Dothan City Commissioner Settles Harassment Case

By: Demetria McClenton Email
By: Demetria McClenton Email

A Dothan City Commissioner agrees to settle a misdemeanor harassment charge.
District 1 City Commissioner James Reading and former City Commissioner Larry Matthews settled the score Monday morning in the Houston County Courthouse.
“Both sides met...we agreed that Commissioner Reading will apologize to former Commissioner Larry Matthews publicly today for his actions,” said Doug Valeska, Houston County District Attorney.
A public apology brought an end to a harassment case pending since August.
“I think both parties are ready to get this over with. Everybody's concerned,” said Valeska.
The misdemeanor charge carried a punishment of up to 90 days in jail and a fine ranging up to $500.
“With his apology in open court and open apology at the next city commission meeting, the case will be dismissed on payment of the court costs,” said Valeska.
The incident took place during the Dothan's National Night Out Against Crime when Reading allegedly grabbed Matthews by his shirt sleeve, causing the fabric to rip.
Matthews filed a complaint with the County's Magistrate's Office and an original trial date was set for September 28th.
That date was then pushed back when District Judge Benjamin Lewis recused himself from the trial.
Former Circuit Court Judge Jerry White was then selected to preside over the case.
“He came in to fill in and help us out instead of going out for an outside judge which could have taken months.”
Commissioner Reading is responsible for paying more than $400 which includes court costs and the replacement of Matthew's damaged shirt.
Both parties agreed to stay away from each other for a year, or else the case would be re-instated.

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