Tim Goodwin stands behind the fourth Pride sign he has set up at the intersection of routes 25 and 35 in Standish Center. The others were vandalized and one disappeared. Emily Bader / Lakes Region Weekly

STANDISH — The repeated vandalizing of a resident’s legally placed Pride sign in Standish Center has prompted a criminal investigation and a flurry of rumors in town about who’s to blame.

Tim Goodwin placed a rainbow-striped sign in support of the LGBTQ community during Pride Month on the evening of June 14 at the intersection of Routes 25 and 35.

That’s when the trouble began.

“Blue Lives Matter” and “Trump 2020” signs have been placed near Tim Goodwin’s Pride sign. Emily Bader / Lakes Region Weekly

That first sign was knocked down by the next morning. A few days later, a number of Trump signs were placed in front of it and an American flag stapled on top of it, Goodwin said. The sign eventually disappeared. He replaced it with a second sign, which was spray-painted with “Trump 2020” and knocked down. The third version was cut into three pieces.

Goodwin erected the latest version of his sign June 23, and as of Wednesday morning it was untouched, although it has been surrounded with Trump signs, Blue Lives Matter signs and American flags.

Goodwin said he also put up a few Black Lives Matter signs, which were also vandalized or stolen. He said the third set of those is currently on display.

Capt. Don Foss of the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office said that since June 15, the Criminal Investigation Division has received 12 complaints “related to the signage in one fashion or another.”  A 16-year-old female from Standish was charged on Tuesday with criminal mischief relating to an incident involving the sign early that morning.

Police are investigating the incident where the sign was cut, as well as another incident that happened when Goodwin and another resident, Laura Haney, were fixing the damaged Pride sign on June 20. A man came out of the nearby Oak Hill General Store, threatened them and yelled gay slurs, all while putting his hand on the gun holstered to his hip, Goodwin said.

“(He) yelled at us that we were wasting our time, that he was just going to take it away and burn it later. He told us that this is his town and he wants us to go back (to) where we came from (and) yelled ‘straight lives matter,’” Goodwin said.

Foss said that he is aware of the many rumors flying around town and on social media, but said the owners of the Oak Hill General Store and Slinging Ink Tattoo, also near the intersection, are not suspects in either case being investigated.

Steve Collins, who owns the general store, was at the center of an investigation in 2008 for violating the Maine Civil Rights Act for an “Obama shotgun pool” sign he placed in front of store.

Collins’ name is on a Blue Lives Matter flag and an American flag with multiple “Trump 2020″ signs attached to it around Goodwin’s Pride sign. Residents must write their name, address and the date they placed the sign on any temporary sign they post to comply with a town ordinance.

Both Foss and Goodwin said the owner of the tattoo parlor, Randy Jensen, was erroneously identified on social media as one of the perpetrators and is not involved in any of the incidents.

Goodwin said that while he is cooperating with investigators, he did not initiate any contact with the Sheriff’s Office himself.

“Clearly not everybody has the same level of beliefs and we all have to have a level of maturity and acceptance with these social justice movements and actions,” Foss said.

Once the investigation is complete, the Sheriff’s Office will refer the case to the Cumberland County District Attorney’s office, which will then decide whether to turn it over to the U.S. Attorney General’s Office for violating the Maine Civil Rights Act.

Goodwin said despite the tensions between opponents of his Pride flag, he has received an “overwhelmingly positive response.” That support, he said, is about “showing there is love, acceptance and support in the community and that a few bullies will not be allowed to change that.”

Mia Madison White, 20, said she passes the sign every day on her way to work and noticed all of the social media buzz surrounding it. She decided to order 50 mini Pride flags and posted to the Standish community Facebook page that she was handing them out.

As a Black woman and a member of the LGBTQ community who grew up in Standish, she said she has witnessed hate in the town but since making her initial post, “I’ve seen so much more support.”

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