Inside Your Town

Blogger files defamation suit against woman who sought restraining order

EASTON, Pa. - Lehigh Valley blogger Bernie O'Hare is making good on a promise to sue a woman who sought a restraining order against him last week.

O'Hare filed a defamation suit against Tricia Mezzacappa, of West Easton, in Northampton County Court on Monday afternoon. He is seeking more than $50,000 in damages.

Last Wednesday, Mezzacappa filed a petition for a temporary restraining order against O'Hare, and requested protection from stalking and cyber-stalking.

Mezzacappa's lawyer, Lawrence Otter, has unsuccessfully sued O'Hare on matters relating to last May's referendum on Gracedale, the county nursing home.

In Mezzacappa's request, she claimed O'Hare sexually assaulted her in her home last Aug. 26; tried to use his blog, Lehigh Valley Ramblings, to ruin her reputation as a professional nurse and politician;  regularly accosted her while she was walking in Hugh Moore Park; tried to poison her pet pot-bellied pig, and told police that O'Hare may have been involved in a burglary at her home last Nov. 10.

The next day, a judge refused the restraining order, in part because her request did not follow proper procedure.

Last Wednesday, O'Hare told 69 News that Mezzacappa's legal action was "a preemptive strike" against a suit he was planning, and labeled her accusations "fabricated nonsense."

In the suit he filed Monday afternoon, O'Hare used Mezzacappa's accusations as proof that she has a "reckless disregard for the truth" and that she is acting "from malice."

O'Hare's suit also cited other accusations that Mezzacappa allegedly made against him in two blogs, Saving Private Gracedale and West Easton Foot Print.

O'Hare said Mezzacappa has also repeatedly created the suggestion that he is a pedophile and that he, along with former Northampton County Council President Ron Angle, is shielding income from the IRS.

The latter accusation, according to the suit, has made advertisers unwilling to buy space on his blog and prevented him and Angle from expanding their businesses.

O'Hare said in his suit that he and Mezzacappa started feuding last August after he published information about the then-president of West Easton Borough Council. Mezzacappa wanted him to "leave it alone," according to the suit.

O'Hare said he met Mezzacappa five months before at a Northampton County Council meeting and that they became friends who had coffee and walked together.

According to O'Hare's suit, he was at Mezzacappa's home on the day she claimed he sexually assaulted her, but denied the accusation. An email O'Hare said was sent to him by Mezzacappa thanking him for "a very nice day" is part of the suit.

O'Hare also said he filed a right to know request with Easton police after he learned Mezzacappa was making the assault claim, but found she had filed no complaint.

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