The parents of a 6-year-old victim of the Sandy Hook shooting have been forced to move homes seven times and now live hundreds of miles from their son’s grave due to near constant harassment from conspiracy theorists who claim the deadly massacre was a hoax.
Twenty small children and six adults were killed in less than five minutes on December 14, 2012, at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, by 20-year-old killer Adam Lanza, who then turned the gun on himself.
“I would love to go see my son’s grave and I don’t get to do that, but we made the right decision,” Veronique De La Rosa, mother of 6-year-old Jewish student Noah Pozner, told the New York Times.
She added that each time she and her husband, Leonard Pozner, have moved, their whereabouts were published online “with the speed of light,” according to the report published Tuesday.
“They have their own community, and they have the ear of some very powerful people,” De La Rosa said.
The Pozners are among six families of victims of the mass shooting who in May filed a lawsuit against conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, who has claimed the massacre never happened.
Jones, a Texas-based radio host and Donald Trump supporter, has claimed the massacre was staged and that the 26 bereaved families are paid actors, exposing the families to harassment, death threats, and personal attacks on social media.
Lawyers for the couple will attend a court hearing in Texas on Wednesday in the defamation suit against Jones.
Jones has filed his own lawsuit against the Pozner family, claiming their suit has violated his right to free speech and seeking more than $100,000 in court costs, the New York Times report said.
In the court documents, Jones reportedly said his claims that the massacre didn’t happen were “opinions” and thus more broadly protected by the US Constitution than factual statements.
He also claimed the Jewish parents were “public figures” because of their activism in favor of gun control — an argument that, if approved, would complicate efforts to prosecute Jones since actual malice would have to be proven.
Jones maintained in his lawsuit that the Pozners were trying “to silence those who openly oppose their very public ‘herculean’ efforts to ban the sale of certain weapons, ammunition and accessories, to pass new laws relating to gun registration and to limit free speech,” according to the report.
On Friday, Facebook suspended Jones’ account for 30 days over alleged hate speech and bullying. The suspension applies only to Jones’s personal page and not the account of his Infowars website. Though Jones will be prohibited from posting using his account, other administrators will still be able to post content on his page.
Facebook also removed four videos posted to the accounts of Jones and Infowars.
Jones quickly hit back in a video in which he accused the social media giant of working to “de-platform” his site.
In the defamation lawsuit against Jones, filed by a Connecticut law firm, he and his far-right website are accused of peddling false narratives “as part of a marketing scheme that has brought him and his business entities tens of millions of dollars per year.”
According to the lawsuit, Jones has a radio audience of more than two million people and more than 2.3 million subscribers to his YouTube channel.
Within days of the killings, Jones attacked the victims’ families, publishing headlines including “Sandy Hook Shooting Exposed as a Fraud,” and urged people to “investigate” for themselves, the lawsuit said.
AFP contributed to this report.