Judge Rules In Favor Of Student Who Altered Professor's Photograph To Look Like GENE SIMMONS

January 10, 2004

An online newspaper which carried a photograph of a college professor altered to look like KISS bassist/vocalist Gene Simmons, along with a caption describing him as a former KISS roadie who made a fortune by riding "the tech bubble of the nineties like a $20 whore" (see previous story),is back in business after a federal judge ordered police to return the editor's computer.

Professor Junius Peake, an outspoken conservative at the University of Northern Colorado, told the Associated Press that he had not requested that charges be filed or that the computer be seized. He said he merely asked that the authors of The Howling Pig newspaper, whose names are not listed on it, be identified.

''I believe in freedom of speech but this is not a spoof. This is a vicious attack on the university and its staff. And it is baseless,'' he said.

On Friday, U.S. District Court Judge Lewis Babcock granted a restraining order requested by the American Civil Liberties Union requiring Greeley police to return the computer to The Howling Pig editor Thomas Mink, a University of Northern Colorado student. He also barred prosecution of Mink for criminal libel.

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