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Woman Says Protective Order Doesn't Guard Her Against Ex-Boyfriend

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RALEIGH, N.C. — One Raleigh woman said that her ex-boyfriend has racked up five arrests in six months for violating an order of protection. The alleged victim has continually looked for help, but police say their hands are tied.

Lisa Townes, 36, filed a protective order against her ex-boyfriend, 35-year-old Maurice Alston, but he has repeatedly violated the order. She said she carries mace everwhere she goes, but she is running out of options to protect herself.

"When I go to the car, I take (the mace) out of the case and keep it ready to shoot," said Townes.

Townes got a protective order against Alston after they broke up in January. She claims he's been harassing her with calls and e-mails ever since. Records show Alston has been arrested five times for violating the order to stay away.

"I've watched him go to jail, get out and within an hour of them telling him, 'Do not contact this woman.' He does it anyway," said Townes.

Townes said the system is letting her down, but those who run the system says there is only so much they can do.

"A protective order is just a piece of paper, sometimes the public forgets that," said Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison.

Harrison said his hands are tied by the law. If a person violates the order, they are arrested. Then, it is up to the courts.

Once the case gets to court, there is also a limited amount that can be done. The maximum sentence a person can get is 150 days in jail, but that's only if the person has five prior convictions.

For Townes, that's just not good enough.

"I don't want to hear anybody say it's going to be OK or move out of the state," she said. "I need somebody to help me now."

Alston was arrested Monday on a probation violation. He was on probation for violating the protective order. He was released the following day on bond.


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