A Clatsop County Circuit Court judge today denied a stalking petition against the couple that accused the former director of the Commercial Fishermen’s Festival of embezzlement.

Judge Cindee Matyas said she found no immediate merit to the stalking order, filed by Ronald Williams against Elizabeth and Martin McMaster, board members of the festival.

The McMasters have accused Williams of stealing more than $11,000 worth of money and memorabilia from the Commercial Fishermen’s Festival, for which Williams had been the director until last fall.

They have their own stalking order against Williams, who they say made threats against them.

Williams, who maintains his innocence in the theft case, denies that he’s ever made threats against the McMasters. He said they have threatened him, and they continue to provoke him by using social media websites to smear his name.

“This is a very costly, very scary ordeal I’m going through right now,” Williams told the court, adding that he doesn’t sleep at night.

He said he’s spe nt about $8,500 on court fees and attorneys so far and now fears for his safety.

Matyas said there was not enough evidence for the stalking petition because postings on social media websites are protected speech. She said the stalking matter could be addressed at a later date, however.

After the hearing, Williams said he did not believe the festival would survive the aftermath of an inevitable trial.

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