Toledo Police: Facebook post accusing man of rape is falseWritten by Brigitta Burks | News Editor | BBurks@toledofreepress.com
Updated with response from poster at 3:40 p.m.
On May 20, someone using an allegedly fake Facebook account shared a post accusing a Toledo man of raping three girls and his son. Two days later, the post has been shared more than 26,000 times — however, the man and Toledo Police say the post isn’t true.
Chad Michael Lesko, the accused, said he believes the account of the poster Nicole Mccarthy actually belongs to the mother of his son.
“I got a hold of her and I said, ‘Why are you lying on Facebook? You know I haven’t done this. I haven’t seen my son in two years,’” he said.
The post, which includes Lesko’s picture, says he is wanted by the Toledo Police Department.
Toledo Police Sergeant Joe Heffernan said he believes the post is false and there aren’t any active rape or sexual imposition cases in Lucas County against Lesko that he knows of. He said he could not check a nationwide database without probable cause.
A Facebook message from Mccarthy’s account to a Toledo Free Press account said police had come to her and others’ doors to say that Lesko was wanted for rape. The message also said that Lesko has seen his son recently.
However, the message ended saying, “I did want [sic] I had to do because I thought it was true. I am sorry for the false accusations but I thought it was true.”
The account appeared to be taken down shortly after the message was sent.
Lesko said both he and his adopted mother have received threats because of the post.
“I’ve been recognized a lot. I’ve been threatened, [people saying], ‘Don’t walk down my street no more,’” he said.
Lesko said he has reached out to Facebook and has not heard back. As of noon May 22, the post had been removed from Facebook.
“I reported the picture. I had friends report the picture,” he said. “I keep on reporting the picture.”
The post also hurt Lesko for personal reasons, he said. As a child, Lesko was molested by his father, he said.
“It hit me pretty hard and I’m all like, ‘Why the heck would I follow in my father’s footsteps?’” he said.
The alleged poster is mad because he broke up with a friend of her’s, Lesko said, and also because he couldn’t give her as much money this month as he usually does.
“She told me, ‘I’m gonna get you back for this,’ and ever since then it’s been hell,” he said.
Lesko plans to get an attorney and go to the police once he gathers more information, he said.
Lucas County Prosecutor Julia Bates said Lesko could potentially take legal action against the poster.
“For one thing, there could be a civil remedy for damaging the reputation of this person,” she said. “It’s a pretty terrible thing to say about someone if it’s isn’t true.”
Heffernan said he doesn’t believe there could be criminal charges against the poster although Lesko could have “a very good civil case.”
“It’s not illegal to spread a rumor,” Heffernan said
At press time, Facebook has not returned Toledo Free Press’ request for comment.