The U.S. court system is a train wreck of contradictions between legal and moral guidelines. The twisted, damaging nature of it can be readily seen in the way the family court system and the criminal court system get abused by women fighting for child custody, as in the case of my friend *”Rodger’s” ordeal at the hands of his ex-wife, a domestic violence victim’s advocacy group, police, and Ohio’s Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) led court system.
The issues began shortly after Rodger’s marriage to his current wife, Bridget. Weeks after the wedding, Rodger was awarded protective custody of their preschool age daughter, Angie. Custody was given to him in light of repeated acts of negligence by his ex-wife, Amy, the violent environment in her home, and an act of abuse by her boyfriend Derrick. There were multiple incidents, including drug-related neglect that was witnessed, but not reported on, by police. Rodger’s attempts to resolve the issue were ignored. Child Protective Services (CPS) wouldn’t even help him, until one night when Derrick beat Angie (leaving bruises on her face) and then called Rodger to come get her. Derrick was never prosecuted for his actions, because the same department which failed to report Amy’s neglect to CPS also failed to properly document their case.
This time, however, there was a report to CPS. Case workers ordered Rodger to keep Angie with him instead of sending her back to Amy’s house, pending a custody hearing. Rodger’s wife Bridget took photos of the bruising, which were later used as evidence in family court. The court confirmed the CPS decision to place Angie with Rodger. The ruling gave him full custody, and ordered that Amy’s visits be supervised. She was given the chance to earn at-home visitation, with the possibility for eventual shared parenting (joint custody) if she met the state’s conditions. Among the conditions were the stipulations that she pay child support, that the drug use must end, that Derrick (who she had accused of also beating her, as part of her defense) must be banished from the house, and that she was not to take Angie near him again. That the last stipulation, also part of the original custody judgment ignored by Amy, was one of the judge’s stated reasons for ordering supervised visitation.
It seemed like a victory. Custody won, child protected, and the ex-wife ordered, essentially, to grow up and take some responsibility. The family went home, and everything went back to normal.
Things didn’t stay that way for long.
From the start, there was trouble with the visitation center. Amy convinced everyone there, including the local police who are there to protect the children using the center, that Rodger was abusive, had wrongfully stolen the child from Amy, and was using withholding of visits to harass and abuse her. As a result, the center’s staff was biased, and they bent or even broke rules for Amy on promptness, gift-giving, and bringing up Derrick’s name and offering photos of him during visits with Angie in an effort to engage the child in a continuing parent-child type relationship with him. That was inconvenient and annoying, but had it been the only problem Rodger faced, I wouldn’t be writing this article.
Amy also began making false allegations against Rodger in the hope of getting him incarcerated so that she could regain custody of Angie.
She started with a claim that there were cult activities occurring in Rodger and Bridget’s home, an accusation that sent police to question Rodger about his tattoos, his religion, and his pastimes. She had told them that he was a drug addict, that he was harassing her, that he was dangerous and violent. Primed to view negatively anything they saw, officers questioned him extensively over everything, paying particular attention to one tattoo, a lovable but strange-looking Disney character who they mistook for a demon.
Rodger explained all of his tattoos, showed police his medicines for asthma and diabetes, talked about his divorce and how he ended up with custody of his daughter, and pointed out that it was Amy who was subject to supervised visitation due to conditions in her home. She was guilty of most of the accusations she’d made against him.
Despite a complete lack of evidence for any of Amy’s accusations, the visit ended with police offering Rodger a “friendly” warning to refrain from abusing or neglecting his child, abusing Amy, or involving himself in cult activity.
Despite her claims of abuse during the custody hearing, Amy married Derrick, making him a full-time member of her household. She refused to pay any of her child support, and began cancelling visits with Angie at the state-provided visitation center, then demanding that Rodger provide make-up visits during his and his representatives’ scheduled work days, when he and they were unavailable to do so. She also continued to assail him with false allegations.
When police came to Rodger’s house again, this time with accusations of assault, those of us who knew the family figured out that this was a tactic Amy was employing to try to regain custody of their child. Evidence would show that the accusation was false. Since she was lying, we all figured that the evidence would be all that was necessary to clear the his name and let the family move on with their lives.
We were wrong.
