Dad seeks justice after child's billboard defaced

Dad seeks justice after child's billboard defaced


by TONY BURBECK / NBC Charlotte

Bio | Email | Follow: @TonyWCNC

Posted on November 14, 2013 at 11:18 AM

Updated Thursday, Nov 14 at 12:34 PM

GASTONIA, N.C. -- A Gaston County father seeking justice for his daughter after her billboard picture was defaced ends up charged with a crime.

Lee Spargo was trying to get the teens who spray painted an obscene picture over his daughter’s face charged instead, but now faces two counts of communicating threats for calling those teens.

14 year-old Megan Spargo's smile landed her on a billboard for Hannon Orthodontics along I-85 near exit 27.

"She's a beautiful girl,” Spargo said. "That was one of the highlights of her life. Just really makes you smile as a daddy."

That happiness ended two weeks ago.

Spargo says neighborhood teens who hang out at his deer processing company spray the billboard to make it look like child porn. The picture is too crude to describe in print or on television.

Thousands of drivers saw it before the billboard company removed it.

"My little girl cried for a week straight, non-stop. It broke her heart,” Spargo said.

The billboard is gone, but not forgotten. Spargo says the picture ended up on the Facebook posts of students at East Gaston High, where Megan is in ninth grade.

"She's getting laughed at and picked on at school, picked on.  My son, 17 year-old son, goes to school with her, and he's having to defend his sister's honor because of this, and he's already been in a fistfight over this."

Spargo wants the teens charged with vandalism. Wednesday, one teen told us who did it.  Two have already sent Megan apology letters.

"Sorry for the trouble we caused,” Spargo said while reading one of the letters. "It was a dumb, stupid mistake, and never thought about the consequences you would suffer because of us being stupid,” it continued.

Spargo is the only one charged. He faces two counts of communicating threats, which he says came from calling the teens and their fathers to let them know what their kids did and how it hurt his family.

Spargo says he did not threaten anyone.

“No I did not. I was just calling these guys to find out why,” he said.

The teens say Spargo threatened to beat them up and it's why they went to court. 

Police say they caught the teens at the billboard trying to clean it up, but the billboard company and orthodontics office decided not to press charges in exchange for the teens paying to replace the billboard.

One teen says they were wrong, but so is Megan's dad, and he’s not going to drop the charges.

Spargo is due in court next month.

“Our focus at Hannon Orthodos to provide excellent care and to create beautiful and healthy smiles.  We provide a nurturing and supportive atmosphere in our office and in our community,” said a spokesperson from Hannon Orthodontics.