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A South Lyon councilman is barred from sitting at the same table as a female colleague following allegations he harassed her.

Mary Parisien told fellow council members and audience members during a meeting Monday night that she had won a year-long personal protection order in Oakland County Circuit Court this week against Carl Richards. 

Parisien alleges she went to police after a local business contacted her Oct. 31 to say Richards had been there “bragging about looking into the windows of my home” and then “made a series of grossly inappropriate comments about my person, my body.”

The Police Department investigated and turned the matter over to the city prosecutor for a warrant review, Lt. Chris Sovik said Wednesday.

“After reviewing the report, the city prosecutor failed to issue a warrant against Richards for window peeping due to a lack of evidence,” he wrote in an email. “…The police case brought against Richards is closed.”

Reached Wednesday night, Parisien said in a statement that a judge “saw the severity of the situation” and granted her personal protection order.

Richards attended the city council meeting but sat separately from all members.

Explaining the arrangement to the audience, Mayor Dan Pelchat acknowledged Richards was moved "due to actions regarding another council member ... deemed inappropriate by a court of law. The city is being proactive.”

Richards did not speak about the situation during the meeting or address the allegations. He could not be reached for comment Wednesday night.

On Monday, Parisien made a motion asking the council to request that the city’s board of ethics investigate and determine whether Richards violated an ordinance.

“Carl has exhibited a pattern of behavior that will only continue if he sits on this Council, and inevitably it will cost South Lyon taxpayer dollars in the future,” she said in a statement. “And we will continue to make headlines, not for the positive strides the City makes, but for the City's failure to recognize how important respect toward women is when individuals like Carl continue to remain on Council.”

Hometown News reported in January that Richards read an apology for asking council appointee candidate Joyce Clohosey during a public interview when she had given birth.

The council approved the ethics request measure. But some members opposed it.

Margaret Kurtzweil noted city police did not file charges and she wanted more details on the alleged misconduct.

"I don’t have the information that I think I need in front of me right now to send to (the) board of ethics," Kurtzweil said. "I’m not even sure if that is the place where this should go. I think the court systems appear to be handling this and maybe that’s where this should just stay."

Parisien also said Oakland County Sheriff’s officials were investigating claims against Richards. The sheriff's office said Thursday it was not investigating the matter and directed any question to the South Lyon Police Department or the city's prosecuting attorney. 

mhicks@detroitnews.com
 

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