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December 6, 2017

Update: Sex Offender Quits as Photo Ops Provider for BSCCC

sci-fi-photo-feature

Update 3: The trademark infringement case wasn’t settled, it was decided by a judge and the judge’s ruling was not opposed. The information about that decision has been updated below.

 

Update 2: The post from Silverman of Sci-Fi Photo Guys has been taken down from the Boston SouthCoast Comic Con Facebook page and has been replaced with this official statement and apology:

Friends, family, and attendees (past, present, and future),

As many of you know, there has been negative attention regarding one of the vendors for the December show. We asked this vendor to step down, and he has done so. In the past, he has attended many other shows and cons – not just produced by us – and there has never been an issue.

We’d like to formally apologize for any hurt feelings or misunderstanding based on our previous posts. Our attendees safety and comfort is of the utmost importance to us, and because of that we now have Fun Time Events as our photo op provider.

We appreciate all of you and hope to have a fantastic time with you at the show! Thank you.

 

Update: At almost the same moment we published the story below, Boston SouthCoast Comic Con published the letter from Daniel Silverman of Sci-Fi Photo Guys stating he was resigning (Ed note: Link is now dead as the post has been removed) from providing celebrity photo ops at this weekend’s convention. I am leaving the redaction of the victim information, even though Silverman provides it in his letter.

 

It has been a tough week for Boston SouthCoast Comic Con. Following on the heels of a trademark infringement lawsuit, it now has a controversy on its hands after it refused to drop the contract of the vendor of celebrity photos, a registered sex offender.

Last week the parent organization behind Anime Boston sued the parents of BSCCC, Fantastic Gatherings Inc. and Image Meet and Greet Entertainment LLC, over trademark infringement. The suit is over Boston AnimeFest, a new sub-event held concurrently with BSCCC. As of Tuesday, Dec. 5, there has been a settlement court decision, which will be covered below.

But today another story went viral on social media, based on the effort of Marc Brunco, a regular con-goer, an administrator for the group Boston Whovians, and a member of the Barnstable Democratic Town committee.

Brunco discovered that the green screen and celebrity photo vendor Sci-Fi Photo Guys is owned and operated by Daniel Louis Silverman of Virginia — the state in which he is a registered sex offender. Silverman plead no contest to “Aggravated Sexual Battery (Non-violent)” on a minor. In this case, the girl was 12 years old, and he was an assistant pastor at a church in Vinton, Va.

Silverman, 43 at the time, confessed to the police, according to the Roanoke Times, but later said the victim was making up the allegations.

After Brunco discovered that Silverman’s business Sci-Fi Photo Guys had been hired to do celebrity photo ops at BSCCC, he sent an email to Mary Dumas of Fantastic Gatherings. Her response to Brunco, which he shared with us, is below:

Thank you VERY MUCH Marc.  I was informed of this information just this morning.  Am working with Gary to have him dismissed, properly.

bsccc-emailscreencap001

That was in mid-November. When Brunco followed up on Monday, Dec. 4, the reply from Dumas was much different:

We had him researched, and got an affidavit from the VA system.  This was a family court matter and doesn’t concern us. He is fit for this job according to MIT hiring standards. We are not chancing anything, he will be in public at all times. He served his sentence, has completed all required court ordered council and is considered non repeat. That’s the best that can be done,

bsccc-emailscreencap002

Brunco pressed the issue with a suggestion that Silverman’s status as a sex offender and the affidavit be posted publicly so potential attendees could choose to go to BSCCC or not based on the information.

On Tuesday, Dec, 5, Gary Sohmers of Image Meet and Greet Entertainment sent the following response to Brunco’s suggestion about publicly stating Silverman’s sex offender status and the affidavit:

Please do not come to my event if you intend to start any trouble about D. Silverman.
If you were involved in the actual situation, or have knowledge to share with Police in the jurisdiction of the crime, than please deal with it appropriately in the courts and not at our show.
We will not be chastising anyone at our event for a past they have made up for … Or should we start looking into your past and telling everyone just because someone has an issue with you.
Decide to stay out of other people’s business or put on your own events your own way.

bsccc-emailscreencap003

Sohmers said in an email to us:

[Silverman] is a registered sex offender … just that the circumstances regarding the situation when taken into account means that people can have bad experiences, and NOT BE PUNISHED for life  for it … he was involved in a bad relationship and he did a good thing by NOT putting [the victim] thru a trial and inquisition to satisfy the needs of a mother … he took the bullet, paid his dues and deserves to be able to have a civil life … in my personal opinion having worked with him as a photo op vendor, he is a professional artist … he is not a monster and he is no one to fear.

Note: the black bar is to redact some personal identifying information about the victim.

Note: the black bar is to redact some personal identifying information about the victim.

We reached out to Silverman via email for comment, but have not received a reply as of publication time.

Boston SouthCoast Comic Con is scheduled for this weekend, Dec. 9-10, at the Hanover Mall in Hanover, Mass. The renamed AnimeFest will also be a part of the BSCCC event at the same time and place.

 

As I mention above, there has been a settlement decision by the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts in the trademark infringement lawsuit against the parents of BSCCC. Following a Dec. 5 hearing, Judge Leo T. Sorokin on Dec. 7 granted a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction against Fantastic Gatherings Inc. and Image Meet and Greet Entertainment LLC that was not opposed. Under the terms of the court order, the defendants have to modify the Boston AnimeFest name and marketing to no longer use the word “Boston” directly in front of or directly following the term “AnimeFest” in the event’s name or marketing. According to Sohmers and backed up by the order, BSCCC can use terms such as “Boston area” or “near Boston.”



About the Author

Rodney Brown





 
 

 
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