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Appeals court: Woman abused process in sex offender fight (UPDATE)

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A state appeals court says a Grafton woman abused the legal process when she filed a complaint against a sex offender’s family.

Barbara Patterson put up fliers in 2009 announcing her neighbor, Wanda Keller, had decided to let her sex offender son move in. The Keller family began receiving prank phone calls and drivers started gawking at their house.

After the family warned Patterson they planned to sue her, Patterson filed a complaint alleging family members threatened her.

The family filed a lawsuit alleging invasion of privacy, defamation and abuse of process.

A judge dismissed all three claims, but the 2nd District Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday that the facts in the case could lead a judge or jury to conclude that Patterson abused the process, and the appeals court therefore reversed judgment in favor of Patterson on that claim and sent it back to the trial court.

Patterson’s attorney didn’t immediately return a message.

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