Man pleads guilty to racial harassment of neighbors

LEXINGTON, Mass. (AP) — A Massachusetts man has pleaded guilty to repeatedly tossing banana peels onto his neighbors’ property in what prosecutors said was a case of racial harassment, and to having more than 70 guns in his home that he was not legally allowed to possess.

Robert Ivarson, 55, of Lexington was sentenced to up to nine years in prison earlier this month after pleading guilty in Middlesex Superior Court to criminal harassment, a criminal civil rights violation and more than 100 weapons charges, District Attorney Marian Ryan said in a statement Thursday. He was also ordered to have no contact with the victims and undergo a mental health evaluation and any recommended treatment.

A message seeking comment was left with Ivarson’s attorney.

Ivarson was arrested in December 2016 after a Black family from Haiti in his neighborhood reported finding banana peels on their property on 30 to 40 occasions over several months, authorities said. Police even saw him throw the peels in the days prior to his arrest.

Investigators during two court-athorized searches of Iverson’s home in January and October 2017 found 73 guns, including handguns, assault rifles, an Uzi, large-capacity magazines and tens of thousands of rounds of ammunition, the district attorney said. Authorities also found Confederate, KKK and Nazi paraphernalia in the home, authorities said.

Ivarson has been prohibited from possessing firearms since the 1990s because of various criminal convictions, prosecutors said.

“Mr. Ivarson targeted his neighbors because of their race,” Ryan said in a statement. “His repeated throwing of banana peels into their driveway was terrorizing and caused them to feel unsafe in their own home.”

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