CONCORD — A Jackson innkeeper who has been charged under the New Hampshire Civil Rights Act is being fined $10,000 for an incident involving a couple she thought to be Muslim.
Attorney General Gordon J. MacDonald announced on Friday that an agreement had been reached with Priscilla Protasowicki, who was charged in 2018 with violating the New Hampshire Civil Rights Act stemming from an incident at the Covered Bridge Riverview Lodge.
On April 20, 2018, Jackson police allege Protasowicki assaulted Mohamed Ghallami and Chahrazade Mounaji, believing they were Muslims and from the Middle East.
Because Protasowicki was accused of being racially motivated in her actions, the simple assault charge carried an enhanced penalty that could have sent her to state prison for two to five years.
But that won’t happen. Instead, Protasowicki has been “permanently enjoined from having further contact with the two victims and their families, and from engaging in or threatening physical force or violence, damage to property, or trespass on property against any person motivated by race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, sexual orientation, gender, or disability.”
Violating the injunction would be a misdemeanor, MacDonald’s statement said.
Protasowicki also was fined $10,000, $7,500 of which was suspended for one year pending compliance with the injunction. She also must pay unspecified restitution to the victims.
According to the criminal charges filed against Protasowicki, the incident began with an argument sparked when the couple decided not to stay at the lodge and then were refused a refund.
Protasowicki not only made physical contact with them, Jackson police alleged, but also made remarks, including that as Muslims, “you’re not supposed to be here.” She also allegedly told Ghallami and Mounaji that “Muslims kill children.”
Assistant Attorney General Elizabeth Leahy, who prosecuted the case, said earlier that the innkeeper’s actions made Ghallami and Mounaji “feel that they don’t belong, that they’re outsiders” in the United States, their home for more than two decades.
According to Leahy, the couple was originally from Morocco, which is in northern Africa, not the Middle East.
On Dec. 21, 2018, Judge Amy Ignatius, sitting in Caroll County Superior Court, granted the state’s request for a preliminary injunction against Protasowicki “to prevent further violations of the Civil Rights Act.”
In response, Protasowicki filed a motion for reconsideration, but Ignatius, in a Feb. 13 order, denied it, saying the court had not misapplied or misunderstood the applicable law.
Scheduled for a bench trial on July 8, Protasowicki and the state agreed to continue the case because the victims were going to be out of the country from June until the end of August, and also because a state investigator had a scheduling conflict with another trial.
Inn to be auctioned
Earlier this week, an advertisement in the Conway Daily Sun announced that the Covered Bridge Riverview Lodge on Route 16 in Jackson, owned by Protasowicki’s parents — Alexander and Halina Protasowicki — would be auctioned at a foreclosure sale.
Purchased in July 2002 and financed by the former Berlin City Bank, now known as Northway Bank, the Lodge was being operated by Protasowicki at the time of the incident, according to testimony she gave in court.
At 1 p.m. on Aug. 13, the Lodge is being sold “as is, where is” to the highest bidder “without any express or implied warranties of any kind.”
The sale is being conducted by James R. St. Jean Auctioneers.