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Scheherazade in Blue Jeans
freelance alchemist
And an update on Judah. 
17th-Apr-2014 09:28 am
Julia - fist
I've been quiet about things with Judah for a reason: I didn't want to tip him off. But I have confirmation from my lawyer that he's been served, so now let's talk.

I've filed civil claims against Judah for three counts of assault (one assault & battery) (in Massachusetts, rape and sexual assault are not their own claims; they get filed under the generic "assault"), plus emotional distress, plus breach of contract for the rent and household expenses, plus "trespass to chattel" (breaking the cat's leg).

We are seeking a jury trial.

I originally thought he was getting served right at the same time I was reading "The Final Girl" at Arisia! But silly blue laws apparently keep people from getting served on Sundays, which was the only day we knew he'd be at the Artisans' Asylum; we had no other address for him. He's been couchsurfing on his rapidly-disappearing charm as far as I know. So it took a while to actually catch him, but we did, on March 31st.

So let's talk a little about how all this works, because data is good. I mean, I hope none of y'all ever need this data for yourselves. But. Here. If you're not interested, just scroll.

I knew I'd be filing civil claims pretty much as soon as things happened. I knew I wouldn't be able to get the rent and utilities money out of him without some kind of lawsuit! And I knew from my work with BARCC and from, y'know, the interwebs that civil case are an additional way of seeking justice and redress after rape.

Why a civil case? Jaclyn Friedman has a great post here. Many of those reasons are my reasons as well. I encourage you to read that, then come back here.

The wheels of justice turn very slowly, for civil cases as well as for criminal cases. While I was meeting with the DA, I was also meeting with my lawyer and working out a plan of action. There are a number of steps that are gone through before filing claims.

First, my lawyer notified him that I had plans to file (though not, in detail, what the counts were; some of these counts were things that we're pretty sure he didn't know he could be charged with). He was give the opportunity to settle - pay the money he already owed us, plus some for pain and suffering, and complete an anger management class and a state-certified batterer's intervention program. If he did that, we'd settle out of court.

That last part's important, and it was one of my big motivations for starting the civil proceedings in the first place. I want my damn money back. I want compensation for the work I missed due to his abuse.

But more than anything else, I do not want Judah to rape or assault anyone else.

I'm aware that I cannot actually prevent that. That, if he does it again, it is not my fault. But I resolved to do everything I could to prevent it. A batterer's intervention program and anger management training might help. It's certainly worth the attempt.

Naturally, he wasn't interested in that.

So, volley of letters and calls between lawyers. Judah was willing to pay the rent - that's one thing he'd never be able to fight in court, due to the verbiage of our lease. But nothing else. I would not accept a rent-only settlement; I insisted on treatment for him. And his lawyer mysteriously stopped responding. We gave a bit of a grace period, then filed the case this January.

Our offer for settlement has increased exponentially. Literally. We are seeking a jury trial.

Apparently he has a new lawyer, who's begged for a few weeks to get up to speed on everything, which we've granted. My lawyer has made it clear that our pre-filing settlement offer has grown stale; since we were forced to file and therefore incur more expenses and stress, things have changed.

So that's where we are now.

I am willing to answer any questions that I'm able to answer at this point. Not being able would mean legally, not emotionally.

...told you I've had a lot going on.
Comments 
17th-Apr-2014 02:22 pm (UTC)
Yikes!

Best of luck.
17th-Apr-2014 02:23 pm (UTC)
Is this all instead of criminal charges, or in addition to them?
17th-Apr-2014 02:27 pm (UTC)
At this point, instead of. That'll get a post of its own, but basically:

* I talked to a DA who was very willing to press charges.
* The DA's office began their investigation.
* That DA got promoted to the Attorney General's office; I got a new DA.
* New DA was not interested in investigating or pressing charges in a case of intimate partner violence, in a case where I didn't have brutal external injuries.

This is common, and I knew that going in. It's the choice of the DA to press charges or not, not the choice of the victim, and DAs get evaluated and promoted on their win records, so they are statistically unlikely to press charges when the case isn't a huge blatant thing with neon signs pointing to the evidence.

This is why only 6% of rapists are ever convicted, and over 70% of rapists are serial rapists.

If he rapes someone else in the state of Massachusetts, my data will be there, and they may bring the case then. But I do hope he doesn't.
17th-Apr-2014 03:52 pm (UTC) - Interestingly
I was recently reading about the UK's practice of civil prosecution, which allows a non-officer of the law to bring a prosecutorial case. There are judicial reviews, and rationality reviews before such civil cases can go forward, of course. The article noted that in this particular case (related to deaths at a UK football pitch where the police were charged as culpable) the prosecution did not succeed; however, the argument was made that the ability to BRING such prosecutions often brings much more comfort to victims than actual convictions because by having the opportunity to prosecute civilly they get their "day in court".

Good luck with yours.
17th-Apr-2014 02:29 pm (UTC)
*hugs*
Good luck
17th-Apr-2014 03:31 pm (UTC)
Good luck, and I'm sorry it's taking so long for all of this to work its way through the system, not to mention just getting him served. I'm fortunate that I've never been in your situation, but having worked for attorneys, things do indeed take damn near forever, especially when the defendant keeps dodging the process server.

*hugs* if you'd like them...
17th-Apr-2014 08:30 pm (UTC)
Good luck.

The main thing I thought was lacking in the article you linked to is that fact that victim cannot make criminal charges, the most a victim can do is ask the DA to make criminal charges.

It's too bad the new DA isn't doing that in your case.

And also good luck with the foster care thing, if I didn't say that elsewhere!
18th-Apr-2014 05:41 am (UTC)
Good luck with this. *hugs and support*
18th-Apr-2014 05:32 pm (UTC)
Good luck, hugs, support as needed.
20th-Apr-2014 02:21 pm (UTC)
Wow. Just...wow. I have a very difficult time seeing how he could possibly get out of this! Why do you think he'd even try? You know how everything works, you know the resources, you know the rules and the processes. It's like trying to put a virus on the PC of a computer programmer, or burgle the house of a policeman.

Thinking good thoughts for you, and sending strength.
21st-Apr-2014 03:17 pm (UTC)
We imagine that he was very deep in his narrative and didn't think I'd actually report him...

As far as not settling right away, I've very curious to know why he's suddenly being represented by a different lawyer. It's possible that the first one told him this was unwinnable and he went for a second opinion? The new lawyer hadn't reviewed the case last my lawyer checked, hence the plea for extra time.
27th-Apr-2014 12:03 am (UTC)
I'm sorry- but not surprised- that the DA won't place criminal charges.

I admire you very much for pursuing a civil suit, and I hope that gets you compensation that is totally deserved.
27th-Apr-2014 05:15 pm (UTC)
Yep. Likewise unsurprised, but... I had to try.
9th-Jul-2014 09:36 pm (UTC)
Missed this when you first posted it, just saw this via a link from a much more recent post by minkrose. Thanks for that article about why people may choose civil rather than criminal charges. Although it never occurred to me to think that someone going for a civil trial should not be believed because of that choice, the article describes some possible reasons for that choice that I hadn't thought of or been aware of before.
9th-Jul-2014 09:37 pm (UTC)
It is a very good article!
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