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Why we removed a controversial post

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Earlier this week we published a story titled “Creepy Neighbor Disrupts St. Anthony Village Parents’ Suburban Bliss," about multiple families troubled by a neighbor they felt was acting inappropriately around their children.

We found their story particularly interesting for the way it illuminates an uncomfortable grey area. The families' neighbor had done nothing illegal, no overt threats had been made, yet all four parents were unnerved by his behavior, his fascination with their children. They were concerned for their children's safety, and wanted to shield them from something that may or may not have posed a risk. 

It received a lot of negative feedback, much of it aimed at the parents. A reader posted a link to one of the parents’ Facebook pages and encouraged others to harass them directly. The comment was deleted, but the harassment continued. One parent raised serious concerns about how the negative attention would impact the family.

The story had taken on an element we never intended, and could no longer control, and we decided the best thing for everyone involved was to take the post down altogether. It was not a decision made lightly, but it was the right one.