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His peers say that former prosecutor Richard Preston, who was granted accelerated rehabilitation in 1996 for stalking his ex-girlfriend, is continuing his pattern of “stalking” — this time by abusing the civil litigation system. Six years ago, Preston was arrested for second degree-stalking, second-degree harassment and disorderly conduct for threatening to kill his ex-girlfriend’s boyfriend and slipping explicit photographs under her door. Preston was banned from his ex-girlfriend’s hometown, ordered to pay for her counseling and to perform 200 hours of community service. He was also fired from his job as a housing court prosecutor handling landlord-tenant disputes and code violations in Tolland, Windham and New London Counties, Conn. Now, his legal peers say, he has carried his obsessive traits into the litigation arena. Preston has three suits currently pending: one against his ex-girlfriend Paula O’Rourke; another against Deanna Boyles, a second woman who accused him of stalking her; and one against the Division of Criminal Justice. “By pursuing these cases further … it is of the same reasoning that motivated him to become a stalker in the first place,” Hartford, Conn. sole practitioner Susan Smith said. “It is this obsession … compulsion … whatever you call it. … It is continued stalking through the litigation.” Smith represented O’Rourke when Preston sued her client for defamation and intentional and negligent infliction of emotional stress for testifying against him during his arrest and in a subsequent arbitration suit. O’Rourke later filed a motion for summary judgment to dismiss Preston’s actions and won a judgment on August 28, when Rockville Superior Court Judge Thomas Bishop ruled that O’Rourke had immunity for statements made during the testimonies. “My client did the right thing: she cooperated with the state in its action to remove (Preston) as a (prosecutor) because of what he did to her,” Smith said. O’Rourke “felt he shouldn’t be in a position of public trust.” According to Smith, Preston, 51, is now appealing the case. But his legal actions have not stopped there. Recently losing his bid for an appeal in an arbitration award case, Preston was further rebuffed on November 28 when Appellate Judge Barry Schaller upheld the trial court’s ruling that the state had just cause for firing Preston after he was arrested. “He is still weighing the possibility of whether or not to file an appeal with the state supreme court,” said his attorney in the arbitration appeal, Stephen Courtney of Hamden, Conn.’s Gesmonde, Pietrosimone Sgrignari & Pinkus. “No decision has been made.” The very idea that Preston might appeal the case drew criticism from his legal peers. “It is outrageous,” said Shipman & Goodwin’s Saranne Murray, who represented the Connecticut Division of Criminal Justice during the arbitration suit. “He is more than pushing the envelope.” Preston, who still has a license to practice law and now works as a mental retardation worker with the state, called any allegations toward “stalking the system” crazy. “It is a defense that is completely unfair,” Preston said. “It’s ridiculous. Anytime anyone has a suit that is justified, they can be called a stalker?” Murray said, in 20 years of working with grievance arbitration cases, she has never seen a witness — in this case, O’Rourke — sued by the other party. Preston also allegedly stalked Boyles — once a clerk in the same office where Preston was a prosecutor — by videotaping her daily routines outside her window. He lost that case as a defendant when Boyles was awarded in excess of $100,000 in damages for intentional negligence and emotional distress last year. Boyles’ attorney, Monika Escoriaza, with Garrison, Phelan, Levin-Epstein, Chimes & Richardson, just learned that Preston was also appealing that case. “I would imagine he (Preston) just believes he is right and all these other people are wrong,” Escoriaza said. In March, Preston, who has represented himself in most of the cases, lost a fourth litigation judgment during a federal case before Judge Dominic Squatrito in U.S. District Court. Proceeding against defendants, Chief State’s Attorney Jack Bailey, and prosecutors James Thomas, Mark Solak, and Paul Slyman, Preston claimed that his due process rights were violated because he was suspended from his prosecutor job without pay and without a hearing. According to the attorney general’s office, the statue of limitations for appealing that case has run out. “He’s disrupted a lot of people’s lives,” Executive Assistant State’s Attorney Jack Cronan said.

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