Priscilla Protasowicki

Priscilla Protasowicki

OSSIPEE — Documents filed in Carroll County Superior Court shed more light on the civil and criminal case against the Jackson innkeeper who is accused of assaulting two patrons over their Islamic faith and perceived nationality.

Meanwhile the innkeeper is threatening to sue the town to remove its police chief.

The woman, an innkeeper for her parents' lodging establishment on Route 16 in Jackson, said the allegations are unfounded and that she was merely ejecting unruly guests who were harassing her.

The grand jury indicted Priscilla Protasowicki, 32, of Jackson on July 20 of allegedly assaulting two people. Named as victims in the indictment are Mohamed Ghallami and Chahrazade Mounaji who are from Massachusetts and were with their 8-year-old daughter.

The indictments say Protasowicki pushed the patrons with her hands and that "the defendant was substantially motivated to commit the crime because of hostility towards the victim's religion, race, creed or national origin."

The alleged crimes happened on April 20.

Protasowicki also is facing a New Hampshire Civil Rights Act action that was initiated by the Attorney General's office. The maximum civil penalty for a violation of the act is a $5,000 fine. She may also be ordered to pay restitution.

The Sun received a press release  from the New Hampshire Attorney General and the Carroll County Attorney's Office on Tuesday, shortly before deadline, along with the criminal indictments. On Wednesday, the Sun went to the Carroll County Superior Court to review the civil and criminal case files.

Much more detail was found in the civil case.

"Here, the defendant violated the Act when she pushed and shoved Mounjai and Ghallami in and effort to remove them from the Covered Bridge Lodge because — in her own words 'You're a Muslim. You are not supposed to be here," wrote Assistant Attorney General Elizabeth Lahey."In response to this the State asks this Court to impose civil penalties against the defendant as well as to enjoin her from further violating the civil rights of the State's residents and guests."

The couple had planned to stay at the lodge for a fourth  night of a vacation. The previous three nights were spent at a hotel in Conway.

"They quickly noticed that the property did not resemble the property displayed online," said Lahey. "The couple's daughter also did not like that the property was a motel rather than a hotel, and did not want to stay there."

The family also reported that the lobby "smelled and was very dusty."

They asked for a refund but were offered a voucher rather than a refund.

"The defendant then looked at Mounaji and commented on her hijab, and said 'You're a Muslim. You are not supposed to be here.'"

Ghallami objected to the way his family was being treated.

"The defendant then jumped out from behind the desk, grabbed Ghallami by the forearm, and pushed him toward the exit," Lahey. "Ghallami kept his hands straight up in the air, so it was clear he was not pushing the defendant back. Mounaji started to record the incident on her phone."

The civil complaint says Protasowicki also pushed and shoved Mounaji all the while telling them they shouldn't be here."

The couple called police and Protasowicki was arrested. She allegedly asked officers if the couple was here legally. She also complained to the New Hampshire Attorney General's Office about Jackson Police.

"Recently, he had me arrested again for simple assault, after I legally defended myself against a couple of Arabian terrorists who came onto my property causing chaos," Protasowicki's complaint read in part.

Protasowicki told the Sun that she was merely defending her family's property from trespassers who were harassing her.

Ghallami, in an affidavit, said he has been in the United States for 25 years and this is the first time anyone made him feel unwelcome. He said that she accused them of killing children because she thought they were Middle Eastern.

Mounaji said their daughter has had nightmares because of the incident.

Mounaji said Protasowicki's brother, Derek Protasowicki, was "nice" to them.

On Wednesday, Priscilla Protasowicki sent the Sun a letter that she had sent to an investigator with the Attorney General's Office. At the beginning of the letter she said she would file a civil suit against Jackson selectmen because of the treatment she received from Police Chief Chris Perley.

"Last year, I was brutally assaulted by a guest, and Mr. Perley called it 'mutual combat' even though Officer Ryan McDonald (c)alled me, 'the Victim.' I never fought back and caught it all on camera," said Protasowicki. "Mr. Chief Perley continues to be a major problem and threat to our community, due to his unprofessionalism.”

"This last month, a couple of Arabs came to our inn and began terrorizing me. Many Arabs have stayed at our inn with no problem, but these people came here with a problem. They had to be escorted out of the hotel lobby, but instead of the Jackson Police charging them accordingly, they had me arrested for simple assault."

The Council on American Islamic Relations, on Wednesday, issued a statement saying they "welcome" the Attorney General's decision to pursue actions under the Civil Rights Act.

“These types of alleged hate crimes are part of a disturbing trend nationwide and are violations of civil rights that must be afforded to all Americans, regardless of faith or background,” CAIR National Communications Manager Naaz Modan.

A review of Priscilla Protasowicki's criminal record at Conway's circuit court reveals that she was convicted of assaulting a man at the Lodge in 2011.

Numerous other charges of a similar nature had been placed on file without finding.  That includes 11 criminal complaints that she spat on a Bartlett Police officer's face 11 times. Those complaints were put on file without finding pending an agreement.

This article was amended to fix a typo that created a misquote of Protasowicki. She called Perley  unprofessional not professional. 

Recommended for you

(3) comments

NH

Sorry but this was not a 'hate' crime. She was merely ejecting unruly patrons from her business which is her right. She already said she had housed many other Muslims with no problem. These were just people with unacceptable behavior.

On the other hand, the guy who yanked the scarf from a woman's head for no reason was committing a hate crime.

tanstaafl

well, i see that my comment didn't make it into the discussion, so i'll make it short this time (although this one probably won't make it through, either, given that the number of comments so far makes the site monitor's job so much easier).

ms. protasowicki may have ejected people in the past, possibly even causing unhappy customers to call the police (or was it the other way around? i didn't see that mentioned so far, in *anybody's* story), who then arrested her for being too aggressive, but i seriously doubt that this rises to the level of a "hate crime," which is but a poorly-defined cudgel in the arsenal of the State to allow it to arbitrarily put the squeeze on people for whom it does not care. a shoving match does not warrant five years in prison, and every property owner should be able to protect his property. the stated policy of the motel is that there are no refunds, and the customer is responsible for knowing that. the police *should* have served as arbiters of a commercial dispute, encouraged the dissatisfied customers to take the proffered voucher, and leave the premises. it was mr. ghallami and ms. mounaji who have escalated the charge, and thus demonstrated that they have no intention of making *any* attempt to resolve the dispute. i understand that they might have been disappointed, but having been in the exact same situation (i needed sleep and stopped at the only motel around, which smelled like a locker room and had lots of shady-looking characters standing around; i left after an hour of disturbed sleep and let the proprietor keep the money), i can assure U that the customer has to take his lumps and forget it. some people just don't want to do that.

dicktilton

Misrepresentation of a product or service is actionable. In this case, there were alleged to be numerous such misrepresentations by the establishment. A voucher was offered. A voucher for what? A night at a place that didn't live up to its advertisements? What's second prize? Two nights? Regarding their "No refunds" policy: That's null and void if the place was falsely represented. The dissatisfied customers simply expressed their dissatisfaction, especially after no reasonable solution was offered. They were supposed to just leave and keep quiet after the bigoted comments by the innkeeper??! And: your comment that "(sometimes)..the customer has to take his lumps and forget it." is ludicrous. The valley is a tourist destination, with a lot of lodging establishments. They'd be out of business if they had your approach to the hospitality industry. Finally: Hate Crimes: Even the people you apparently don't like very much are entitled to go about their lives without having racial epithets hurled at them. That's why the law against the actions of people like ms.Protasowicki was written.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.