Tue. Jun 18th, 2024

La Crosse, WI

Written by Anne Jungen

La Crosse police are investigating accusations the reigning Riverfest commodore shoved a 14-year-old girl carrying a gay pride flag just before Saturday’s Maple Leaf parade.

The teen was rollerblading and carrying a flag pole with two rainbow flags — one a hybrid of the American flag and the gay pride flag — as members of 7 Rivers LGBT Resource Center’s float prepared for the parade about 9:45 a.m. Saturday on Rose Street, said Roseanne St. Sauver, the center’s executive director.

Commodore Mark Schneider, who was on a float nearby, approached the girl and put his hands on the flagpole, St. Sauver said. St. Sauver walked over, placed her hands on the pole and told him, “Please stop, she’s a 14-year-old child.”

“He said, ‘I do not care. Look what you are teaching them,'” St. Sauver said.

That’s when, St. Sauver said, Schneider shoved the girl with his body. St. Sauver said Schneider told the girl: “Go to a country where they will hang people like you.”

The incident left the teen crying, and others upset, St. Sauver said. This is the first year the center has participated in the parade. “I had tears in my eyes,” she said. “He specifically targeted us and made statements about our sexual orientation.”

Schneider today denied shoving the teen or making any offensive comments, saying he has witnesses. “Why would I push a 14-year-old girl?” he said. His objections were to alterations made to the flag, he said, and not to anyone’s sexual orientation.

“It all had to do with the discoloring of the American flag,” Schneider said. “Other commodores on the commodore float were upset because the flag is offensive to veterans … This is not an issue of gays. This is an issue with the American flag.”

A police report wasn’t expected to be completed until today.

Schneider did confirm today that police cited him for disorderly conduct — for grabbing the flagpole, he said — but he hasn’t decided whether he will contest the ticket.

But St. Sauver believes his “clear hostile remarks” and physical contact with the teen warrant criminal charges. She also wants him to resign or be asked to step down, and said he should apologize.

Riverfest President Mike Schieber said officials are looking into the incident and no decisions have been made.


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RS Janes
13 years ago

I’ll post more about this soon, but over the past few months I’ve been having an occasional argument with a Christopublican Teabagger at a local watering hole.

Although he thinks Islam is not a true religion because it teaches people to hate everyone who isn’t a Muslim (not true), he denies that his fervid Catholicism teaches hatred. Since historical fact, even of the recent kind, has no effect on this guy, I asked him how he felt about gay people and abortion doctors. Like Commodore Moron in this report, he pretty much said they should all be dropped in Iran and dealt with by — wait for it — Islamic law! Lop off a body part for gay play, or a head for abortion, that’ll teach ’em! After I peeled my hand from my forehead, I asked if he didn’t think this could be called a hateful position. Nope, if the Muslims want to do that stuff — that’s on their heads; they’ll be the ones who will be judged by God, not him! He just wouldn’t mind if it happened to the gays and abortionists, since they are in league with Satan, but he wouldn’t do it himself because he’s not a hater! I’m just glad I was drinking at the time.

Ken Carman
13 years ago

Ah, yes, the quicksand, shifting sands “ethics” of rendition, which is what his proposal essentially is. It’s not unlike locking a child inside a cage with a starved tiger and claiming we bear no responsibility for the shredding and the devouring. At least the fundamentalist Taliban take responsibility, proudly, for their own sick form of justice. Those who do what your “friend” proposes are worse than the Taliban: they are cowards acting like they’re the Godfather letting others do their dirty work, so they don’t get their Little Lord Fontleroy hands dirty. But their souls are as black as any terrorist who would fly into buildings. Perhaps blacker. Bin laden black, for he did the same. Let others do it for him.

RS Janes
13 years ago

They’ll keep their hands ‘Pontius Pilate’ clean. After all, Pilate didn’t put anyone to death personally. I notice Christopublicans are great at the ‘blame God’ dodge — “It’s not me, it’s God’s word in the Bible that wants it that way!” As if they’d do things differently if they had the chance. It reminds me of that Anne Lamott quote:

“You can safely assume that you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.”

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