MIDLOTHIAN, Va. (WRIC) - Earlier this month, ABC 8News first brought you the story of Adam Glatt, a Midlothian mental health counselor who was stripped of his license in Virginia after allegations of sexual misconduct with a patient.
Before he moved to Virginia, the 53-year-old therapist was accused of engaging in inappropriate sexual activities—including bondage, domination and whipping—with a former patient in Florida, where he voluntarily relinquished his license on April 28.
Despite these allegations dating back to 2012, Glatt had been practicing in Virginia for the past two years before his license was finally suspended by the Virginia Department of Health Professions on May 1, 2014.
The big question is how did Glatt ever get a license here in the Commonwealth after what allegedly happened in Florida?
Feeling lost and alone after the death of her son, the woman who we are calling "Mary Jane" to protect her identity, says she began seeking counseling from Adam Glatt in Florida. But soon those counseling sessions turned sexual.
"I was feeling depressed and overwhelmed," she says. "I trusted him."
According to a complaint filed by Mary Jane, Glatt began discussing his "role in bondage domination and sado masochism, a BDSM lifestyle. Mary Jane claims she and the counselor began a sexual relationship, attended BDSM events and on one occasion, Mary Jane alleges Glatt "flogged" or whipped her.
Eventually realizing this counselor patient relationship was wrong, she filed a complaint with the Florida Department of Health back in 2012 and Glatt took off to Chesterfield.
It wasn't until April 25, 2014 that Florida did anything about it. The Florida Board of Mental Health Counseling accepted his decision to voluntarily give up his license in lieu of disciplinary action.
Working on a joint investigation with our sister station WFLA in Tampa, we saw what happens when Florida board members are pressed for answers as to why they sat on the complaint for so long?
Mary Bridgman, Florida Board of Mental Health Counseling: "I don't have any further comment on the matter. We've handled it today and we've done our very best to protect the public's matter in the case."
Reporter: "But how is it Virginia is being protected by you when you had this case open since 2012 and he has been practicing in Virginia since 2012?"
Bridgman: "It's concluded now and I have no further comment."
And while that complaint had already been filed when Glatt got a license to counsel in Virginia, it wasn't until 12 days ago that the Virginia Board of Health Professions suspended Glatt's license.
"That happens almost all the time," says Dr. David Stein, a member of the International Board of Ethics in Psychology and Psychiatry.
He says there is a verification process when counselors from another state seek a license in Virginia, but often no one is doing a thorough background check and checking for complaints in other states.
"It's called linkage blindness and we don't share information," Stein says. "Laws have to change and it has to be a more centralized database." ...
I’ve put a lot of thought into whether or not to publish this post. I’ve come back to it three or four times. It’s unavoidable that this will be seen as a commentary on recent events in my local community, because it is. What this is not is an attempt to bash anyone for the way they handled the situation. I believe that most of the people involved were genuinely attempting to protect both the victims and the community, and that any mistakes they made were out of ignorance, not malice. What I’m hoping to do is to provide some perspective so the same mistakes aren’t made again.
For those of you who don’t know me, I have been involved in the community for ten years. I have been involved with helping organize and run events since shortly after my entrance to the community. I have presented at a variety of events in my region, have worked or organized security for various events, am one of the coordinators of a non-profit munch, and also am one of the co-founders of TTB Ventures which runs events and conferences.
I’ve always tried to keep my professional background fairly private, but it’s relevant here and I feel strongly enough about this topic to disclose it. I am currently employed with a major metropolitan police department where I have spent the last six years as a Detective investigating violent crimes ranging from robberies and serious assaults to shootings, homicides, and yes, a few sexual assaults. I’m qualified to speak on this subject in a way that few, if any, of the people arguing here on FL about it are.
The things I say here might offend you or contradict your worldview, but this post is written based on my experience as an investigator.
The community does not have the ability to effectively investigate consent violations or abuse allegations.
This is the one point I am hoping to get across in this post. Being an event or group organizer does not give you the resources or the skills you need to investigate. Here's why:
The community does not have the necessary resources to obtain any evidence other than interviews.