At the visitation center, Amy had been put in contact with a local domestic violence victim’s advocacy group. With their help, she had filed for, and received, an emergency Civil Protection Order against Rodger based on her claim. Following that, before he was even served with the order, she called police again and accused him of violating it.
Officers weren’t just there to question Rodger this time. They were there to take him into custody. He was not read his rights, but he was handcuffed and taken to police headquarters in a cruiser, where he was questioned, held for hours, then eventually released on bail pending a hearing.
Amy had made the mistake of choosing for her allegation a date and time for which Rodger could easily account. To correct this problem, she changed her story. Then, when it came time for the hearing, she failed to even show up in court. Between those issues, she destroyed her own case. Rodger was acquitted, and the emergency protection order was dropped.
The next accusation rolled out within a shortly after his acquittal, complete with another frivolous request for a protection order, and the process was repeated. At the same time, Amy began hitting Rodger with an onslaught of family court paperwork, filing motions related to their custody arrangement, her child support obligation, and demands that Rodger submit to drug and psychological testing, all the while refusing to comply with orders the court had given her in the original custody hearing.
A pattern of abuse
After these first accusations failed to get Amy what she wanted, she changed tactics. She would go to the county courthouse first, using false claims of stalking and assault to obtain another emergency Civil Protection Order. A hearing would be set for a date within 30 days to determine whether the order was merited. This hearing would carry two possibilities: either the order would be dropped, or it would be upheld. If the order was dropped, the charge of violating it would also be dropped. If upheld, it would be in effect for 5 years, and Rodger would face limitations and penalties, including the permanent loss of his legal right to keep and bear arms. Any contact he had with Amy after that, even if it was accidental, could result in his being sent to jail.
After requesting the order, Amy would wait until she was informed that the order had been served, and within a day or two, she would accuse Rodger of violating it. Each time, officers would arrive at Rodger’s home and take him into custody without reading him his rights. They informed him that they could do this because he was not under arrest – merely “going in for questioning.”
However, despite not being under arrest, he would be transported to the station in handcuffs, riding in the back of a cruiser rather than on his own. Officers would place him in a holding cell before and after questioning him. He would be held for hours. The department would not release him without bail. Officers told Rodger’s family that they were permitted to do all of this under a combination of the Patriot Act and the Violence Against Women Act, explaining that the Patriot Act allows police to detain citizens suspected of domestic terrorism, and VAWA treats domestic abuse as a form of terrorism. However, VAWA does not treat domestic abuse as a form of “domestic terrorism” as described in the Patriot Act. That assertion was an incorrect interpretation of the two laws, one which is being fed to local departments by the advocacy group from which Amy was receiving assistance, but the fact that it’s incorrect has not stopped local police departments from acting on the advocacy group’s advice when detaining area men accused of domestic violence.
Amy, her “victim assistant,” and her lawyer would then attempt to get the cart before the horse, using motions for delays to try to put off the hearing for the civil protection order to try to get the alleged violation heard first. There would be a hearing on the allegation, in which Rodger would have to prove his innocence. With help from her team, Amy was able to push most of her motions through regardless of evidence and reason, or lack thereof. At one point, she even admitted in her motion that she wanted the alleged violation heard before it was determined whether the protection order was valid because she hadn’t accused him of act that would be criminal without the protection order, and she didn’t want the charge dropped. Amy knew two things: first, that she didn’t have a legitimate case for a civil protection order, and second, that if she could find a time when Rodger didn’t have evidence against her accusation, then because the case was a domestic violence case, he’d be convicted even if she couldn’t prove his guilt.
Amy employed this pattern of attack repeatedly, using multiple police precincts in two Ohio counties as her personal battering ram against Rodger. She eventually gave up giving legitimate reasons for her protection order requests, and began obtaining them by recounting her earlier complaints as if the dismissals, acquittals, and dropped charges meant nothing. This, essentially, was the argument: “I need a protective order to keep my ex-husband away from me because I have extensively slandered him and filed a multitude of false charges against him.”
