Complaint against Carroll supervisor dismissed
by Michael Howlett
The hearing on May 22 concerning Carroll County Assistant Administrator Nicole Shank’s emergency protective order against Carroll County Supervisor Bob Martin ended in dismissal.
“We had a lot of issues today and we did our best to solve them,” said District Court Judge Edward Turner III. “New legislation has made these types of things tedious and complicated. It’s a labyrinth.”
The issues were two-fold, with the first problem being Turner’s longtime friendship with Martin.
“We have been friends for 36 years, his son is my son’s best friend and his wife is my dental hygienist. We are trying to get another judge out of the district to hear the case later today,” said Turner during the morning session.
If the case was to proceed, finding a judge available in the afternoon was mandatory. The case could not be held over to another court date, according to state law that reads an “emergency protection order shall expire at 11:59 p.m. on the third day following issuance. If the expiration occurs on a day that court is not in session, the emergency protection order shall be extended until 11:59 p.m. on the next day that the … district court is in session.” The order was issued on May 16. In addition, the order could not be refiled unless there were new developments in the case.
“We tried to get an attorney out of the district and we made calls to the clerk in the (Virginia) Supreme Court offices,” noted Turner of his court’s effort to have the case heard.
As a result, the case ended in a dismissal. Shank made the dismissal request during the afternoon session of court, following a postponement of the case during the morning session. Her initial complaint alleged that Martin had inflicted bodily pain on her by grabbing her arm, and that he made comments she considered threatening.
Shank stated in her complaint that “On March 26, Mr. Martin grabbed my arm so tightly it was painful and I was concerned he had bruised me.”
Shank also alleged that Martin came to her office on May 15 very upset. She said he made several accusations against her.
“He stated that, ‘I was not elected to the board of supervisors to sit in the bleachers, I will be on the floor playing one way or another. That is not a threat, it is a promise,’” Shank said in the complaint. “I considered this a threat, based on his accusations.”
In the complaint, Shank alleges Martin also called her while enraged. She goes on to say he made several additional accusations and verbally abused her.
“He stated, ‘A liar is a liar and a hypocrite is a hypocrite, and do you want me to come tell you to your face?,’” Shank said in the complaint. “I then explained that he was contacting me at work and harassing me. He also stated in that conversation, ‘I don’t blame you for being concerned.’ When the call was ended Mr. Martin stated, ‘I will talk to you later young lady.’ The rage and aggression Mr. Martin expressed on the phone concerns me greatly. I am fearful of any actions he may take as a result of his rage.”
The complaint resulted in Martin begin temporarily banned from some county premises. Carroll County Administrator Gary Larrowe sent a letter to Martin on May 17 that barred him from coming upon or remaining on the Carroll County administrative offices located on the second floor of the Carroll County Governmental Center.
“Should you have public business to conduct in the aforesaid areas of the County Governmental Center, you are directed to contact me directly, at least 24 hours in advance, so that proper arrangements may be made for your visit,” Larrowe wrote in the letter. “This notice shall remain in effect during the term of the emergency protective order or any similar order subsequently entered by the Court, or until you are otherwise notified by me in writing. Should you come upon the above areas without previous approval you will be considered to be trespassing and may be subject to criminal sanctions.”
Presumably, with Monday’s dismissal, the letter is no longer valid.
Martin said not only has he never grabbed Shank’s arm, he said he has never made any physical contact with her to his knowledge. He doesn’t deny having a conversation with Shank in her office and addressing several concerns he has with the county’s administration.
He said the comment about not sitting in the bleachers was just a general statement, not a threat.
“There are six players on the floor at one time in the board of supervisors’ basketball game. It is an old basketball expression,” Martin said. “I didn’t come to sit in the bleachers. I come to play coach and that is what was meant by it.”
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