When it comes to investigations, evidence tends to fall into one of two categories. The statements of victims/witness/suspects, and tangible evidence such as physical evidence and records. While cases are rarely solved by tangible evidence alone (except on TV), it is extremely difficult to determine the truth of a matter with no tangible evidence. Tangible evidence does not lie and is not subject to the limitations of memory. This makes it invaluable to help corroborate or disprove the statements of those involved, which is vital for reasons I will discuss more shortly.
The community doesn't have access to crime labs, search warrants, subpoenas, subject matter experts, or any of the other resources to necessary obtain and interpret tangible evidence. That means those trying to investigate a consent violation are left to rely on the statements of the people involved, without even the slightest amount of collaborating evidence. This is an unfortunate situation for even an experienced investigator, but an insurmountable one for the community, because:
The average person does not have the training or experience to determine the truth of what happened though statements alone.
Being able to effectively interview people is an art that investigators spend years developing. I have about 200 hours of training just on interviewing, and six years of experience interviewing victims, witnesses, and suspects on a daily basis, and I still have a lot to learn. The average person simply isn’t equipped to determine the truth of an incident from talking to people.
Before you start screaming, read that line again. I didn’t say victims lie, I said everybody lies. This is one of the first lessons novice investigators learn. Even the most honest people practice some level of deception on a daily basis, and what appears to be the most honest statement will contain some element of deception. I’ve seen suspects confessing to heinous crimes still lie about their motives because they find them embarrassing.
Like it or not, false reports happen.
I’m going to leave my personal experience out of this and refer you to a source you might prefer. Victim’s advocacy groups cite reports putting the incidence of false allegations of sexual assault at 2-8%, with most of the studies I’ve seen quoted somewhere between 6% and 8%. These are the studies quoted by the groups with a motivation to drive these numbers down, and we’re still talking about a significant percentage.
Those numbers are already high enough for concern, but there are some important caveats. First, these are the reports that were actually proven to be false. Those numbers do not include the cases that could not be proven or dis-proven, a percentage of which are going to necessarily be false reports (it’s awfully hard to prove something didn’t happen). Second, people making these reports know that they could potentially go to jail for making a false report. In the scene we have no significant consequences for those making false reports, so I would expect that the percentage of false reporting in the scene is significantly higher than the ones reported to police.
On a side note, the people who say no one would lie about something as embarrassing as a consent violation drive me nuts. They a) obviously have no experience with investigation b) lack imagination and c) are making the common mistake of thinking that other people think the same way they do (hint: they don't).
But for the sake of argument, let’s stick with those reported numbers. Do you know what the probability is an untrained person detecting a lie is? No better than chance. You have as much of a possibility of tossing a coin into the air and calling it correctly as you do determining if someone is telling you the truth. If you are acknowledging that even a fraction of sexual assault reports are false, that should concern you.
The difference between lies and deception.
What many people don’t understand is that lying is not the only form of deception. Deception is a range, with lying at the extreme end. Deception is psychologically stressful and gets more stressful closer you get to a lie. This means that unless backed into a corner people will usually omit information or qualify their answer instead of lying. Perhaps that bottom is telling you the truth about the top touching their genitals during the scene, but omitting the fact that the touching was negotiated beforehand, or something equally relevant. Perhaps the top is omitting that the sub safe worded during the scene. The best part? Since the person you’re talking to is not actually lying those signs that might have tipped you off disappear. Investigators are trained to recognize the language surrounding these lesser forms of deception and follow up appropriately. You are not.
Even when being honest, what people remember is never what actually happened.
For more on change blindness and the limits of attention and memory, click here.
The best description I’ve heard of human memory is “creative re-imagining.” How many arguments have you had with a partner where the two of you cannot agree what was said during a conversation? Neither one of you is lying (hopefully), you’re just remembering things differently. Our memory is not like a photograph, different pieces of the experience are stored in different parts of our brain and combined when we need them. Our mind fills in a bunch of blank spots, and our opinions, biases, things we’ve heard, and a host of other factors play into the result. If I talk to five different people who witnessed an incident I’m going to have five different versions of what happened, and I may very well have substantial variation in the details. The worst part? We think we remember far more than we actually do
This leads to another phenomenon. How many of you have kids who describe something that happened even though were far too young to have remembered it ? They don’t actually remember the incident, but they have heard you tell the story a few times, and now they “remember” it too. Likewise, two people who talk about an incident will generally come to “remember” the incident the same way, even if they have previously given differing statements. Furthermore a well meaning person can easily change someone’s memory of an event by asking the wrong questions.