Laws, schmaws – the damsel gets a pass
Amy’s accusations were not just dismissed due to lack of proof – Rodger offered evidence contradicting her each time. Each time, he was able to prove her claims false. Twice, she accused him of physical assault at times when he was incapacitated due to documented medical conditions. In another instance, Amy had accused Rodger of making harassing phone calls to her house. Rodger could prove that he was at home during the time and date Amy gave in her complaint, and phone records proved no phone calls were made to Amy from Rodger’s home at that time. Further, Amy provided a tape of the alleged call. Upon listening to the tape and hearing stark, compelling differences between the caller’s voice and speech, and Rodger’s voice and speech, the prosecuting attorney abandoned that case, and Rodger was acquitted. The tape didn’t just fail to prove Amy’s case. It showed that once again, she was lying.
That type of revelation occurred in each of Amy’s complaints against Rodger; she repeatedly accused him when he could prove his whereabouts, made demonstrably false and often self-contradictory statements, and offered evidence that turned out to be demonstrably false.
In addition, Amy’s courtroom behavior directly contradicted her pretense of being intimidated by and fearful of Rodger. During hearings, the tall, broad-shouldered and heavyset woman sat and glared at Rodger, and interrupted testimony and even judges hearing each case, with angry shouts, screaming rants, and exaggerated, wide-flung body motions.
This, we were sure, would lead to charges against Amy, and cause the victim’s advocacy group to drop her as a client, as there was significant proof that she had lied to police during an investigation, filed a false charge, committed fraud to obtain services from a domestic violence victim’s advocate, and committed perjury during her courtroom testimony.
The advocacy group continued to support her, even after repeatedly seeing her accusations and claims proved false. We learned from this that once the group was engaged with a case, it didn’t matter to them whether the accuser was a victim or a confirmed liar: they would continue to support her, regardless. Further, these violations of the law mean nothing to the court when committed by a woman claiming domestic violence with a victim’s advocate at her back. The advocate and Amy’s lawyer successfully badgered and bullied local police and prosecutors to prevent any charges from being brought in relation to her illegal acts.
Authorities, including judges, visibly tired of Amy’s irrational, disrespectful and unruly behavior. Again and again she was verbally warned. Again, we expected a result that never happened. Though there were multiple times when she was threatened with contempt, and even once when she was ejected from the courtroom so that other witnesses could testify without being badgered or intimidated by her antics, her advocate saw to it that Amy was never actually disciplined for her behavior.
In contrast, while awaiting trial, Rodger was ordered to place himself where Amy could see him, in response to her claim that she could “feel” him staring at her from behind. At Amy’s request, court bailiffs stood over Rodger, ordering him not to face anywhere near her position in the courtroom, and threatening him with jail if he so much as moved wrong.
After each time Amy’s accusations were proved false, she simply abandoned that effort, and went on to a new allegation. When this happened, Rodger and his lawyer found themselves unopposed in court when it came time for the hearing on the emergency order of protection. The order would be thrown out, but within a few weeks or months, police would arrive at his door to deliver notice that another emergency order had been requested, and the process had begun again.
At the same time, Amy continued to drag Rodger through the legal system over custody of Angie. She filed motions protesting several of the judge’s original stipulations, asking a second judge to overrule the first. Rather than attempt to improve living conditions and her parenting as ordered, she moved for more lenient visitation, and a reduction in child support. Rodger’s lawyer brought up her refusal to follow any of the judge’s orders.
Amy offered statements from the victim’s advocate who volunteered at the visitation center, claiming that Rodger had cancelled visits. She damseled for the court, claiming that Rodger was using custody of Angie and withholding of visitation as a method of abuse. She used her history of false charges against Rodger as supporting evidence, trying to insinuate guilt by reason of repeated accusation, and associate the custody battle with that. Upon more direct questioning, the center staff had to admit that they were falsely counting Rodger’s refusal to make up visits Amy cancelled as if Rodger had cancelled them, even though he was not required to accommodate her requests. Rodger’s lawyer called Amy’s bluff, pointing out that Rodger had been acquitted of every accusation Amy had taken to trial, and that Amy herself had dropped the rest.
During this frenzy of unwarranted litigation, Amy also lost custody of her other daughter due to her neglect and unsafe conditions in her home. That child, still an infant, was placed in the custody of a member of Amy’s family. That fact was instrumental in supporting Rodger’s case against altering his custody arrangement to allow Amy more access and less supervision. Because of that situation; because Amy refused to follow judge’s orders, and following significant documentation of her neglect, she was not granted at-home visitation. However, because the domestic violence victim’s advocacy group was now supporting her case, though the order remained in place, she was not penalized for her refusal to pay child support.
