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S.J.R. v. King

Court of Appeals of Oregon

July 22, 2015

S. J. R., Petitioner-Respondent,
v.
Joseph KING, Jr., Respondent-Appellant

13C11488. Marion County Circuit Court. J. Channing Bennett, Judge pro tempore.

R. Grant Cook and Lafky & Lafky filed the brief for appellant.

No appearance for respondent.

Before Duncan, Presiding Judge, and Lagesen, Judge, and Wollheim, Senior Judge.

OPINION

Page 154

[272 Or.App. 382] DUNCAN, P. J.

Respondent appeals the stalking protective order (SPO) entered against him, asserting that it was not supported by sufficient evidence. For the reasons explained below, we agree and, therefore, reverse.

We have the discretion to conduct de novo review in SPO cases, but respondent has not identified, and we do not perceive, any reason to do so in this case. See ORS 19.415(3) ( de novo review is discretionary in equitable actions); ORAP 5.40(8)(c) ( de novo review is appropriate only in " exceptional cases" ). Accordingly, we are bound by the trial court's findings if they are supported by " any evidence," and we review its legal conclusions for errors of law. Noriega v. Parsons, 253 Or.App. 768, 770, 296 P.3d 522 (2012) (internal quotation marks omitted).

Page 155

Stated in accordance with that standard, the relevant facts are as follows. At the time petitioner filed her petition for an SPO, on August 13, 2013, she and respondent had known each other for approximately five years. They were coworkers and attended the same church. Over the years, respondent flirted with petitioner, and she responded either by ignoring him or telling him to stop. When she told him to stop, he would stop for a short period of time, but then he would resume flirting and making sexual advances. Petitioner repeatedly rejected respondent's advances. At two or more points, petitioner told respondent that she did not want him to communicate with her and communications ceased, but later resumed.

The parties were in communication for at least four months before petitioner filed her SPO petition. During those months, petitioner moved into a new house and respondent helped her move. Petitioner also gave respondent a key to her house so that he could let her dogs out while she was on a trip.

But the parties' relationship turned again after respondent sent petitioner numerous text messages expressing his interest in her. According to petitioner, in some of those messages, respondent stated that he wanted to " [lie] naked with [petitioner]" and other " random weird stuff." On [272 Or.App. 383] August 8 or 9, 2013, petitioner sent respondent several text messages telling him to stop contacting her. She then asked him to return her house key. In response, respondent left petitioner multiple voice messages; in one, he stated that he was at her house and was not going to leave until petitioner returned home, and, in another, he stated that he needed to return to petitioner's house to shut her water off.[1] Those messages alarmed petitioner, and she went to a police station to report respondent's conduct.

At the police station, petitioner spoke with an officer, who reviewed the parties' text messages from that day. The officer noted that petitioner had instructed respondent not to contact her anymore, but that respondent had continued to call and send petitioner messages. The officer also noted that respondent's message that he was waiting at petitioner's house was " in reference to returning [petitioner's] house key."

Petitioner told the officer that, although respondent " ha[d] not shown indications of being a violent person," she was " becoming very afraid due to [his] continued and escalating pursuit of her." Petitioner asked the officer to tell respondent not to contact her by phone and to issue respondent a ...


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