An appeals court has upheld the issuance of civil stalking protection order against a Clay Township resident accused of harassing his neighbors.
The Ohio Sixth District Court of Appeals earlier this month ruled in favor of Dorothy Fondessy, of N. Genoa-Clay Center Road, who was issued a protection order in November 2011 by the Ottawa County Common Pleas Court.
The order directs Anthony Simon, a neighbor of Dorothy and her husband Wayne, to stay at least 25 feet away from the Fondessys and to not have any contact with them. Simon is also to not have any item of his enter the Fondessy’s property.
Simon filed an appeal about a month after the lower court issued the protection order, which is in effect for five years.
According to court documents, the Fondessys have lived at their home since 1974 and Dorothy’s uncle, Charles Simon, lived next door. Charles. Anthony’s father, died in 2005 and Anthony inherited the residence.
A property line dispute between the Fondessys and Anthony was resolved with a survey but confrontations between Dorothy and him continued.
She alleged he “discharged lawn clippings” into a pond of the Fondessys that abuts the property line and ran his mower into hers at the line.
“Dorothy stated that although appellant has never directly threatened her, throughout all these exchanges, his verbiage and rage have caused her to fear him and have caused her mental distress,” the court record says.
She testified that she feared the confrontations were especially harmful to her husband, who had health problems.
Simon admitted using profanities and that the confrontations were “heated” and upsetting to all three but denied any name calling alleged by the Fondessys.
The appeals court noted that the Ohio Revised Code prohibits menacing by stalking and states: “No person by engaging in a pattern of conduct shall knowingly cause another person to believe that the offender will cause physical harm to the other person or cause mental distress to the other person.”
In April, Simon filed a lawsuit in Ottawa County Common Pleas Court against the township police chief and a patrol officer, alleging malicious prosecution.
The lawsuit also names Wayne and Dorothy Fondessy as defendants.
According to the lawsuit and court records, Chief Terry Mitchell initiated a criminal complaint around Sept. 19, 2011 against Simon, charging him in Ottawa County Municipal Court with criminal trespassing and disorderly conduct.
The charges stemmed from a property disagreement Simon has had with the Fondessy’s but were dismissed in April 2012.
In his lawsuit, Simon contends Chief Mitchell’s allegations “had no reasonable basis and lacked probable cause.”
Patrol officer Jamie Blausey is also named as a defendant in the Simon lawsuit.
Statements made by the Fondessys to Blausey and Chief Mitchell resulted in the charges being filed against Simon but were ‘… untrue or misleading and had no reasonable basis or underlying cause for a criminal complaint,” the lawsuit says.
The lawsuit contends Chief Mitchell contacted Simon’s attorney around June 28, 2011 – about when the Fondessy’s statements were taken by police – and threatened criminal action against Simon if he didn’t correct a drainage issue on his property.
“…Mitchell abused the legal process by using it for ulterior motive or purpose of coercing Simon to comply with civil issues being raised by his neighbors…Wayne and Dorothy Fondessy,” the lawsuit says. “Such purpose was not legitimate, regular, or legal in the use of the criminal justice system.”
The suit asks for a jury trial and compensatory and punitive damages of at least $25,000 for each count from each defendant as well as court costs and attorney fees.