Following this, she continued to file motions and briefs in an effort to regain custody and reduce her child support obligation without following the judge’s orders, and she continued to use false accusations as part of her attack.
To regain custody of her younger daughter, she accused the foster caregiver, a relative, of sexual abuse. Though the caregiver was never officially charged, much less convicted, the younger child was returned to Amy’s care. She used the exact same accusation, right down to the exact same wording, in a claim accusing Rodger’s brother of abusing Angie.
Though the accusation was disproved, Rodger had to show in court that Angie did not spend time alone with his brother in order to avoid losing custody of her. It didn’t matter that the accusation was false. The younger child’s case showed that mere allegations of sexual abuse, regardless of evidence or lack thereof, would be enough to persuade authorities to return a child to an environment and a parent previously deemed unfit.
As the case became more and more complex, and Amy continued her malicious prosecution, frivolous motions, and resistance to judge’s orders, Rodger’s lawyer decided that Amy’s actions merited civil action against her. Since Amy filed most of the paperwork herself, the lawyer filed a complaint on Rodger’s behalf, accusing Amy of vexatious litigation. At the time of filing, Rodger and Bridget had two thick loose leaf binders full of paperwork from Amy’s legal maneuvers. The complaint promptly disappeared in the system, and remained “lost” for over a year.
The wrecking ball attack
At one point, angry over being thwarted in family court, Amy went for the jugular, accusing Rodger of entering her home and raping her.
She offered absolutely no evidence to back up the accusation – no witness, no medical evidence – nothing but her own word.
This accusation was pursued by a female police detective from a larger municipality within the small metro area where we live. We don’t have Chicago’s crime rate, but the community has enough that the detective should have been experienced in handling cases of actual rape, familiar with victim behavior, and savvy enough to be suspicious when, in the course of her investigation, her “victim” couldn’t get her story straight.
After Rodger proved his alibi following the original statement, Amy claimed she’d given the wrong date. When that was debunked as well, she changed it again, along with the time… and then a third time when the second didn’t pan out.
Each time she revised her story, Rodger was again rounded up by police and taken in for questioning. At one point, he was questioned for twelve hours without food, water, or access to his medications. Adding insult to injury, police “misplaced” the emergency medical supplies which, when they took him into custody, were placed in their care in case of sudden need. No record of their receipt was recorded.
Rodger, a diabetic with moderate asthma, ended up needing emergency medical treatment following that ordeal. His impoverished family’s budget had to be stretched to replace an expensive inhaler and other medications they could not afford, because their insurance didn’t cover lost drugs. They ended up having to go to extended family for help.
Those of us around Rodger were shocked and appalled at the way the case was handled. Confused by the detective’s interest in a case that was obviously false, we asked him questions about Amy’s behavior before the divorce, looking for any possible explanation, however fantastic, that might explain why the detective was still treating Amy as a credible witness. Is it possible that she took and saved some of your hair and is using it as evidence? Is it possible that she took and saved some of your sperm, maybe from a condom?
Of course, the problem had nothing to do with evidence. Amy didn’t have evidence. The detective was following protocol laid out in the Violence Against Women act, which dictates the presumption of guilt when a woman levels a rape charge against a man, contains funding for training to teach law enforcement to act on that presumption, contains federal funding incentives for mandatory arrest and prosecution policies. Once a charge is leveled, it sets into motion a federally mandated course of action involving extensive investigation and dogged pursuit of the accused. This process does not stop easily, nor does it occur without causing damage.
Because of the VAWA guidelines, despite the local crime rate, despite the detective’s experience, and despite the obvious implications of Amy’s constant revision of her rape story, it took a complaint to the local district attorney (the county prosecutor’s office) threatening an embarrassing lawsuit against the department and the involved detective to get her to stop harassing Rodger over Amy’s false rape allegation. While the case was dropped because the accusation was demonstrably false, no charges were brought against Amy in response. Even now, Amy continues to repeat her accusation with impunity within the community and online.