So even when talking to someone who is being honest, developing an accurate picture as to what happened requires skills that an untrained person doesn't have:
The investigator needs be be able to ask questions in a non-leading way, and without giving away information obtained elsewhere.
The investigator needs to be able to determine the difference between deception and normal inconsistencies due to memory and differences in perspective.
The investigator has to be able to piece the different accounts and any other evidence into a cohesive picture of what happened.
Where’s the accused?
Normally when I see an accusation made in the scene nobody talks to the accused. I’m certainly not encouraging you to go out and interview these people, interviewing a suspect requires an even more specialized skill set than interviewing witnesses. However, these allegations usually have no tangible evidence and often the victim and accused were the only people present for the negotiations and/or incident. Considering the problems with deception and memory described above, how can you expect to get an accurate picture of what happened if you only evaluate one side of the story?
The road to hell is paved with good intentions
So, you have no ability to obtain tangible evidence. You don't have the ability to determine if the person making the accusation is lying, much less to determine what information they might be leaving out. Ditto for any witnesses. Even if they were being honest you would have a hard time putting the pieces together.
So, despite having the best of intentions, what good are you doing?
I honestly don’t know. I can, however, think of a several ways you could be causing harm.
You may very well cause serious damage to a current or future criminal case.
How? Let me list the first few things that pop into my head:
First, you may prevent the victim from approaching the police at all.
After all, they know you. They’re much more comfortable with you than they would be talking to the police, and if you’re investigating it may very well be easier to just let you handle it.
Second, you are tipping the suspect off.
Our community leaks like a sieve. At the point where you go asking questions, word is going to get back to the suspect. This gives them the opportunity to destroy evidence, rehearse their story, find people to provide false alibis, and threaten the victim and witnesses if they are so inclined.
Third, you are going to corrupt the victims' and/or witnesses' testimony.
Questions you ask the wrong way can affect the person’s recollection of the event,
You can reveal information to the person that they should not know.
If people get together and discuss an incident they will start to remember things the same way, even things they weren’t preset for or weren’t in a position to witness.
Because of the above factors, one of two things will happen when the person talks to the police or prosecutor:
If the statements are false people will have had a chance to improve their stories during their prior discussions and will sound more honest then they should.
If the statements are true, they will likely have become too consistent and rehearsed, and will contain details that the person was not in a position to witness. They will sound less honest than they should.
Fourth, you are making the investigation exponentially more complicated.
The easiest cases to charge and prosecute are the simple ones, because as a case becomes more complicated it both increases the chance of conflicting information and gives a defense attorney more things to attack in court. This case started off with the suspect and victim, perhaps a witness or two, and possibly some medical records and fetlife messages. At the point you started investigating you made yourself a witness. Did a bunch of you start investigating? All witnesses. Did you take notes and make timelines? Those are evidence. Did you exchange messages, emails, or FL messages with the victims regarding what happened? Those are evidence too, as well as anything else interesting the investigator or defense attorney discovers while looking through the results.
You're giving a defense attorney a huge amount of ammo.
All those new witnesses and that new evidence you generated? A defense attorney is going to comb through everything and find that one statement or one piece of evidence that conflicts with what the victim says happened. That’s what they are going to bring up over and over again to destroy the victim’s credibility. They are going to point out how this was obviously a conspiracy against their client, how the victims and witnesses have conspired together to get their stories straight, yada yada. Your independent investigation is going to wind up sounding like a witch hunt to the jury.
And all this is assuming a prosecutor is even willing to bring a case with these problems to trial.
Prosecutors’ performance is judged by their conviction rate, or the number of convictions or guilty pleas they get divided by the total number of cases they have. Cases that they choose not to pursue or indict generally don’t play into this ratio. If you have turned this case into a complicated mess through your investigation and they don’t think they can get a conviction they have a strong incentive to either drop the case or offer a ridiculous plea.
After the Fact.
Though doing an independent investigation after charges are filed is better than doing it before, it’s still a bad idea unless the court proceedings are over. The end result is almost certain to be that future statements and testimony will differ from the first report the victim and witnesses gave (which causes it’s own set of problems, particularly in court). You are also still going to have the same issues with case complications/evidence/defense attorney ammo.
