Man who repeatedly threatened and harassed ex-girlfriend gets to keep his guns

The Massachusetts Appeals Court today agreed with a Lynn-area woman that her former boyfriend has to be ordered to leave her alone, but overturned a lower-court decision ordering him to surrender his guns, after hearing about a 15-month harassment campaign that included showing up at her workplace, her yoga studio and a Starbucks to threaten her.

The difference, the court ruled, is that the harassment started only after the two had broken up. Because of that, the woman had to file for a keep-away order under the state's "civil harassment" law, which does not allow a judge to order somebody to give up his guns. Were they still going out, she could have sought a keep-away order under the state's domestic-violence law, which specifically gives judges the right to make a person hand in firearms to police.

The court said the legislature very deliberately excluded guns from the civil-harassment law - a section that would have allowed that was deleted from the bill that eventually became the law, the court said.

We do not consider the language of [the civil harassment law], to be so broad as to encompass a remedy that the Legislature expressly rejected.

The court added the woman could seek other civil or criminal remedies - and said there's nothing from stopping authorities in the community that issued the man his gun permits to revoke them for cause.

In its ruling, which uses only acronyms to refer to the woman and her ex, the court did agree the man kept menacing the woman and that the lower-court judge was right to order him to stay away, especially after 15 months of requests from both the woman and her local police department had failed to deter him.

In a second text message sent in July, 2013, the defendant texted the plaintiff, "You don't get it. You have much more to lose in this than I do. If you're so stupid to tell anyone in AA about us, you'll be fucked." He then texted, "If you tell [your boy friend] about us, I'll send him naked pictures of you that'll prove you're a slut. I'm keeping the pictures for blackmail purposes." The defendant then sent numerous text messages to the plaintiff's boy friend. A third text message the defendant sent to the plaintiff during the month of July, 2013, stated, "And, if you tell [your boy friend] about the affair, I'll tell him how crazy and fucked up you are. I will ruin you. Don't cross me. This will end badly for you. You will pay the consequences."

The court gave other examples:

In addition to following the plaintiff to the yoga studio, the defendant also appeared at a Starbucks in December of 2013, where the plaintiff was seated with a friend. "He was very red in the face and made extremely intimidating facial expressions towards [her]." The plaintiff immediately left the Starbucks. The defendant continued to text the plaintiff after this incident, telling her that she should apologize for going to the police.

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      Comments

      did the state not learn

      By on

      did the state not learn anything from the Martell murder? The Jared Remy's of the world will just keep pushing things until they kill someone.

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      How was Martel murdered?

      By on

      So how does that have anything to do with this case? If the guy really wanted to be violent, he wouldn't need a firearm to be violent.

      Also, if you cared to look at what Adam wrote, the problems occurred after the breakup, so we are not talking domestic (or any other kind of) violence.

      I don't want to come across as defending the guy. He sounds like scum. But your comparison is quite off.

      i don't think the comparison

      By on

      i don't think the comparison is off, because jared remy was time after time ordered to stay away from his girlfriends, even as the harassment escalated to violence. the system does not adequately protect people in these situations. i mean, this guy spent 15 months (after the breakup!) harassing this woman. these are not the actions of a sane or stable person.

      and while it is true that remy committed his murder with a knife, not a gun, do you really think someone who spends over a year threatening an ex is someone who should be trusted with firearms?

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      Again

      By on

      As you note-

      even as the harassment escalated to violence

      This guy's biggest threat is revenge porn. I think taking internet access away from him would be better than taking the firearms away. And again, Remy was abusive in his relationships. All of this began after they broke up.

      Why?

      By on

      Once again, he never threatened physical harm.

      Look, if you're of the opinion that no one should possess firearms, fine, but since firearms are allowed to be owned by individuals, we should concentrate on keeping them out of the hands of people who might use them for the wrong purposes.

      Hmmmm...obviously, Remy was a threat, and he was physically and

      By on

      verbally to his girlfriend. Anybody who has a history of being abusive like that shouldn't have access to firearms, either.

      I'll also add that many relationships that become physically abusive start out with the abuser being emotionally abusive...and extremely controlling, and then it escalates into physical abuse on top of all that.

      Yes

      By on

      But let's not let the facts of this case get in the way of your views on the case. I mean, Adam went through the time and effort of summarizing what happened (the stalking and nonviolent threats beginning after the breakup, for example) but let's just all assume this guy was Remy's gym buddy.

      Mor information, get involved

      By on

      Here is additional information about Harassment Prevention Orders in Massachusetts:
      http://www.mass.gov/courts/selfhelp/abuse-harassment/harassment-preventi...

