Lakota school board members testify against each other at protection order hearing

Published: Sep. 15, 2023 at 7:30 AM EDT|Updated: Sep. 15, 2023 at 8:36 PM EDT
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LIBERTY TOWNSHIP, Ohio (WXIX) - Most of Lakota’s school board members were in court Friday as one of them seeks a civil stalking protection order against another.

Isaac Adi and Darbi Boddy campaigned together in 2021 but now he claims he is under “mental distress” because their relationship “has deteriorated to the point that Ms. Boddy is “extremely aggressive toward me and has become very confrontational,” according to Adi’s petition to the court for protection.

“With Ms. Boddy’s aggressive and threatening behavior, I do not feel safe with her around me,” Adi wrote in a page-long document attached to his petition describing why he believes she would cause him “physical harm or cause or has caused (him) mental distress.”

His initial request last month for an emergency “ex parte” protection order against Boddy was denied the same day by a Butler County magistrate because he “failed to present evidence” it “is necessary for (his) safety and protection from immediate and present danger,” court records show.

But Adi had the right to a second, full hearing, which is what occurred Friday for four hours.

Adi, Boddy, Board Chairwoman Lynda O’Connor, Board member Julie Shaffer and Assistant Superintendent Stacy Maney all took the stand and gave sworn testimony.

Boddy was the only one to testify in her defense.

O’Connor, Shaffer and Maney testified for Adi.

At the end of the hearing, Butler County Magistrate Matthew Reed did not issue a decision. He said he would release a written one at a later date.

“I am disappointed there was no order issued today but I understand that the magistrate wants to review the evidence and take the matter under advisement, which is normal for the court to do,” said Adi’s attorney, Robert Lyons, who also is a part-time judge in one of Butler County’s three area courts.

Boddy’s attorney, Robert Croskery, said:

“We respectfully await the Court’s ruling but believe the petition calling Darbi a “stalker” for questioning Isaac Adi’s votes and for going to Board meetings and gathering information for her constituents borders on frivolous.

“Had Magistrate Reed seen the need for a protective order, we suspect he would have issued warning instructions from the bench. We have great confidence that the correct decision, as well as the morally right one, is in favor of Darbi Boddy.”

Adi’s petition asks the court to order Boddy not to:

“...abuse (him) “by harming, attempting to harm, threatening, following, stalking, harassing or contacting” him

“...enter (his) residence, school, business, place of employment, child care providers or daycare centers....including the buildings, grounds and parking lots at those locations.”

“...possess, use, carry or obtain any deadly weapon, firearms, and ammunition.”

Adi wrote as part of his court filing: “I am also concerned about Ms. Boddy, as she has indicated on several occasions that she carries a gun. While I am a strong believer and supporter of the 2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and I do have a concealed carry permit, I feel even more uncomfortable with Ms. Boddy’s aggression when it is my belief that she is carrying a firearm.”

On the stand Friday, however, Adi said he was not trying to take away her gun rights.

In a page-long supplement to his court filing, Adi lists three main reasons why he should be granted a civil stalking protection order against Boddy:

  • “Confrontational” phone calls followed by apology text messages from November 2021 to January 2022.
  • She “was abusive towards me” in “harassing confrontations” three separate times in front of groups of people during a conservative leadership conference they both attended in Florida in April
  • Boddy ”aggressively got into my face” as he left a June 13 executive board meeting and “demanded that I answer her questions while she was recording the incident.” She posted about it on Facebook and contacted the media.

Still, Adi didn’t file for the protection order until just over two months later, on Aug. 16.

His attorney tells FOX19 NOW Adi was out of the country in Africa over part of the summer.

The June 13 encounter between Adi and Boddy resulted in Boddy filing an assault report against him four days later, on June 17, with the Butler County Sheriff’s Office.

The sheriff’s office presented the case to the Butler County Prosecutor’s Office, who determined “it didn’t meet the elements of assault, so we closed it out,” Lt. Joe Fuller said.

In her complaint to the sheriff’s office, Boddy alleged Adi told her “Your brain is empty” during the executive session so she took out her phone and started recording as they walked out of the building between 9:16 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.

She tried to get him to say it again on camera but he said he didn’t tell her that and kept walking, according to a video she posted on Facebook on June 22.

Adi asked her: “You are videoing me?” and appeared to swat Boddy’s phone away, asking: “Why are you videoing me?”