A call to arms
As Amy’s accusations and court actions continued, Rodger and those of us who know him realized that each step in the system was treating him as guilty until proven innocent. Even the wildest lies Amy told were given credence, so that Rodger had to gather evidence to disprove each one. Without the ability to prove his innocence each time she lied, he was completely vulnerable. We knew that if she ever caught him at a time when he couldn’t disprove her accusation, that would be it – in court, her word as a domestic violence accuser was worth more than his even though she was a proven liar.
In order to prevent Amy from using the system to have Rodger wrongfully jailed, he was going to be able to prove his activities and whereabouts at every moment of every day. He began regularly visiting businesses we knew kept video footage of people entering and leaving their stores, keeping receipts for everything, randomly checking his account balance at ATMs when he was out – anything to have evidence of his real whereabouts, in order to counter her false claims. His friends and family rallied an effort to keep watch on him so that no matter where he went or what he did, there would be a credible witness. This meant that he had no privacy, no genuine solitude. He could not ever be completely alone, even in his own home.
I became more immediately involved in the case when I was witness to Rodger’s whereabouts at the times listed for some of Amy’s accusations. One in particular involved a day on which I was visiting not with Rodger, but with his wife Bridget. During the entire visit, I could see and hear Rodger in the next room, and I was able to attest to the fact that he did not perform the actions listed in Amy’s complaint on that day at all. On learning that I was the only witness to this alibi outside their family, I prepared to be present to testify on his behalf in the criminal case.
In this specific case, Amy was absolutely determined to have the alleged violation tried first. Rodger’s lawyer was equally determined to have the protection order tried first. The two sides played continuance tag with this case for a year, meaning that for a year, Amy had in place a 30-day emergency civil protection order against Rodger.
According to Rodger’s attorney, this tactic is one she has seen consistently and frequently employed by local women in divorce/custody cases, with the active assistance and encouragement of the agency which supported Amy. It’s actually standard for them, so often used that the attorney specializes in handling cases like this.
Each time the case in which I was a witness was rescheduled, I had to request a day off from work to go to court. This entailed writing “Della off – court hearing” on a calendar kept in my boss’s office for that purpose. During the year of continuance tag, my employer changed managers three times, ending with a manager who found several instances where my name and reason were listed, then scratched off. On finding the latest request, she asked me why I was going to court, and why my hearing kept getting cancelled.
I briefly explained the way legal harassment in which false charges were being used as a tool in a custody case, and explained that I was a direct witness to events which were central to the case. When she asked why the case continued to drag on, I explained that the false accuser had tricked the local domestic violence victim’s advocacy group into helping her. I expected my boss to say something about my needing a subpoena in order to justify the day off, or to express some disbelief in the strangeness of the case, but I was completely blindsided by her actual response.
My boss took me aside for a private, no-witnesses conversation and told me that the group in question knew what they were doing, and therefore, it was impossible for Rodger to be innocent. Knowing nothing about the case, she blatantly accused me of lying to cover for a friend, and ordered me to end my involvement in the case. When I told her she couldn’t decide that for me, she pointed out that it was up to her whether or not I received a promotion I’d been promised by a previous manager, that she knew I’d made major sacrifices for that promotion, including my ability to earn income from other sources, and that withdrawing that promotion would put my family in serious financial distress. She stated that if I defied her order to end my involvement in the case, she would withdraw the promotion.
Following that discussion, she scheduled me on the day I was supposed to appear in court. That scheduling turned out to not be a problem, as Amy once again got a continuance for the hearing on the civil protection order, and Rodger’s camp had to ask for another continuance on the case in which I was set to testify. However, my boss did follow through with her threat. Right after Rodger won several small victories in family court, my boss hauled me in to inform me that I was no longer being “considered” for the promotion, despite being halfway through my training for the position. This threw my family into a financial emergency which almost made us homeless several times throughout the year after the promotion was stopped, and kept us in a state of poverty for 4 years. I later learned that my boss was a supporting fundraiser for the domestic violence victim’s advocacy organization supporting Amy’s legal pursuit of Rodger.
Even after that specific incident was over, she continued to badger me about the case. That conflict became the defining factor in my work relationship with my boss, escalating until I eventually was able to leave for another job. Despite her attempted interference, the case – and my continued involvement in it – went on.
