A judge told a prosecutor Friday to investigate whether a Valley Stream man violated an order meant to protect a Black female neighbor he's charged with harassing in a case that has captured widespread attention and sparked community protests.
The case began after Jennifer McLeggan, a 39-year-old registered nurse, put a sign on her front door in July alleging her neighbors had been "racially harassing" her since she bought her home.
In August, authorities arrested McLeggan's next-door neighbors, John McEneaney and his girlfriend, Mindy Canarick, who are white.
McEneaney, 57, faces misdemeanor charges of criminal mischief and harassment. Canarick, 53, faces a misdemeanor criminal tampering charge. Both previously pleaded not guilty.
Prosecutor Heather Kalachman said Friday during a virtual court conference in McEneaney's case that McLeggan has complained McEneaney continues to act in a way that could be seen as violating the order of protection that requires him to stay away from her.
"She's alleged that he's continuing to curse loudly in front of her window and seemingly direct it at her," said Kalachman, who said an example was caught on a video and provided to the defense as evidence.
The judge told McEneaney's attorney, Joseph Megale, to direct his client to follow the order of protection. Goggin also ordered the prosecutor to look into McEneaney's actions.
"These are serious allegations if in fact the defendant is violating the order of protection. So I'm directing you to investigate this further," the judge said.
Nassau District Attorney Madeline Singas had said at the time of the couple's arrests that her office found "a pattern of harassing conduct" by the neighbors, but no evidence to support a hate crime charge.
McLeggan was pregnant when she moved onto the block in 2017 and now lives in her Sapir Street home with her toddler daughter.
"My neighbors have been racially harassing me since I purchased my home ... They have said that I can be erased ... I live in FEAR in my home," the sign on her door said in part.
She has said other alleged abuse included feces and dead squirrels being left by her house, the neighbors having "guns seen on video" and McEneaney wearing blackface.
On Friday, the prosecutor also told Nassau District Court Judge Eileen Goggin that the district attorney's office hadn't filed any additional charges against McEneaney.
"We are not at this time alleging that it actually is a violation of the order," Kalachman said.
McEneaney's attorney told the judge that while the video showed "both parties screaming at each other," he would caution his client.
"She's no shrinking violet," the Garden City defense lawyer added of McLeggan. "I will absolutely admonish him but the court shouldn't be misled to think that she is not responding in any way."
Later Friday, McLeggan referred a request for comment to her Manhattan attorney, Heather Palmore.
"He continues to harass Miss McLeggan. These criminal charges have not been a deterrent for his behavior," Palmore said in an interview.
But the attorney said she would leave it up to prosecutors to determine whether or not McEneaney had violated the protective order.
"We did bring information to them that we were asking them to consider and look at," Palmore added.
McEneaney's charges allege in part that he regularly shot pellet guns in his backyard "often in a trajectory" over McLeggan's property, putting her in reasonable fear of injury. Authorities said he surrendered the pellet guns to police in July.
Canarick's charge alleges McLeggan saw her leave "what appeared to be feces" in front of McLeggan's home in 2019.
But Canarick said after the couple's August arraignments that she actually bent down and tried to pick up feces from the neighbor's property.
McEneaney said he and his girlfriend were "the victims" and also denied being a racist.
The couple is scheduled to appear in court next week.