Friday, July 12, 2024

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Firefighter’s stalking case postponed until May due to attorneys’ absences; meanwhile, he’s on administrative leave from Graham fire department job


An emergency ex-parte domestic violence protective order (a DVPO, or 50B) issued on March 31 against the Graham fireman, Robert Patterson, II, will remain in effect until the next court date, in keeping with state laws governing cases of alleged domestic violence.

The 50B prohibits Patterson, 50, white male, from having any contact with Courtney Wrenn, 36, white female, of Burlington, who claims she once dated Patterson but says she now fears he may harm her or her family.

In the complaint she filed for a DVPO, Wrenn alleged that Patterson had repeatedly stalked her and her husband since last fall – and that Patterson knew her and her husband’s work schedules and constantly monitored the couple’s comings and goings.

Wrenn’s complaint detailed multiple dates between January 4 of this year and late last month – sometimes, multiple times each day – when Patterson allegedly came by her work, her husband’s work, and the couple’s church. An appendix that Wrenn included with her complaint references upwards of 100 pages of notes she apparently kept, detailing dates and times when Patterson allegedly came by her work and church.

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On her complaint and motion, Wrenn checked a box stating that she and the defendant, Patterson, “are currently or formerly” in a dating relationship. The court file gave no indication of how long Wreen and Patterson had dated, or when their relationship ended.

Patterson has been ordered to stay away from Wrenn’s home; her and her husband’s workplaces; her children’s school; and the couple’s church at 2420 Corporation Parkway in Burlington, which is the address for Integrity Church, based on the temporary emergency DVPO order that Alamance County district court judge Rick Champion granted Wrenn on March 31. As a standard requirement in cases involving alleged domestic violence, Patterson was also ordered to turn over any firearms he may own to the sheriff’s department and not to purchase any new ones, according to the court file.

Meanwhile, Patterson was placed on administrative leave from his job with the Graham fire department on April 3, based on documents that Graham city manager Megan Garner furnished this week in response to a public records request by The Alamance News. He had also been suspended without pay for five days in December 2022.

The documents furnished by Graham’s city manager give no indication of how long Patterson has been placed on administrative leave, or whether it or the previous suspension are related to the DVPO filed by Wrenn.

Patterson was originally hired by the city as a general maintenance worker in November 1994 and later promoted to meter reader in September 2000. He has been employed with the city of Graham as a firefighter since September 2003; his current salary is $55,523.08, based on the public records that Garner furnished to the newspaper.

The procedures in cases involving 50B domestic violence protective orders, which are heard in civil court, vary significantly from other civil matters and criminal cases.

There is no arraignment for a defendant in a case in which a DVPO is issued; and the civil proceeding has no bearing on any criminal charge(s) involving the same defendant and/or incidents, Alamance County district court judge Larry Brown, Jr. explained at the outset of a hearing Monday morning in domestic violence court.

There appear to be no previous, current, or pending criminal charges against Patterson, based on Alamance County court records.

A hearing on the DVPO against Patterson originally had been scheduled for Monday. Neither the attorney for the plaintiff, Rob Jennings, nor the attorney for the defendant, Clay Plunkett, was present for the hearing.

Brown said Monday that both attorneys are on secure leave this week. Secure leave is one complete calendar week which has been requested by an attorney, during which district and superior courts may not hold proceedings in cases for which they are representing a party, according to North Carolina’s Rules of Civil Procedure.

The next hearing in the case has been set for 9:30 a.m. on Monday, May 1.

See earlier coverage of filing of the protective order:

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