She kept her phone from falling to the ground by catching it with her other hand and continued filming, her lawyer says.

In the video, she accused him then of assaulting her.

“Don’t assault me. You just − you’re assaulting me. You just assaulted me on camera,” she told Adi on the video.

He asked her again why she was recording him.

“Because you speak very badly to me,” she responded, according to the video.

They kept walking and he again denied saying her brain was empty.

“So now you’re lying?” Boddy asked, according to the video. “Because you know you’re being caught doing something you’re not supposed−”

The video cuts off at that point.

When she posted the video to Facebook, she wrote: “At least twice now Isaac Adi has assaulted someone for merely attempting to record what he is saying to them. I’m posting this because I think it’s important to expose abusive people like this contemporaneously when possible.”

Boddy testified Friday that she didn’t mean any ill will against Adi.

She said she was just calling him out at the leadership conference for not being conservative when she felt he should be conservative, for not voting conservative and for supporting the former superintendent.

Her attorney showed a video in court Friday of Adi getting angry with parents. At the end of it, he smacked a cell phone as he was being videotaped by one of them as well.

Adi testified Friday about two additional incidents that he believes entitle him to protection:

  • Stress over social media posts, most made by Boddy, about the June 13 incident became so bad in July he was taken to the hospital because his body was “shutting down.” He said he was in the hospital for three days and two nights and submitted a medical bill to the court as evidence.
  • Two days after Adi requested the protection order, Boddy confronted Adi at a board committee meeting by asking why he left the room, recording and challenging him. He told her ‘I don’t answer to you.’

That Aug. 18 incident is mainly what the assistant superintendent, O’Connor and Shaffer testified about Friday morning.

After Boddy confronted Adi, he told O’Connor he could not sit through the rest of the meeting, she said.

“He stood up and came over to me as the chair of the meeting and said ‘I need to leave,’” O’Connor testified. “I walked out with Isaac and he said ‘I”m going to the hospital.’”

They also said during testimony that board and community members have been concerned about Boddy’s ability to carry a gun.

Boddy has been the subject of many controversies since she joined the school board in January 2022.

She was elected after campaigning on a platform opposing Critical Race Theory, which Lakota officials have repeatedly said is not in the schools. Boddy also is a staunch believer in and insists on parents’ rights.

While Boddy clearly has supporters, a recall effort has been underway to try to remove her from the school board for more than a year.

In the spring of 2022, she was censured by the school board after accidentally posting a link to a pornographic website while advocating for abstinence.

They also asked her to resign.

She refused and walked out of the meeting.

Then a school resource officer served Boddy with a letter notifying her that she was trespassing when she showed up, unannounced, at two schools in Liberty Township: Lakota East High School and Liberty Early Childhood School.

The letters warned her if she did it again, she would be formally charged.

She took several photos inside the schools while she was there, from civil rights timeline projects of students to messages that all are accepted in the building or classroom, FOX19 NOW has confirmed.

Some of the photos also show projects that appear to have a rainbow-colored theme.

Boddy claimed in a Facebook post that she did not sneak into the schools and the visits were not a secret.

More recently, Lakota’s former superintendent, Matt Miller, quit and blamed Boddy for being on a “crusade” that “destroyed my career.”

Boddy told FOX19 NOW in an interview at the time she felt Miller was not fit to be the superintendent. Allegations that originated from his ex-wife were investigated by the sheriff’s office last year.

Miller told a sheriff’s detective during an interview that he and his ex-wife engaged in consensual sexual encounters while they were married with other consenting adults, not minors, according to the investigative report and a copy of his interview transcript.

The report also states Miller said he and his ex-wife would “role play” and engage in “pillow talk” and, on one occasion, that included a discussion of “drugging, molesting and recording three juveniles but that was during a role-play/pillow talk session.”

The sheriff’s office announced a year ago this month they were closing that case as well after consulting prosecutors with no charges being filed.

Most of the school board publicly supported Miller during the investigation and a separate one the district paid for that also determined no laws were broken.

Still, Miller left early this year, writing in his January resignation letter to the school board that Boddy created “a nightmare” for him and his family, told “outright lies about him” and the rest of the board did not protect him from “her harassment which continues to this day.”

“Her crusade to force me to resign is direct retaliation for my efforts to protect Lakota students of all genders and races from her destructive efforts.”

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