A mother who said several LGBT flags were planted at her home at the request of a school PTA president last May has lost her motion to dismiss a restraining order filed against her.
The Murray, Utah PTA president, Jennifer Auwerda, filed a temporary civil stalking injunction against the Utah mother, April Despain, in July 2023.
Before the flag ordeal, Despain previously told The Lion that she and her husband repeatedly told Auwerda to leave her family alone as the two went back and forth online over gender ideology in schools.
Despain maintains she never visited or sent or sent anything to the home of Auwerda, which might warrant an restraining order.
“For a judge to grant a stalking injunction, Utah’s stalking code includes, ‘delivered an object to property owned… by you, with intent that the object be delivered to you,’” Despain told The Lion, pointing out that it was Auwerda’s actions, not hers, that appear to be addressed by stalking laws. “The PTA president of Murray School District, UT, sent 7 Pride flags to my home address and listed my name as the recipient of these flags.”
Despain then filed to get the restraining order dismissed.
Nicole Solas, an online parental rights activist who has been in communication with Despain, recently took to X to say her private text messages to Despain were “submitted as evidence of ‘stalking’ in supplemental documentation opposing Despain’s Second Motion to Dismiss.”
Solas also provided the court documents with the text messages to The Lion, including supplemental documents submitted by Auwerda’s legal team against Despain.
“[Despain’s] conduct amounted to a personal vendetta against [Auwerda] for Petitioner’s support of the LGBTIQA+ community, with the goal of inciting Respondent’s followers to threaten and intimidate Petitioner,” one document claimed.
“For example, as demonstrated by the following text excerpts over several months, Respondent coordinated with an individual named Nicole Solas to systematically bully, harass, and threaten Petitioner and spread her information online to Respondent’s followers,” it continued.
In addition to Solas’ text messages and tweet, the document also argued Despain was somehow dishonest by publicizing a virtual link to the court hearing.
“It appears [Despain] feigned the desire to appear virtually [in court] in order to obtain a link to then share and spread on social media,” the document says. “As Petitioner argued in her supplemental briefing on the Motion, Respondent’s conduct confirms that this case is not about the First Amendment at all. Rather, it is about Respondent increasing her followership and obtaining public recognition by mocking, harassing, and stalking Petitioner.”
Solas told The Lion she disagrees with the reasoning, even though Despain lost her motion to dismiss.
“If a court is giving you a link to a public hearing, are you supposed to keep it a secret?” she asked, continuing, “as if merely tweeting a link to your own hearing about a stalking injunction is somehow like a violation of stalking.”
Auwerda’s attorneys also denied she was part of the PTA, Solas said. Auwerda, however, received a school PTA’s volunteer of the year for the 2022-2023 school year.