Controversial allegations of “menacing by stalking” threaten to overshadow the 2016 race for Adams County Commissioners seats in the upcoming election.
Diane Ward, Human Resource Officer for the Adams County Commissioners office, has asked the Court of Common Pleas to impose a civil stalking order against her bosses, current commissioners, Stephen Caraway and Paul Worley.
In the complaint filed Jan. 6, Ward claimed that Caraway and Worley committed verbal actions which have caused her distress since she filed to run against Worley in the upcoming March election.
She accuses Caraway of screaming at her when she asked him and Commissioner Brian Baldridge to have Worley “back off” after she was reprimanded on Jan. 4 for a task she had worked on.
Her complaint asks that the two commissioners be barred from entering the government building in which she works, which is also the building where the commissioners conduct county business.
A hearing scheduled for Jan. 15 was cancelled following the recusal of Judges Brett Spencer and Rocky A. Coss (Highland County).
According to officials, a visiting judge from Greene County will hear the complaint, though no hearing date has been set.
Caraway and Worley have both secured legal council to address the claims.
Worley’s attorney, Don White, told the Defender, “Ms. Ward, upon filing her spurious complaint against Paul Worley, was granted an ex-parte hearing and testified before an Adams County magistrate. Paul did not receive prior notice of the complaint or the hearing. If there was even a remote possibility that there was any truth or merit to her complaint, she would have been granted a temporary civil protection order against Paul. That did not happen. Paul looks forward to a full hearing on this frivolous politically motivated complaint so that he can extinguish any thoughts that he has done anything to Ms. Ward other than insist that she do the job that the people of Adams County pay her to do.”
In a written statement Worley told the Defender, “I served my country with honor and integrity in Iraq and Afghanistan. As a commissioner, I have served Adams County with that same honor and integrity and respect for the people. I will continue to work hard and be a strong advocate for our community.”
According to Joseph Braun, attorney for Commissioner Caraway, “The Court has already reviewed this matter and determined Ms. Ward’s evidence was insufficient to grant the relief she is seeking. I believe the filing of this is politically motivated. We intend to aggressively defend this and not allow anyone to tarnish Mr. Caraway’s reputation for working hard for the residents of Adams County.”
According Caraway, he is looking forward to a hearing date.
Ward had not responded to a request for a comment before press time.