WATERVILLE — Neighbors of Catherine Weeks, a member of the Waterville Planning Board and charter commission, are seeking a protection from harassment order against her, claiming she has photographed them, told them they are not welcome in her white, American neighborhood and said they should go back to the country from which they came.

Catherine Weeks Morning Sentinel file photo

The summons for protection from harassment order request, filed Aug. 20 at Waterville District Court by Rasmiya Fezaa and Falah Waheeb of 12 Mount Pleasant St., says members of the Iraqi-born family are afraid of Weeks, who lives next door at 10 Mount Pleasant St.

Weeks videotapes them with her cellphone, repeatedly calls the police on them and had one of their guest’s vehicle towed from the street near their house, costing the guest $100, according to the document.

Weeks disputes their claims and asked that the Morning Sentinel delay publishing a story about the case until she meets with her lawyer next week.

In a telephone interview Thursday, Weeks denied having told her neighbors they are not welcome here, should go back to the country from which they came and other hateful things.

She said she objected to the newspaper’s publishing a story on the allegations, saying such coverage constituted slander.

“All I can say is, at this time, my property rights have been destroyed and I have never had a direct conversation with this person, nor have I ever seen his wife,” Weeks said. “I am just defending the property that has been destroyed. That’s all I’m going to say at this time. The evidence will come out in the court.”

Waheeb, 54, moved several years ago to the United States from Iraq, and lived for a year in North Carolina before moving to Portland and then Waterville in May 2019. He received his U.S. citizenship this year.

Waheeb worked for the U.S. government in several capacities in Iraq, including as a translator and commander of a task force, and was operations and training manager for a security company.

In Iraq, he helped save the lives of many Americans, he said. Eventually, he fled the country because people he knew were being killed, including his boss. He moved to Maine because he heard it was a safe place to raise his family.

“I came here because I heard how kind people are in Maine,” he said. “I’m surprised that this woman (Weeks) treated me this way. She hates us, for some reason. I like the neighborhood. It’s quiet for me and my family. Me and my wife have a lot of health problems and health issues, and Waterville is a quiet place to stay with our family.”

Waheeb and his wife, 56, have five children in Maine, including two daughters in college, two sons in high school and a son in junior high school. They also have three daughters in Iraq.

The request for a protection from harassment order against Weeks says she has harassed Waheeb, Fezaa and their family since they moved to Waterville.

“I’m hoping that the court grant this order; we are living in fear from this individual,” it reads.

A full hearing on the matter is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. on Sept. 28 at Waterville District Court.

In the request for a protection from harassment order, Waheeb and Fezaa said they and their family moved into their house in May 2019.

About two months later, Weeks “dumped much trash onto our property,” according to Waheeb. “Myself and my family were afraid and did not address her. We cleaned up the mess.”

Throughout the summer of 2019, Weeks videotaped people who came to and left the house, according to the court document.

“When our daughter went and returned from work, when we sat at our picnic table out front, defendant would just stand there with her phone and video us,” it reads.

Weeks also repeatedly called police about alleged parking, car issues and noise at Fezaa and Waheeb’s house, according to the court papers.

“She stopped all the tree trimming service on our property and called the police,” it says. “Law enforcement came and told the tree service to continue and the neighbor to go home.”

This year, Weeks called police and reported a vehicle was blocking her driveway, according to the document.

“Police came and stated it was not; report attached. Immediately after that, the defendant had the vehicle towed. The vehicle was parked on a public road. It cost $100 to get the vehicle back,” the document reads. “When the vehicle was gone, we called Waterville PD and they researched it and called us back. Waterville PD told us the defendant had the car towed and gave us the information of where it was located.

“That week, our neighbor, the defendant, walked up to me in my yard and told me: ‘Everyone in the neighborhood hates you. You are not welcome here. Go back to the country you came from. Go back where you came from. This is a white, American neighborhood. It is not yours.'”

The document asks the court to grant the protection from harassment order: “We ask that she pay the additional tree trimming cost and the towing fee. Myself and my family live in fear and are hiding in our home.”

Police records accompanying the court documents show that on March 3, 2020,  Weeks called police to report a vehicle was parked on her lawn and vehicles were parked on both sides of the road, blocking a lane so only one car could pass.

Officer Codey Fabian of the Waterville Police Department checked the area and found vehicles on only one side of the road, according to the police report.

“There was plenty of room for vehicle to get by and I did not notice any parking sign prohibiting parking,” his report reads.

On July 11, 2020, Weeks called police to report her neighbors vandalized her yard by cutting part of her trees.

Waheeb went to the police station that day and spoke with Officer Luis Rodriguez, whose report says Waheeb told him that since he has lived in Waterville, he has had issues with Weeks, whom he had never met because she and her husband refuse to talk with or meet his family.

“Falah (Waheeb) advised that she (Weeks) has called police on him when he has had visitors over and continuously takes pictures of him and his family any time they are outside,” Rodriguez’s report reads. “Falah has moved his basketball hoop as to not disturb her, but he does not wish to be living afraid of her. The issue this morning with the trimming of her trees that are invading into his property could have been discussed, but she would not talk with him or his hired help at all.”

Waheeb said Thursday in the telephone interview that as the harassment increased, he and his wife spoke to their case managers and their lawyer, and ultimately decided to file a request for a protection from harassment order.

One day, when he was sick, Waheeb said, he invited friends from the Arabic community in Augusta to visit, and Weeks took photographs of them with her cellphone and called police. He said it was uncomfortable for his guests, and people who visited him before that incident have not come back after seeing police there.

“She (Weeks) told me I am not welcome here. It’s not my neighborhood. I have to go back,” Waheeb said.

When contacted by email and telephone Thursday for comment, Weeks said that to publish a story using the court documents would constitute slander because what Waheeb and Fezaa allege she had said to them were not true.

“I don’t think the newspaper should be printing anything like that,” Weeks, 65, said.

Told that court documents are public information and that she is a public figure, Weeks said a lot of things are public record, and she reiterated the story should not be published.

“Hold off on that because this is total slander,” she said.

James LaLiberty, co-chairman of Waterville’s Charter Commission, said Weeks told him she had a problem with her neighbors. In an email LaLiberty said when he asked what her problem was with her neighbors, “She said that the problem was that they were Muslims and did not offer any other reason. I found the comment disgraceful and toxic.”

LaLiberty continued, “That is a comment that is definitely not representative of the vast majority of Waterville community members, who are overwhelmingly welcoming of people from all different backgrounds.”

Contacted for comment, Planning Board Chairman Paul Lussier said he does not know Weeks’ neighbors, but he has known her for a number of years, they attend the same church and he could not believe she would say or do such things.

“Cathy is a born-again believer, goes to the Kennebec Valley Baptist Church,” Lussier said. “It’s against our belief to discriminate and do that type of thing. I just can’t believe it from any direction or angle.”

Lussier said he has never known Weeks to espouse “radical views,” and while serving on the Planning Board, she always is sensitive to the needs of abutting property owners who may be affected by projects.

“I just can’t believe these allegations against her, based on the Cathy Weeks that I know,” he said.

Weeks was part of a group of three people who last year in hearings before the Waterville Voter Registration Board disputed the eligibility of 75 Colby students and faculty to vote in Waterville.

Those voters cast ballots in the Nov. 6, 2018, election that resulted in the approval of a plastic bag referendum that prohibited businesses 10,000 square feet or larger from dispensing the bags.

The board ultimately ruled in favor of the students and faculty.


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