was pretty undisputed about what happened at Mossman Music store,” defense attorney Reese Wineman said, referring to the Sept. 27 incident. 

As a result, Morsher’s lawyer said he argued that his client didn’t plan on causing the victim, a Main Street business owner, any physical harm that day. Although Wineman said threatening the man “probably wasn’t a good idea,” he credited Morsher for taking a stand about someone else taking photos of young women when several business owners did nothing.

“That crap had been going on for a long time,” Wineman added.

Testimony by authorities determined the man who was threatened wasn’t the photographer, but had allowed Tom DeLombarde, of Mansfield, to take suggestive photos of females who were older than 18 in the space above Mossman Music. Officer Andrew Hemenway testified police had “no evidence” that the menacing victim took any of the pictures in question.

It was believed one of the models was as young as 15, but a detective testified none of the girls were underage.

“As long as they’re consenting, there’s nothing illegal,” Norwalk Police Detective Sgt. Jim Fulton said from the stand. “No crime was committed.”

Assistant law director Scott Christophel said Morsher’s witnesses didn’t testify as Morsher had expected they would. He noted the defendant never spoke to the man who reported seeing a girl “cover up quickly” upon being discovered being photographed in an alley off Main Street.

“I think he went at this thing without having all the information,” Christophel said. “He misunderstood what (the witness) observed.”

Fulton, Hemenway, the victim and a Mansfield man who knows the victim testified for the state. Three Norwalk business owners took the stand for Morsher.

Morsher was working at his daughter’s business, helping her hang some light fixtures Sept. 27. In a recent email to the Reflector, he said he walked to a nearby store on Main Street in Norwalk, where a customer was sitting on a stool in front of the counter and a man he referred to as the “perverted little creep” — the victim — was behind the counter.

“So I stood with my back to the customer and told him we were all watching him and if I ever caught him taking pictures of naked little girls again, I would rip his head off and kick it around the block,” Morsher said in the email.

Fulton testified that he didn’t want to tip his hand about his investigation regarding DeLombarde, so he didn’t interview the photographer.

“That bothered me,” Wineman said Wednesday afternoon.

Fulton didn’t investigate the menacing incident, but the suspicion that DeLombarde took nude, partially nude or topless photographs of what his police report says appeared “to be very young girls in Norwalk.” 

“I would not describe this as pornography,” said Fulton, who researched DeLombarde’s photos on various websites that are available to the public.

During his investigation, Fulton submitted the website addresses for various photos by DeLombarde to the Cleveland office of the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. He said authorities determined they had no complaints against DeLombarde, so Fulton closed the case.

The detective interviewed Morsher on Sept. 14 and several other people who either witnessed the young women being photographed or knew about DeLombarde’s photo sessions above Mossman Music.

“Apparently the people on Main Street knew this was going on,” said Fulton, who only heard about the photography situation after contacting Morsher. “While this is happening, nobody called us.”

Since several people had seen DeLombarde photographing girls in several parts of Norwalk, Fulton said he was “surprised nobody called us.” One of the photo sessions happened near the Norwalk bicentennial mural on Linwood Avenue at the corner of Main Street.

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