      Additionally (copied from http://www.mass.gov/courts/selfhelp/abuse-harassment/258e-more-info.html)
      1. Boston Area Rape Crisis Center (BARCC) runs a 24/7 toll-free hotline: 800.841.8371
      2. National Sexual Assault Hotline – 1.800.656.HOPE: connects callers directly to local crisis centers.
      3. Jane Doe, Inc. is the statewide coalition of against sexual assault and domestic violence. Their website includes information for victims of sexual and domestic violence and stalking. http://www.janedoe.org/learn_more and http://www.janedoe.org/find_help
      4. Local Police- You don’t have to call the police, but it is important for you to know you can call them if you feel you need their protection, especially in emergencies.
      5. Mass. Office for Victim Assistance Coordinates the SAFEPLAN programs on a statewide basis. SAFEPLAN is a court-based program that provides advocates to help victims of sexual assault and stalking who are seeking a harassment prevention order. SAFEPLAN Advocates are available in 41 district and probate courts across the state. The services they provide to victims are free. SAFEPLAN Advocates can help victims of sexual assault or stalking with getting a 258E order or go with you to a harassment prevention order hearing. For information on SAFEPLAN Advocates, what they do, and how to reach them, read the SAFEPLAN FAQs: http://www.mass.gov/mova/safeplan/faqs/

      If you don't want to wait for someone to get killed while waiting for the legislature to act, contact your legislator today and tell them:
      https://malegislature.gov/Search/FindMyLegislator

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      I'm glad to see that MA has

      By on

      I'm glad to see that MA has some semblance of respect for the Second Amendment left, and that someone can't have their private property permanently taken away from them on nothing more than a civil court order.

      I'll be contacting my legislator to make sure they don't make the anti-gun laws in this state worse.

      Don't get too excited

      By on

      Remember, this is the state where the highest court once ruled the Second Amendment only applies on federal land.

      Note that the decision in the case we're discussing gives the victim several possible alternatives to get around the legislature's decision to remove a gun clause from the civil-harassment law.

      I'm confused why she only

      By on

      I'm confused why she only filed civil compliant and has not filed a criminal compliant when it appears the guy is a nut. Licensing authorities are also quick to yank people's licenses for the smallest of infractions so one wonders why that PD hasn't investigated any of the allegations or at least had a chat with the dude.

      I understand the judge's ruling because the MGL is clear on what circumstances are required to compel someone to hand over their property in order to avoid nuisance civil claims by crazy exes which wouldn't have a penalty for false claims like criminal complaints do.

      Either there is a lot of he said she said funny nonsense going on that court knows about and we don't from the reportage or someone has friends at the PD looking the other way.

      That 33k number includes 21

      By on

      That 33k number includes 21-22k suicides. Japan still has a higher suicide rate than the US for cultural reasons.

      Hey Pat, if you want my vote,

      By on

      Hey Pat, if you want my vote, write in English. If you want to win City Council, you'll catch more votes with English than English as a second language.

      Keep in mind that

      By on

      The Spanish being used is that of a white girl from an Exam School practicing after doing "Service Work" in most likely Belize.

      (Probably Adam's Daughter.)

      So...

      By on

      there's nothing from stopping authorities in the community that issued the man his gun permits to revoke them for cause.

      So what city or town won't do this. Just let us know which community we're talking about....

      Significant dating relationship?

      By on

      My understanding was always that a couple who had been involved in a "significant dating relationship," even if it was over, was subject to a domestic violence Restraining Order (209A) and not a weaker Harassment Prevention Order. I believe the HPO law was created after a waitress was killed by a customer who she had never dated. Domestic violence RO's are issued every day against ex-boyfriends and ex-husbands and guns seized. Since they had dated, why was the HPO used instead of 209A in this case?

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      This is what doesn't make

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      This is what doesn't make sense unless something is fishy. If she really wanted her ex disarmed she'd file the proper RO. Also why haven't the police done anything about the alleged threats. Is there no admissible evidence or what?

      she may not have known the difference

      By on

      You assume she knew the difference between the two kinds of orders and that one allowed disarmament while the other didn't. She may well not have known the difference and her local PD may not have told her, or may have erroneously told her that she could only use the one for people who aren't dating.

      The trouble with restraining orders, however,

      By on

      is that they don't work most of the time, at least in part because the state doesn't do enough to protect the confidentiality of victims of domestic violence who decide to leave an abusive spouse or steady date, and go into a shelter or wherever.

      15 months of harassment

      By on

      15 months of harassment should be sufficient to arrest this guy.

      People who do this kind of thing simply have no respect for other people.

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      That's true enough, Heather.

      By on

      Not only do people who do this kind of thing have no respect for other people, but they're downright dangerous, to boot. Restraining Orders and/or Harassment Prevention orders don't work most of the time.

      Didn't realize the law split this way...

      By on

      Seems like one more impediment to enforcing restraining orders. I thought the Castle Neck case triggered a simplification to make it easier, not harder, to enforce a restraining order against an ex.