A Reading, Pa. woman fought the Ku Klux Klan and won a $1 million dollar settlement but she says she never collected a dime. Now she’s suing the federal government.
Ten years ago Bonnie Jouhari was the head of a hate crimes task force. Ironically she then became a victim of hate crime herself.
First, a neo-nazi named Ryan Wilson altered an image of Jouhari’s Reading office making it look like it was blowing up. Wilson then posted the picture all over the internet.
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Later came the threats from the KKK.
Finally, fearing for her life and the safety of her daughter, Jouhari left her job and fled the area.
Jouhari said she tried to go into hiding, moving to Seattle, then Texas. Still, no matter where she went threats of violence weren’t far behind.
One morning Jouhari woke up to find a dead rabbit hanging on her front door and KKK flyers sprawled out on her car.
In 2000, Andrew Cuomo, Secretary of Urban and Housing Development, filed a federal civil lawsuit after learning about Jouhari’s nightmare.
Three years later, Jouhari finally won the battle against the KKK and racial Internet terrorists in a highly publicized court settlement. Her fight became the first-ever Internet hate case in the world.
Jouhari was awarded $1.1 million dollars in the judgment. Wilson was supposed to pay that price overtime.
Frankhouser, on the other hand, was ordered to pay Jouhari 10 percent of his salary (sealed tight with an apology).
It’s 2009 and Jouhari has yet to see that money. The only thing Jouhari said she got was the apology.
No one has ever been prosecuted, Jouhari said.
The U.S. Attorney’s office refused to comment on Jouhari’s case. Except for this statement, “Extensive efforts were made” to enforce the judgment.
So, 10 years later, Jouhari continues her daily battle against hate crimes.
Her struggles don’t stop there. Jouhari is also battling a rare form of leukemia.
On a side not: A rebel flag can be seen hanging in a window at Wilson’s Fishtown home.
Lu Ann Cahn is an investigative reporter for NBC 10. Click here to read more about Lu Ann.