Though she denied a Washington Local school board member’s request for a protection order against former Superintendent Patrick Hickey, a magistrate Thursday sent a message that the two should have no further contact.
At a brief hearing, Gretchen Goranson Weston denied Patricia Carmean’s petition for a civil protection order against Mr. Hickey, who Ms. Carmean claimed was harassing and threatening her.
She alleged that a series of incidents since Oct. 30, 2015, and more recently, a series of Facebook messages Mr. Hickey sent to her, had caused her mental distress — an element required by the menacing by stalking statute.
“What I would like to stress to all of the parties involved is that the reason that this petition is being denied is because I’m not finding there to have been a pattern of conduct that meets the level of mental distress required by the statute, but that the most recent incident does,” the magistrate said, referring to the Facebook messages. “So if there were to be another incident, this court would come to a different conclusion.”
Both Ms. Carmean and Mr. Hickey are running for seats on the Washington Local school board. Mr. Hickey resigned as superintendent in December, 2015, after two internal investigations into his conduct. He remains banned from school property.
Ms. Weston said Mr. Hickey sent a number of instant messages April 16 and 17 to Ms. Carmean, including, “Don’t make me make it public. There are records that are very embarrassing for your family. Your call Patty. Know that I tried.” The messages reference taking information to the media regarding Ms. Carmean’s late husband’s spending habits when he was Washington Local superintendent.
“A plain reading of these messages would suggest that the writer was attempting to dissuade the reader from proceeding with her campaign in exchange for not releasing the allegedly damaging information,” Ms. Weston said.
Based on the magistrate’s ruling, the temporary protection order that was granted April 20 is no longer in effect.
Mr. Hickey’s lawyer said Mr. Hickey and Ms. Carmean have had no contact and would not.
Ms. Carmean declined to comment afterward.
Contact Jennifer Feehan at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-213-2134.
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