A legally blind theater fan who says he uses binoculars to see performances better claims he was falsely accused of inappropriately looking at young women during a music and dance show last week.

A legally blind theater fan who says he uses binoculars to see performances better claims he was falsely accused of inappropriately looking at young women during a music and dance show last week.

Ashland resident Steven Maryanoff said he was attending the Green Show at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival Friday when several police officers approached and detained him.

"Some young girls claimed I was staring at them," said Maryanoff, 63, who received an indefinite trespass order from festival property because of the incident.

Maryanoff insists he wasn't acting inappropriately, and has been a regular attendee of performances — with his binoculars — for years.

"They told me to leave and never come back," said Maryanoff, who has called both the Ashland Police Department and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival looking for answers.

"They're giving me the runaround," said Maryanoff, who believes OSF owes him an apology.

"I explained that I'm legally blind and that I use binoculars," he said.

Police told him they believed he was acting inappropriately and staring at young women with the binoculars, Maryanoff said.

"They said I was looking at women and getting sexually aroused," said Maryanoff. "I was not."

Maryanoff said he tries not to look at any person for very long because he knows it can make people feel uncomfortable.

"I know how people are sensitive to being looked at with binoculars," said Maryanoff. "I am truly sorry if anyone was offended by my actions."

The Ashland police officers who responded to the scene were taking a direct request from the staff at OSF, according to Ashland police Detective Sgt. Tighe O'Meara.

"The people in charge of the Shakespeare festival asked us to trespass him, and they control the property," said O'Meara. "That's the beginning and the end of it."

O'Meara said Maryanoff wasn't charged with anything, and as of now the police won't have any more involvement. Court records show Maryanoff has no criminal history in Oregon.

Whether Maryanoff can come back to festival property is up to OSF, and festival officials told Maryanoff they are looking into the incident further.

Claudia Alick, the producer of the Green Show, who signed Maryanoff's trespass order, said she wasn't able to comment on the incident.

A representative from the OSF media office said the festival acted appropriately, considering that a patron of the Green Show complained about Maryanoff's behavior.

Maryanoff is not welcome back on OSF property as of now, according to Amy Richard, OSF communications manager, but officials hadn't yet decided whether the trespass order would be permanent.

Maryanoff said he has attended plays at OSF since the 1980s, and after becoming legally blind in 1992, he has brought his binoculars along to help him see the shows.

Maryanoff said he generally sits in the back of the theater so he can use the binoculars, and he has never been notified of complaints before.

If the trespass order is lifted, Maryanoff said he would like to continue attending OSF shows.

Reach Mail Tribune reporter Teresa Ristow at 541-776-4459 or tristow@mailtribune.com.