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C.P.O. against councilwoman dismissed

A Lawrence County Common Pleas Court Magistrate has dismissed a petition for a civil protection stalking order filed against Ironton City Councilwoman Beth Rist by a former housemate.

During a hearing Friday morning, Magistrate D.L. McWhorter ruled Melissa Arbaugh, of Ironton, had no evidence to substantiate her claim that Rist was contacting her workplace and her family and had coerced people to make slanderous statements about Arbaugh on Topix.

“The justice system worked,” Rist’s attorney, Warren Morford, said. “She (Arbaugh) didn’t prove she was entitled it (the protection order).”

Arbaugh said she was “fine with the outcome” and said she never wanted to hurt Rist, she only wanted Rist to leave her alone.

“I lived with the woman for two years and I cared about her and I cared enough to leave her alone and I want her to get a life and leave me alone. She’s played the victim card for way too long,” Arbaugh said.

Arbaugh filed the petition for a protection order last Friday, seeking to restrain Rist from going near Arbaugh or her family, either at home, her place of work, or other places.

It also would have prohibited Rist from contacting, stalking, threatening or harming Arbaugh and her family. The protection order would have also prevented Rist from obtaining or carrying any deadly weapon.

Rist was fired from the Ironton Police Department in 2008 but is on the roster at the Chesapeake Police Department to keep her certification until her pending federal lawsuit against the city of Ironton is settled.

Rist denied calling Arbaugh and said Arbaugh had actually been calling and threatening her, not the other way around.