A local businessman who was charged with public indecency and battery in
connection with an alleged incident at his health food store almost six
years ago—charges which were subsequently dismissed by the Porter County
Prosecuting Attorney’s Office—is suing the Town of Chesterton, alleging
among other things fraud and perjury on the part of the Chesterton Police
Mark E. Snyder of Jackson Township, who operated Sunrise Farms at 572 Indian
Boundary Road, is seeking a total of $900,000 in damages from the Town of
Chesterton, in a suit filed on Dec. 23 in Porter Circuit Court.
Earlier this year, on Aug. 6, Snyder also filed a suit against his original
accuser, a customer at Sunrise Farms, who reported to the police that Snyder
had exposed himself in front of her while she was shopping at his store on
May 15, 2005, and that he had rubbed her shoulders against her wishes. That
accusation led to formal charges of public indecency and battery being filed
against Snyder and the issuance and execution of an arrest warrant. But on
March 15, 2010, those charges were dismissed.
Snyder makes six specific allegations in his suit against the Town of
•That the CPD “knowingly and intentionally committed fraud” and that his
accuser’s “handwritten statement to police is a fraudulently manufactured
•That the CPD “intentionally and maliciously instituted and pursued a
criminal legal action that was brought without probable cause and was
dismissed in favor” of Snyder.
•That the CPD “knowingly committed perjury when signing the probable cause
•That the CPD “knowingly and intentionally arrested (Snyder) with an expired
•That the CPD “acted intentionally to deprive (Snyder) of the right to due
process of law as guaranteed by the 14th Amendment of the U.S.
•And that the CPD “acted intentionally, extremely, and outrageously to cause
severe emotional distress” both to Snyder and his wife.
Snyder is seeking $225,000 in actual damages, $675,000 in punitive damage,
and reasonable attorney’s fees.
Town Attorney Chuck Lukmann declined today to comment on the suit.
In his Aug. 6 suit, Snyder alleged that his accuser “filed a false report”
knowing “that it would result in (his) arrest,” knowing the claims “to be
false at the time she made the report,” and knowing that her report “would
affect (Snyder’s) standing in the Chesterton business community.”
“As a direct and proximate result of (his accuser’s) statements,” Snyder
stated in the Aug. 6 suit, his “reputation and character have been
irreparably damaged,” while the “publication of the false and misleading
statements . . . have also caused (him) severe emotional and psychological
distress and was deliberately calculated to produce such effects.”
In the Aug. 6 suit Snyder stated that he was seeking $25,000 in actual
damages and $75,000 in punitive damages.
According to the CPD’s own report, in an interview with a detective Snyder
vehemently denied the charges, said that he did hug his accuser because she
was upset and that he often hugs his customers, and noted that anyone could
fabricate such allegations because he has no way of defending himself.
Snyder also advised the detective that his accuser had informed him that she
was depressed and that possibly “her thinking is irrational.”