Kavanagh countersues Lesinski

‘He said, she said’ court filings

By Patty Hardee

Special to Rappahannock News

Washington resident Edmund P. Kavanagh has filed a countersuit against his onetime close friend and neighbor Heidi Lesinski, charging her with two counts of civil battery.

This is the latest round in a dispute that began last February, when Kavanagh, 84, filed a criminal complaint with the Rappahannock County Sheriff’s Office accusing Lesinski of punching him “on or about Feb. 20” while at her residence. He then asked that a no-trespass order be served on Lesinski, a local real estate agent who handled Kavanagh’s financial affairs.

A two-and-a-half hour bench trial in Rappahannock County District Court in May resulted in Lesinski, 50, being found not guilty. Judge J. Gregory Ashwell ruled that inconsistencies in witness testimony created enough reasonable doubt as to the actual circumstances surrounding the charge.

On Oct. 2, Lesinski, the wife of Hampton district supervisor John Lesinski, filed a suit against Kavanagh, claiming malicious prosecution and defamation. She is asking for $200,000 in legal expenses and punitive damages. Kavanagh, in his suit filed Oct. 25, is asking for the identical amount. So far, a court date has not been set.

The two filings agree on certain details — that Lesinski and her husband and Kavanagh were close friends. And both documents describe an incident in February in which Lesinski and Kavanagh had a disagreement that ultimately severed their relationship.

At the May trial, Kavanagh, a retired jewelry designer, testified that he had known the Lesinskis for many years and that they had had a good relationship. The couple had even taken him on vacation with them to Maine on several occasions and to spend a week with Heidi Lesinski’s mother in South Dakota.

While his wife was ill before her death, Kavanagh said, Lesinski “proposed taking over handling my expenses and other matters to give me a break. I thought it was wonderful.”

Eventually, “she had control of everything,” he said, including his will, bank accounts, and medical directive, and she had power of attorney to conduct his affairs. They would meet periodically to go over his accounts and pay his bills.

In February, during this process, they had a falling out over sending money to Kavanagh’s incarcerated son through the son’s girlfriend. In her testimony, Lesinski described being upset with the arrangement because “I was afraid for Edmund’s property and my own.” The son had once broken into his father’s house and stolen jewelry worth thousands of dollars and was now in jail for alleged kidnapping.

Lesinski testified that she repeatedly asked Kavanagh to leave her house and that she told him she was severing the relationship. She denied assaulting him.

From there, the two tell differing stories, creating a “he said, she said” scenario, for the two were alone together when the alleged assault occurred.

Most notable in Kavanagh’s filing is his claim that Lesinski assaulted him twice — once in early January and again in February. The alleged January assault was not mentioned in the May trial, when Kavanagh seemed confused about the actual date of the February incident.

About Patty Hardee 277 Articles
Writer, consultant, actor, director, recovering stand-up comic, Patty covers the county’s courts and other topics of interest for Rappahannock News. She lives with her grape-growing husband Bill Freitag in Flint Hill.