Jeb Lessley, an Alabama man, has taken his grievances with his registered sex offender neighbor to a very public level with a controversial new yard sign. Reportedly, Lessley and his neighbor, Raymond Martin (who lives across the street), have been engaged in a bit of a neighborhood feud for quite some time now, a feud that began when Jeb Lessley says that Martin, a registered sex offender, tried to talk to his children.
As ABC 7 NY reports, things between the Alabama man and his registered sex offender neighbor went downhill from there, ultimately prompting Jeb Lessley to invest roughly $160 in a billboard-sized custom yard sign. The sign was reportedly made at a local printing shop, and it features Raymond Martin’s photograph (a booking mugshot related to sex crimes Martin ultimately pleaded guilty to committing), as well as Martin’s charges and physical address.
Those charges, by the way, include the sodomy and second-degree rape of a 15-year-old female.
Not surprisingly, Alabama man Jeb Lessley’s neighbor (featured on the prominent sign) wants to see it taken down immediately. Jeb, on the other hand, says he’s not removing the sign, which faces Raymond Martin’s house, until Martin moves away.
Raymond Martin’s family, who shares his home, also wants to see Jeb Lessley take down the sign. According Martin, his sex offender status is available on the Alabama Sex Offender Registry; he believes that Lessley’s sign is harassment and has even called local police to complain. According to police, Alabama man Jeb Lessley is not doing anything that violates the law precisely because Martin’s information is available on the sex offender registry.
It’s public information, and can be shared by Jeb Lessley or anyone else; even if it is an annoyance and embarrassment. Martin also adds that he feels singled out by Jeb Lessley, because he’s far from the only sex offender who lives in the Alabama neighborhood.
“There’s people that already know my circumstances. They can find it on the website, but it ain’t got to be broadcast. There’s more than one sex offender that lives here.”
Alabama man Jeb Lessley agrees, there are multiple sex offenders in the neighborhood; perhaps over a dozen. However, Lessley says that the prominent yard sign is about more than his neighbor being a registered sex offender. The Alabama man claims that Martin has bothered and harassed the Lessley family since he moved into the neighborhood, and that the registered sex offender’s harassment goes well beyond merely initiating conversation with several of Jeb Lessley’s six kids.
Kids who range in age from infancy to 14-years-old.
“The reason I posted the billboard is because he has been a thorn in my side since he moved into this house. He just has a lot of problems. To be honest with you, we don’t want to live in fear of him.”
Jeb Lessley does admit, though, that the fact that registered sex offender Martin tried to talk to his children definitely put him on the Alabama father’s radar. Since then, Lessley claims things have escalated dramatically, to the point that his wife filed harassment charges against Martin in October for threatening and yelling vulgarities at her and the couple’s children.
“He’s threatened to burn our house down. He’s threatened to poison our dogs. He told my 9-year-old daughter he was going to kill and skin her cat.”
According to Raymond Martin, none of what Alabama man Jeb Lessley says is true. Martin further denies, despite pleading guilty, deliberately committing the crimes that labeled him a sex offender in the first place. He claims that the 15-year-old girl who he pleaded guilty to raping in the second-degree and sodomizing “lied about her age.”
“It’s bad enough that nobody knows the tragedy that I had to go through because somebody wanted to lie about their age.”
Martin says that the sign erected by Jeb Lessley is just making things worse for him and his family. He also claims that he would “never hurt a child,” having just become a first-time dad.
“To see other people go out and throw their babies in microwaves, beat their child, and everything else — it’s not right. These kids didn’t ask to be brought in this world. I went without my daddy. My daughter’s not fixing to go without hers.”
Martin has told the local media that he won’t let Jeb Lessley’s sign push him out of his home or neighborhood, and has even retaliated against the Alabama man’s yard sign with a handmade sign of his own. According to Jeb Lessley, he plans on reporting Raymond Martin’s new yard sign to authorities, because it contains falsehoods.
“It looks like he wrote on it with crayon on the back of a cardboard box. It states my name and accuses me of crimes I haven’t been convicted of — so that in itself is harassment. I’m going to report that.”
In addition to telling Alabama man Jeb Lessley that his $160 yard sign targeting his sex offender neighbor is legal, local law enforcement has also reiterated that Raymond Martin is currently compliant with all laws and requirements as a registered sex offender.
[Featured Image by Alabama Law Enforcement Agency Community Information Center]