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Family files $1M lawsuit against Target, claims employee ruined man’s life with false accusations of child porn on iPhone

2019-09-08

A lawsuit claims that Jeffrey Buckmeyer, pictured, was wrongly accused of having photos of naked children.

A $1 million lawsuit filed against Target claims an employee at a store in Tigard, Ore., lied about seeing photos of naked children on an innocent man’s iPhone.

Jeffrey Buckmeyer, 43, was the subject of a months-long investigation by Tigard police and the FBI following the employee’s report, according to a lawsuit filed in Multnomah County Circuit Court.

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Officers showed up at Buckmeyer’s apartment last summer and seized computers and a cellphone. They handcuffed him and interrogated him in the back of a police car in full view of his neighbors, according to the lawsuit.

The accusations could have landed him decades in prison, but the FBI returned his devices more than four months later after failing to find any child pornography or proof of abuse, criminal defense lawyer Graham Fisher told OregonLive.

Buckmeyer died from a heart attack in April, according to the lawsuit.

His family is suing Target because they suspect the stress of being investigated as a child molester contributed to his cardiac problems, attorney Michael Fuller told OregonLive, although the lawsuit does not specifically make that claim.

Target spokeswoman Danielle Schumann declined to comment or tell the local newspaper whether the employee still works at the store.

Buckmeyer’s nightmare began on July 24, 2018, when he went to the electronics section at the local Target store to ask an employee for help freeing up storage space on his iPhone 6S, according to court records.

The employee told police he tried to help by opening a folder containing more than 1,000 photographs. He said he viewed 15 to 20 photographs where he saw photos of naked girls appearing to be about 10 years old or younger. He also told the FBI some of the girls pictured were tied up.

FBI agents executed the search warrant at Buckmeyer’s home on Aug. 2, 2018. According to Fisher, Buckmeyer told FBI agents he didn’t have any child pornography and that the employee was wrong, but the investigation continued.

In January 2019, Buckmeyer’s devices were returned and the FBI told him it was dropping the case with no charges filed, Fisher told OregonLive.

The lawsuit claims the Target employee “intended to inflict severe emotional distress” with his “intentional, outrageous and extreme decision to falsely accuse” Buckmeyer.

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