SHERIDAN — Sheridan’s 4th Judicial District Court has determined a local Sheridan attorney stalked and harassed one of his neighbors. The court upheld a no contact order issued in Sheridan County Circuit Court last summer after reviewing a case involving Timothy and Carole Tarver and his complaint against their neighbors, Robert and Beverly Bernard, who operate a bed and breakfast in the neighborhood.
The court upheld a protection order issued last summer stating that Tarver was not to harass or stalk Beverly Bernard, but reversed a similar order regarding Rob Bernard, who the court determined seemed less threatened by Tarver’s activity.
Tarver recently sued his neighbors, the Bernards, for operating a bed and breakfast on Thurmond Street. Tarver took issue with the city’s permitting process and interpretation of zoning laws as well as what he perceived to be a parking hazard on the street.
The case went all the way to the Wyoming Supreme Court, which affirmed earlier this month that the city’s permitting process was sound. Also, the Bernards changed the parking plan outside the home to avoid having guests park on the street.
In the process of collecting information for his court hearing, Tarver admitted to taking approximately 55 photographs of the Bernards’ property over the course of a year. The court determined that in order to accomplish that task, Tarver would have to place the Bernards under significant surveillance efforts and remain present outside the home. The court also upheld the decision that the behavior showed elements that indicate some of the activity was done solely to harass or intimidate the Bernards.
“The sheer frequency of Tarver’s presence outside the Bernards’ home could cause a reasonable person substantial emotional distress,” the court document reads. “It is reasonable that this conduct would cause a person to feel shock, embarrassment, grief, anxiety, worry, fright, disappointment and other forms of emotional distress.”
Court testimony from Beverly Bernard demonstrated she was significantly distressed by Tarver’s behavior. On one occasion, she said she opened her bedroom window and Carole Tarver was outside taking photographs. She said that incident made her hesitant to open her windows and blinds, and the court agreed Beverly Bernard suffered significant emotional distress over the behavior.
The court reversed a no contact order issued between the Tarvers and Robert Bernard because the court did not find evidence he suffered the same degree of emotional distress as Beverly Bernard.
In some instances, Robert Bernard had intentionally injected himself into the photographs taken by the Tarvers.
According to the district court’s decision, “Regardless of Mr. Bernard’s purpose for placing himself in the photographs, a person who was seriously alarmed by such conduct would not intentionally subject himself or herself to the conduct.”
Robert Bernard told The Sheridan Press the stalking order sunsets in August, and he and his wife have not yet determined whether they will seek to have it continued.
He said he originally sought the protective order because he felt it was the only way the Tarver’s so-called “evidence gathering” would end.
“I think the district court looked at this case very carefully and did their job,” Bernard said. “I don’t have a problem with their determination.”