I know you are, but what am I
When her pattern of malicious prosecution didn’t get her what she wanted, Amy began stalking and harassing Rodger, his family, and his witnesses. Derogatory graffiti with her name in it began showing up painted on the walls in the women’s room at my workplace. Rodger’s wife began finding empty packs from Amy’s favorite brand of cigarettes in the bushes beside their house, burns in the screen door, and poisoned food and toys thrown over the fence into their back yard, presumably for the family’s pets.
Amy’s most blatant attacks were leveled against Rodger’s sister Jessica, pounding nails into the tires of her car, repeatedly trespassing on her property, vandalizing her home, and attacking her family’s pets directly. The pet attack turned out to be a step too far, and Jessica requested a civil order of protection against Amy for each member of her household. Amy denied being responsible for any of Jessica’s complaints, and argued that the request was being used by Jessica in retaliation for her complaints against Rodger. During testimony in the hearing for the protection order, Amy slipped up.
While Jessica’s daughter was testifying, Amy continued her pattern of confrontational outbursts. While Jessica’s daughter spoke about an incident involving the pets, Amy loudly denied having attacked the victimized animal, identifying it in her outburst by description. The daughter stopped, looked at the judge, and said, “If she wasn’t there, how did she know that? I didn’t say which pet I was talking about.”
Even the victim’s advocate, who accompanied Amy to the hearing in support of her argument, gave her an incredulous, shocked look, knowing she had just inadvertently admitted her crime. No charges were brought against Amy for stalking Rodger’s witnesses or her acts of cruelty to animals, but the judge granted Jessica and her daughter protective orders. He excluded the men in Jessica’s household, stating that they weren’t in any danger from Amy. On one hand, that was ridiculously discriminatory, indicating a belief that men are invulnerable to attack. On the other, it may have stemmed from the judge’s opinion that Amy is a coward who only attacks women, children, and small animals.
The first time Amy violated the orders, we learned that not all civil orders of protection are the same. Though they bear the same text, carry the same legal weight, and make the same stipulations, police don’t enforce orders against women backed by the local domestic violence victim’s advocacy group. They were willing to write up a report, but as soon as the perpetrator’s name was added to it, they informed Jessica that they couldn’t do anything to enforce the order because of Amy’s ongoing litigation against Rodger. They had already received an admonition against doing so, sent to them by Amy’s victim’s advocate. Once again, due to her damseling, Amy was given a pass.
Here, have some ammunition
During the ordeal, Rodger suffered a terrible deterioration in his health. His blood pressure skyrocketed. His diabetes and asthma symptoms worsened, and his doctor couldn’t find the answers needed to get them under control. Late in the ordeal, he was struck with cancer, and had to undergo chemotherapy and radiation treatment. When evidence of Rodger’s ill-health was submitted in court, Amy accused him of falsifying his illness to avoid conviction. Given Rodger’s haggard appearance, characteristic changes in his hair due to chemotherapy and stress, and presentation of medical documentation from respected doctors and facilities throughout the area, even the judge was shocked at Amy’s denial.
After the vexatious litigation complaint was filed, Amy had continued her pattern as before, peppering Rodger and his lawyer with motions in the custody case, leveling accusations against Rodger and his family, and protesting every ruling. She dug up old complaints and recycled them into new requests for protection and submitted paperwork in three ongoing cases in two counties citing her debunked complaints as evidence. This pattern had continued as described above for over a year after the initial filing of the complaint.
Requests from Rodger’s lawyer as to the status of the complaint received replies ranging from “it’s under consideration, but a decision on going forward with it hasn’t been made” to “what vexatious litigation complaint?” During the course of that year, the complaint ended up “lost” in the system, and remained so until Rodger’s lawyer threatened to sue the county for discrimination and violating Rodger’s right to a speedy trial. Upon receiving that threat, the clerk suddenly discovered Rodger’s paperwork, and submitted it for consideration.
When Amy was served with notice of the judge’s decision to hear the complaint, she responded by filing another false charge. Hard pressed to come up with anything remotely legitimate sounding, she had Rodger arrested over allegations of a terrifying and dangerous drive by greeting. This time, she tripped herself up by claiming contact at a time when she was supposed to be out of the area.
Amy’s child support arrearage was at $7000.00 and rising. After half a decade of dithering, the child support enforcement agency finally went after her for the debt. To delay the inevitable, Amy had requested and been granted a two-week continuance of the case. She had claimed that she was going to be out of state, visiting family. It didn’t seem to strike her as a contradiction that after previously arguing in court that she had no money to pay her support obligation, she apparently could afford a trip halfway across the United States.
