BC Candidate for State’s Attorney Receives Mailed Feces

TR Staff
Staff Writer

By Ellie Boese
Barnes County City Attorney Lilie Schoenack is a candidate in the race for Barnes County State’s Attorney. Tonya Duffy is running as well. That race has been hotly contested on both sides but it seems someone wished to take that to another level.
On Thursday night, Schoenack opened a package addressed to her to find feces in a plastic bag. She posted on Facebook: “Someone sent me what appears to be feces in the mail. I guess it's a website that allows people to send it anonymously. The buyer has to promise it is a gag gift and isn't being used to harass or threaten. Five days before an election? I'm not laughing and I feel harassed and threatened.”
Friday morning, Schoenack said that she was still shocked and unsure of how to handle the situation, but that she’s more concerned about what this action proves about a larger issue.
“I’m just trying to take it in stride and though this is upsetting, it concerns me more about the bigger picture,” Schoenack said. “Things have gotten so bad in society that it’s become acceptable or funny to do this.”
It seems that, because of the timing, Schoenack’s current political situation, and her reaction to receiving the package, this “gag gift” might be more serious than it appears.
“I just got off the phone with BCI [Bureau of Criminal Investigation], because to me this is a crime,” Schoenack said. “If it was sent on April Fools it would be different.”
According to websites for companies like Poop Senders, mailing a package of feces anonymously is perfectly legal and confidential. However, the legal disclaimer is this: “You may NOT use our service to threaten, constitute harassment, violate a legal restraint, or any other unlawful purpose. The customer agrees this is a gag gift, novelty service for entertainment ONLY and that is their only intention.” Another website that provides mailed feces has a similar clause: It is our sole intention that this service will allow you and the recipient to engage in a joke. This website and its operator prohibits and does not condone use of the service…for the purpose of harassment, annoyance, provocation, stalking, humiliation, embarrassment, intimidation, bullying of minors or any illegal purpose whatsoever.”
Schoenack, an attorney, saw this disclaimer on the website she searched from information on the package, and it keeps her convinced that having someone look into it is important.
“I have an obligation to have it investigated,” she said. “In order to charge someone, you have to have proof of intent to harass or violate, and the upcoming election is the circumstantial evidence, I believe, that serves as that intent.”
In other cases, the circumstances have led to arrest and punishment for sending packages of feces with malicious intent.
In 2015, and Iowa woman faced 30 days in jail and a $625 fine for sending her neighbors cow feces after they. Though the woman claimed it was a “practical joke,” police charged her with third-degree harassment.
The prosecutorial side, in that case, identified that the legal disclaimer on feces-mailing company websites is crucially important because it differentiates a joke or “gag” gift from intentional harassment.
For now, the sender of the feces Schoenack received has a motive unknown, though it is clear to the State’s Attorney candidate that the act was one of intimidation and harassment as she approaches election day.