'A danger to society.' Bayport man sentenced to 30 months in prison for sending hate mail to LGBTQ+ groups
A former Bellport High School teacher who pleaded guilty to sending letters of hate to members of the LGBTQ+ community was sentenced to 30 months in prison and two years of supervised release.
Robert Fehring, 74, is accused of sending around 60 letters threatening to assault, shoot and bomb LGBTQ+ individuals, organizations and businesses on Long Island and New York City. The letters were sent over a span of eight years.
Fehring was also charged in Suffolk court on hate crime charges that he allegedly stole almost two dozen pride flags in Sayville.
Victims in the case say that the two-and-a-half-year sentence feels like too little.
"Robert Fehring is a danger to society - he was a danger when he started this in 2013 and he's just as much a danger today," says David Kilmnick, president and CEO of the Long Island LGBT Network.
Kilmnick was the No. 1 target of Fehring - receiving multiple hateful and threatening letters in the mail.
In one letter, Fehring wrote, "We know now where you live ... and we're ready to start eliminating the scum of the Earth like you."
In another, Fehring sent photos he took of Kilmnick at a Pride event at Eisenhower Park and wrote, "We were right there. They couldn't get a shot off at you - too many cops. Very disappointed."
"They were threats to my life - they were threats to my family's life - they were threats to everyone who came to the LGBT Network and our center," Kilmnick says. "I was fearful for myself, for my husband, for my mother, for my dogs that lived us. I was fearful at work."
Fehring apologized during the sentencing, turning to the crowd in the courtroom and saying, "We all make mistakes, and I made a bunch of them - I never intended to hurt anyone...My actions were clearly wrong. A lot of hot air from a stupid old man."
Police say they also found two loaded shotguns and hundreds of rounds of ammunition in Fehring’s home. He will have to surrender to prison on Sept. 2.