WATERVILLE — An Iraqi-born man and his family seeking a protection from harassment order from their next-door neighbor waited more than an hour in the lobby of Waterville District Court on Thursday morning for his hearing, only to be told the hearing had to be continued because there was not enough time on Thursday’s docket.

Cathy Weeks

Falah Waheeb of Mount Pleasant Street alleges his neighbor, Cathy Weeks, a member of the city’s Planning Board, has photographed him and his family, repeatedly called police on them, said they are not welcome in the white, American neighborhood, and that they should go back to the country from which they came.

Waheeb waited at one end of the court’s lobby Thursday for the scheduled 10 a.m. hearing along with his attorney, James LaLiberty, witnesses, an interpreter and other supporters. Weeks and her attorney, Kevin Sullivan, and at least two apparent supporters, waited at the other end of the lobby.

Waterville police Officer Steve Brame, who had responded to some of the police calls from Weeks and was subpoenaed to appear for the hearing, also waited. At 11:15 a.m., they were notified the case was continued.

Thursday’s was the second time the hearing was continued, having been originally scheduled for 2:30 p.m. Sept. 28 and changed to Thursday.

LaLiberty said a date has not been set for the continued hearing, but it probably will be in December.

“Due to time constraints and scheduling issues, the trial was probably going to take too long today, so the court continued to a later date,” LaLiberty said outside the courtroom after District Court Judge Charles Dow made the decision to continue the matter. “A temporary protection order is in effect.”

LaLiberty said the temporary order was put into effect when the protection order was filed and will remain in effect until the final hearing. The temporary order prohibits Weeks from having any direct or indirect contact with Waheeb and his family.

Waheeb said Thursday after the decision to continue the hearing that the waiting is difficult. He is anxious to have the case heard, though he understood the reason it was continued.

He and his wife, Rasmiya Fezaa, filed the protection from harassment order request Aug. 20 in the court. It says their family is afraid of Weeks, who had one of their guest’s vehicles towed from the street near their house, costing $100.

Weeks disputes their claims. She did not immediately respond Thursday to an email or a call placed to her cellphone after she left the court. Sullivan also did not immediately respond to a call.

But Weeks said in August that she did not say the things to Waheeb that he alleges.

“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 in 2015 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 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.

“When our daughter went and returned from work when we sat at our picnic table out front, (the) defendant would just stand there with her phone and video us,” the protection order request says.

“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. 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 order request says.

Mark Andre, of Oakland, who is running for House District 110 and helped Weeks launch a challenge last year to dispute the eligibility of 75 Colby students and faculty to vote in Waterville was at the courthouse Thursday. He said he was there to support both sides.

Bruce Salsbury, a witness for Waheeb, was at the court also.

Weeks has not attended the last few Planning Board meetings. At a meeting Sept. 14, demonstrators stood outside the meeting, asking that she resign.

After the neighbor issue became public, many people visited or wrote letters to Waheeb and his family, in a show of support.

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