A Villager has been officially charged in a “Rogue Nation” disruption at a local school.
The prosecutor’s office this past week in Lake County Court formally charged 63-year-old James Frederick Lewis of the Village of Silver Lake with trespassing on the grounds of a public school. He has pleaded not guilty in the case and remains free on $5,000 bond.
He was arrested May 13 at The Villages Elementary of Lady Lake.
Lewis was at the school on Rolling Acres Road that afternoon “walking on the sidewalk in front of the school filming with his cellphone,” according to an arrest report from the Lady Lake Police Department. Lewis began asking the principal of the school about making a public records request. Lewis was given the information and began filming with his cellphone again, the report said.
As a police officer was speaking with the principal, Lewis “walked up to us on school property and again was asking questions regarding public records for the school’s MSDS’s (material safety data sheets),” the officer wrote in the report. The principal “advised” Lewis again about the procedure when Lewis “began to raise his voice and became agitated” with the principal’s answers, the report said.
The principal asked Lewis to “leave the school property because he was causing a disruption/distraction to the parents and children in the school pick up line.” Lewis refused to leave, claiming “he had the right to be there,” the report said. He acknowledged to police that he did not have any children attending the school or any family that worked there.
Lewis was placed in handcuffs and arrested on a charge of trespassing.
“I was told multiple times by parents in the car line and ones that were walking to pick up their children that they were concerned for their safety and the students,” the officer wrote in the report.
Four days after Lewis’ arrest, 55-year-old Shawn Michael Berry of Belleview showed up at the school, wearing a reflective safety vest and with his cellphone on a tripod. He was recording the dismissal of the students, the school’s principal told police.
Berry was “mimicking the actions of a subject who was arrested the previous week at the same elementary school and posted the video on Youtube under the name ‘Rogue Nation,’” the officer wrote in the arrest report.
Berry was arrested on a charge of trespassing. He was booked at the Lake County Jail and released after posting $1,000 bond. His tripod, a microphone and cellphone were taken as evidence, the report said.
Berry also has pleaded not guilty in the case.