During that two weeks, when she was supposed to be well over a thousand miles away, she called police and claimed that Rodger had driven past a local bar she frequented and “waved menacingly” at her while she was inside. Because of the way she called in the complaint, in this thriving little metro area where there are drugs and burglaries and rape (oh, my!), addressing it required four police officers from two different precincts: two to show up at his house and transport him to city limits, and two cars from the second precinct to collect him and transport him, as she’d told officers he was combative and dangerous. Officers were a bit surprised to find him compliant, personable, and exhausted from his medical regimen.
Again, the incident was handled poorly by police. The precinct which took him in lost their record of his arrival, but their books show that he had to post bail in order to leave. Apparently he was never there, but he still had to pay to get out.
Following that, Amy addressed the vexatious litigation complaint itself with a flurry of new litigation. She made motions demanding information to which she was not legally entitled, including the private contact information for all of Rodger’s witnesses, our online identities, our employer information, and even our vehicle registration information. Included among her various court actions was a list of questions submitted for Rodger to answer, most of which were illegal for her to ask, and many of which were rehashed accusations in the form of questions.
Also included was her old friend, the continuance. Amy spent several months fighting the vexatious litigation complaint against her by offering more proof that she was, in fact, a vexatious litigant. When the case was finally heard, Rodger submitted approximately 8 inches of paperwork from Amy’s various maneuvers, involving multiple police departments and both the criminal and family court systems in two different counties, including examples of motions and actions she submitted in one county after having had them denied in the other.
The judge ruled in Rodger’s favor, finding that Amy’s behavior did constitute vexatious litigation. Amy was barred from taking any legal action at all in relation to Rodger without first obtaining leave from the judge presiding over the vexatious litigation case. The ruling took effect immediately. Following it, Amy petitioned for leave to appeal the ruling, arguing that while she thought her massive amount of legal maneuvering didn’t constitute vexatious litigation, Rodger’s attempts to answer did.
Following a tense wait while the motion was considered, the judge denied Amy’s petition. The ruling stood, labeling Amy a vexatious litigant, and barring her from taking any further legal action against Rodger without a judge’s approval.
Rodger still suffers nightmares due to the ordeal. He is jumpy about things related to some aspects of the case, feels compelled to document his whereabouts, and for over a year after the ruling, he avoided answering the phone. He has some other PTSD symptoms that I won’t share, but which can be directly traced back to conditions under which he was held for questioning (after being “not arrested” by the police) or to the experience of being subjected to surprise visits by officers. He’s really not a conventional therapy kind of person – he’s dealing with it in his own way and showing improvement, but after everything he was put through, his recovery is going to be a slow, hard road.
Because Amy was backed by local domestic violence victim’s advocates, no charges were ever brought against her for her false allegations, for the perjury she committed in court, for her stalking of the victim, his family, and witnesses, or for her violations of judge’s orders in the case. She was even permitted to get away with violating a child support order for years, eventually amassing over $8000.00 in debt from which she was partially released by a judge because of her refusal to work, (an unheard of ruling, had she been a man) all because she had the courtroom support and assistance of case workers from that domestic violence victim’s advocacy organization.
Rodger’s case is a direct result of discriminatory policy mandated by feminist-lobbied discriminatory law. The writing of the Violence Against Women Act is based on the Duluth model’s male-perpetrator / female victim concept of domestic violence. The law contains funding for the training of every step of the legal process in following that model, also embraced by federally funded domestic victim’s advocacy groups like the one used by Amy against Rodger.
Prior to the passage of VAWA, the law contained funding for such organizations, but not funding to incentivize the mandatory arrest and prosecution policies which guided law enforcement’s response to Amy’s accusations. Had VAWA never been passed, it still would have been illegal for men to do to women the things which Amy had alleged (except for the drive-by greeting), but when authorities became aware that Amy was lying, they would not have been led by legal guidelines to ignore common sense and assist in her harassment of Rodger. Amy would have been prosecuted for her crimes, and the state of Ohio would have been spared the expense of handling years of frivolous courtroom maneuvering.
* All of the names in the story have been changed to protect the anonymity of the involved family.