Kenneth Porada accused of throwing screws on driveways at campus and homes of staff members, causing flat tires
DEERPARK, N.Y.—Kenneth Porada of Cuddebackville, New York, has been arrested for crimes related to repeated harassment of staff at the Dragon Springs campus.
Porada, 62, was arrested by officers from the Deerpark Police Department on May 25 for throwing screws—which caused flat tires—in the driveways of Dragon Springs and about a dozen locals associated with the campus, according to a local resident who previously filed a police report on Porada and was informed by the police of the arrest.
Porada faces charges of criminal tampering, criminal mischief, and disorderly conduct, Deerpark Chief of Police Richard Sztyndor confirmed to The Epoch Times. The Orange County District Attorney’s Office declined to comment.
It’s not clear whether Porada has acquired legal representation. Attempts to determine so and reach any legal representative for comment have been unsuccessful.
Located at the Dragon Springs campus are Shen Yun Performing Arts and two private art schools. The site, which was founded by artists who fled persecution in China, has been consistently targeted by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
The police report on Porada was filed after security cameras at Dragon Springs and other residences caught two of Porada’s vehicles stopping or passing by at the same time the screws appeared in the driveways. Some of the footage appears to show the driver throwing the screws.
The police report, a summary of which was obtained by The Epoch Times, details more than a dozen such incidents since March involving Dragon Springs staff or people otherwise associated with the site. At least three people got flat tires from the small, hard-to-spot screws.
Dragon Springs staff have been reporting similar incidents for years—repeatedly finding screws, trash, and even dead animals left in their driveways. Previously, at least one had to have tires replaced on his vehicle because of it.
Porada lives near the campus and has been notorious among the staff and locals for holding an extreme animus toward Dragon Springs. He has frequently yelled obscenities at staffers who live in the area, they said.
One of his neighbors, who works at Dragon Springs, noticed Porada was going out of his way to be obnoxious toward him, including making offensive gestures and behaving in a lewd and indecent manner.
“If you want to have kids and you have people who behave this inappropriately, you wouldn’t want them to be exposed to any of that from a moral perspective and [from the perspective of] being safe,” the staffer told The Epoch Times. He asked for his name to be withheld over concerns for his safety.
At least two staffers reported that Porada tried to run them off the road when they passed him on their way to Dragon Springs.
Dragon Springs was founded by adherents of the Falun Gong meditation practice who face grisly persecution at the hands of the CCP in China, including routine extralegal detention, torture, and death.
Shen Yun, known as the world’s premier classical Chinese dance and music company, includes in its shows artistic depictions of the persecution in China. Since its inception in 2006, it has faced constant attacks from the CCP, including pressuring theaters on its tour to cancel its shows at the last minute. Touring buses carrying its artists have repeatedly had their tires slashed in a manner apparently intended to cause an accident.
Surveillance and Disruption
In recent years, one of the staffers said, Porada appeared to be monitoring his activities, taking photos or video of his family and of people that visited his house.
“It’s uncomfortable when you know somebody is watching you and taking photos of you, and you don’t know why or who he’s giving these photos and videos to,” the staffer said.
Surveillance has been a major concern for Dragon Springs, as the site has been a primary target of the CCP’s efforts to suppress overseas dissidents.
Staff members are concerned that the video recordings will be sent back to China, where the CCP uses this kind of information to target relatives living in China.
Internal CCP documents previously obtained by The Epoch Times revealed that the CCP issued orders to “attack” Dragon Springs “systematically and strategically.”
The FBI has long kept an eye on such activities. On May 26, the bureau arrested two Chinese natives who tried to bribe the IRS to investigate and strip an “entity” run by Falun Gong practitioners of its nonprofit status. According to the Department of Justice, the suspected Chinese agents attempted to bribe an undercover FBI agent posing as an IRS official in Newburgh, New York, located less than an hour away from Deerpark.
Porada, an avid hunter, appears to have been involved with a local hunting club that owns a property right across the road from one of the entrances to Dragon Springs. According to one local resident, Porada said he held considerable influence over the club. The club doesn’t list its principals or contact information in online business databases and could not be contacted for comment.
Around 2021, a sophisticated surveillance camera was installed on the hunting property, directly aimed at the Dragon Springs north entrance.
Around the same time, what appeared to be an identical camera model was installed on the other side of the property, aimed at its south entrance. The logo on the camera reads HikVision, a state-owned Chinese company that supplies surveillance equipment to CCP police and military. HikVision products have been barred from U.S. government use for posing a national security risk. Americans are prohibited from owning shares in the company because of its connections to the CCP military.
The camera aimed at the south entrance is located on the property of Grace Woodard, a local woman whose activist group is funded by a nonprofit founded by Alex Scilla, a man with long-running business interests in China, an investigation by The Epoch Times previously revealed.
Woodard and Scilla have for years waged a campaign against Dragon Springs, including several failed environmental lawsuits, The Epoch Times previously reported.
“It’s creepy and, for many people, quite dangerous,” Steven Wang, a principal dancer with Shen Yun, previously told The Epoch Times. “I have friends who work here who still have family back in China.
“If they are identified as someone working at Dragon Springs, their family back in China could be in real danger.”
Earlier this year, the CCP sentenced the mother of Wang to four years in prison for her religious beliefs. The family members of several other Shen Yun artists have been harassed or arrested in China in the past.
Sometime last year, the camera on the hunting club property disappeared. What appears to be the same HikVision camera is now attached to Porada’s house, clearly visible from the road. It appears Porada has purged his social media.
Update: The article has been updated with additional information.