Transylvania County Courthouse in Brevard.

A North Carolina legislator committed domestic violence against his estranged wife, a judge found Tuesday during a civil proceeding, awarding her a yearlong domestic violence protection order.

After a Tuesday court hearing lasting several hours at the Transylvania County courthouse in Brevard, Judge Fritz Mercer ruled in favor of Kelsey Henson, wife of state Rep. Cody Henson, R-Transylvania.

Kelsey Henson said she is relieved with the outcome of the hearing, during which she presented copies of harassing text messages and records of phone calls between her and Cody Henson as evidence.

“After multiple, multiple, multiple times, I asked him to stop,” she told Carolina Public Press after the hearing.

“He continued and refused to have any regard for my boundaries or well-being.”

Kelsey Henson’s attorney, Ben Scales, noted after the ruling that the judge was convinced the lawmaker had acted inappropriately.

“The judge said from the bench, it’s clear that (Rep. Henson) just refused to give up on the relationship despite the fact that she told him repeatedly that she didn’t want to get back together with him,’” Scales said.

The order of protection requires the legislator to refrain from domestic violence. However, domestic violence is already illegal, and Henson is already under investigation for related criminal allegations.

The Transylvania County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a complaint involving the legislator, Sheriff David Mahoney told CPP earlier this month. Sheriff’s Office records indicate that this is a cyberstalking complaint from Kelsey Henson.

State statute says repeated messages intended to abuse, threaten, terrify, harass or embarrass a person are considered cyberstalking, which is a misdemeanor.

“Some people don’t think that’s abuse, or that it’s domestic violence,” Kelsey Henson said of repeated texts and phone calls. “But it is mental abuse, and that’s what the judge stated.”

CPP attempted to reach Rep. Henson for his comment on how this ruling and the ongoing sheriff’s investigation may affect his political career but did not hear back from the lawmaker before deadline.

“Now that we have this order, I’m not going to be tormented on a daily basis,” Kelsey Henson said. “I can continue being a good mother and put this craziness behind me.”

While granting the order, Judge Mercer had the option of requiring Rep. Henson to give up firearms while the order is in effect. The judge chose not to do this in Henson’s case. During one of several phone calls Kesley Henson made to 911 about issues with Rep. Henson, she told responders that he did have access to guns.

Rep. Henson is currently serving his second term representing Transylvania and Polk counties, as well as the southern portion of Henderson County, in the N.C. House of Representatives.

Previous articles related this case

Domestic violence in spotlight during forum on lawmaker’s home turf (Feb. 19, 2019), link

Deputies investigate cyberstalking complaint involving NC lawmaker (Feb. 12, 2019), link

NC legislator served with domestic violence order of protection (Feb. 7, 2019), link

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