The “Nightmare” Neil Shelton Has Lived for Three Years and Is Still Living: A Father’s Story of Restraining Order Abuse

Posted on April 24, 2015


The following account is reported by North Carolinian Neil Shelton, a father denied access to his son and daughter for “three years now and counting.”

In his account, Mr. Shelton alleges that his sister, in collusion with his ex-wife, lied to have him involuntarily committed, and that one or more partners in the law firm of his ex-wife’s attorney fabricated evidence to have him incarcerated. He alleges, in short, some very dirty divorce tactics.

Mr. Shelton’s allegations are abhorrent yet all too believable. Significantly, none of the criminal allegations introduced against him have held up in court.

Because, however, its author has no means of corroborating Mr. Shelton’s allegations of fraud, it is not the position of this blog that Mr. Shelton’s sister lied to the court or that either the attorney in question or his associates engaged in forgery. The blog author’s investigative wherewithal is limited, and he has no way of determining the allegations’ accuracy. Rebuttal responses from the accused are accordingly welcomed.

Neil’s story, then, as he tells it:

I am the victim of false allegations and restraining order abuse resulting from my divorce.

I’ve been wrongfully incarcerated for almost a year and falsely arrested numerous times for nothing I’ve done. To get a better idea, look at my page on Facebook, Growing UP Mayberry, and that will give you most of the full story. For this website, I want to share the restraining order abuse, as well as the ex parte abuse, and several things resulting from the restraining order and false allegations.

On May 29, 2012, which was shortly after I was kicked out of my house by my now ex-wife, I was arrested three times in one day.

This was the start of a campaign by my ex-wife’s divorce attorney, who is also my state representative, Sarah Stevens of Surry County and Mayberry (Mt. Airy), North Carolina. Yes, Mayberry, home of Andy Griffith and the inspiration for The Andy Griffith Show. My only reason for pointing that out is that no matter where you live, you are not immune to this unnecessary attack and, ultimately, bullying.

My ex-wife had my sister, Joan Shelton Phillips, a family nurse practitioner and my primary care physician, lie on two Involuntary Commitment forms saying I was bipolar, refused medication, and was riding around in a limousine threatening myself and others. At the top of the commitment papers, it says clearly: “wife wants husband committed.” The interviewing physicians were able to get my medical records, which showed I had never been seen or medicated for bipolar disorder. After some questioning, I was released from the first commitment attempt.

The Surry County Sheriff’s Dept. had arrested me at 10 a.m. the first time. I was released at 2:30 p.m. and rearrested by the MAPD at 3 p.m. for the second commitment attempt. When I arrived back at the hospital, the head physician asked, “What the hell are you doing back? I just released you!” Again, after a shorter session with the doctors, my ex-wife was made aware they were going to release me. On the commitment forms, the doctor even wrote that the one needing commitment was my soon-to-be ex-wife, not me.

When my now ex-wife was made aware of my impending release, she took her sister-in-law, who was the director of Surry’s Stop Child Abuse Now (SCAN), and they went to the Surry County Sheriff’s Dept. and had me charged with criminal trespassing.

I went straight from the hospital into police custody. Even though I was charged with criminal trespassing, my now ex-wife would later admit that I’d never been physically violent toward her. Using the criminal trespassing charge, of which I would later be found not guilty, my soon-to-be ex-wife was able to get a restraining order against me. Because I was never physically violent toward her, her divorce lawyer got creative. I had called my ex-wife a bitch and said, “You are not going to keep me from my kids.” This was used as the reason for the restraining order. Three years later, I’m still subject to the same restraining order.

The first day I met the divorce lawyer, Sarah Stevens, she asked to talk with me out in the hallway before the trial, saying maybe we could reach an agreement before being heard. I turned on my audio recorder and placed it in my shirt pocket, and proceeded to go speak with her. Once in the hallway, she said: “Now two things can happen today. One, you can be found guilty, which I promise you will be, and leave here with a restraining order against you from not only your ex-wife but your kids. Two, you can take a $5,000 settlement with no child support and agree to supervised visitation with your children, and the restraining order will disappear.”

I told her my children were not mentioned on the restraining order, and all I did was call my wife a bitch and tell her she wasn’t going to keep my kids from me, and that’s not domestic violence. She said yes your kids are mentioned in it, at which point I said then if you believe that, you need to go back to law school, because I haven’t been and know better than that.

“I’m dangerous broke, as y’all have shut down all my businesses, but I’m not dangerous with $5,000 and no restraining order against me?” With that, I told her I was finished. She said, “Yes, you are,” and we proceeded into the courtroom. I called her a few choice words, and her reply was, “Boy, am I gonna have fun playing with you.”

This is the nightmare I’ve lived for three years and am still living. I was arrested every time I turned down a settlement offer for an alleged restraining order violation. I began trashing Sarah Stevens on Facebook by posting what she was doing to me in court. I got warned to shut up and stop, but I didn’t and, again, everything I was doing was legal.

A total of five restraining order violations were alleged, leading up to a sixth, before they got tired of my winning in court without representation and got tired, also, of my political Facebook posts, and did something borderline genius, instead…only they executed it wrong.

They sat down with Zach Brintle, Stevens’s law partner, and penned a letter posing as me. In it, “I” threatened to kill all the lawyers, including him and his law partner/aunt, Sarah Stevens. It also threatened that all the district attorneys, the police, my entire family, and others would be killed, and ended, “Boston is nothing compared to what I’m planning.” This letter was purportedly mailed to my now ex-wife, and I was arrested for making terroristic threats.

During my almost yearlong incarceration, I was found not guilty on all counts of violating the restraining order, but I lost everything in my divorce. That’s because I was only allowed to work on my criminal trial while in jail, and my incarceration just happened to end two days after the deadline to appeal my divorce decree passed, and the decree gave my now ex-wife everything. The incarceration continued, because the district attorney claimed the FBI was doing an analysis of the letter. But after I was released, the FBI told me it had never received this letter for analysis. When I took the letter to my own handwriting expert, he concluded it was 98% likely that Brintle, not I, wrote it.

Upon my release, I showed the judge the two failed commitment attempts, the six not-guilty verdicts for allegedly violating the restraining order, the dismissal of the letter charges, the phone number of the FBI agent who told me the FBI had never been involved and had never investigated the letter—which supposed investigation the other side had used to hold me in jail—and the handwriting analysis proving the lawyer, Zach Brintle, wrote the letter. But the judge still extended the restraining order for yet another year.

I met Michael Volpe, the author of the upcoming book Bullied to Death: The Chris Mackney Story, who told me that these tactics are quite common in family court. I also met Raquel Okyay, who knows a lot and has helped raise my awareness that there are others going through this, too. She has also helped me tremendously in getting my story out.

My story is bizarre and extreme, but there are a many with stories like mine out there. I have not been allowed to see or speak with my children for three years now and counting. I’m sure I’ve left some things out, but there’s not enough room to tell my tale in this forum.

Since you’re reading this, chances are you’ve either experienced the same or are experiencing it, as most people don’t care until it happens to them. Honestly, I didn’t either, but that has changed. When reading this and all articles like it, remember you are not alone.


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