The elephant in the room: those falsely accused.
I don’t know what it is about this topic that drives people into denial and precludes a rational discussion. I’m about as far as you can get from a bleeding heart, but I've also seen people go to jail based on the testimony from both lying and well meaning but faulty victims and witnesses. The consequences of a false accusation are different in the scene, but being ostracized from your community and friends isn’t something to be taken lightly. So, let’s work through this rationally:
The incidence of false reporting is at least one in twenty. Closer to one in ten, and that’s ignoring the fact that it’s probably significantly higher in the scene.
You probably have no tangible evidence.
You have no better than an even chance of determining if the victim is telling you the truth or not.
In the rare instance that there are witnesses, you don’t have the skills to interview them effectively.
So, you’re essentially working with what? A hunch, or at best an educated guess. It’s certainly not “evidence” despite the fact that I’ve seen that phrase tossed around a bunch on FL recently. It’s one thing to keep that person away from your events, but are you really comfortable accusing someone publicly and destroying their reputation based on your guess? I do this for a living, and I still don’t call my my hunches anything else until the evidence proves them right or wrong.
That's a lot of don't, but what should I do?
I’ve talked a bunch about how not to handle these incidents. I don’t want to end the discussion without giving some advice on how we should handle them, but the truth is that while the information above comes from my experience, with the exception of the last two points my suggestions below are just that: suggestions. I’d love to get a dialog going concerning how we can handle these incidents in light of the problems I’ve described.
So, here are my suggestions:
If this is a recent incident, make sure there is not a medical emergency and get medical treatment for the victim if needed.
Be a friend.
That’s what you are, a friend, not an investigator. Don’t “interview” witnesses. Don’t encourage a bunch of other people to “interview” the victim. There’s a good chance you will damage any future criminal case.
Encourage the victim to go to the police...
In the end, the police are the people with the resources and experience to determine what occurred and to take meaningful action if something did happen.
I know that many victims in general and kinksters in particular are apprehensive about approaching the police, so here are a few options:
They can file an Incident Report with the NCSF and ask directly for help in speaking to law enforcement and social service professionals.
Most large departments have a LGBT Liaison Unit. Contact information can usually be found on the web. Many of the Officers assigned to these units are familiar with kink, and while they probably won’t handle the case directly they can be a good place to start.
...and to get any other help they need.
You are not a trained counselor or psychiatrist either. If they need that kind of help, make sure they get it.
If you are an organizer or promoter make the decisions you need to ensure the safety of your people.
While your opinion of the incident is at best an educated guess, there are several reasons why you may choose remove the alleged offender from your events if you believe the allegations: erring on the side of caution to protect your attendees, building the public perception that violations won't be tolerated at your events, and the potential civil liability if that alleged offender violates someone else's consent at your venue after you've been informed that they are a risk.
Spread the word if needed, but do it with discretion.
If you feel the person involved presents a danger to the community as a whole, spread the word to other organizers and promoters. At the same time, acknowledge that what you’re relaying has not been proven by a) not making public announcements regarding it and b) not expecting those you provide this information to to take your word as gospel.
And finally the two points that really aren’t suggestions:
Under no circumstances encourage victims and witnesses to discuss what happened together.
I think I’ve covered this thoroughly enough already.
And finally, if you’re going to ignore everything else I’ve said, don’t post about your “investigation” on the internet.
In your infinite wisdom you’ve decided to ignore all the advice I’ve given here? You’ve conducted your own investigation, interviewed people, and sat the victims and witnesses down to talk to each other? Fine. But for the love of god, don’t post a description of what you’ve done on the internet where it’s a screenshot away from being Defense Exhibit 1.
UPDATE 4/24/14: There are now dozens of comments and a couple of spin-off threads about how wrong I am for telling victims they should go to the police. The interesting thing? Not only is the post very clearly written from the perspective of a third person approached by a victim, nowhere does it say anything about what the victim should do.
In fact, the only time I addressed the topic was in a response to one of the earlier comments. I'll post it here so you don't have to hunt:
I also think it's inappropriate to suggest that victims should be encouraged to report to the police.
I don't, because this post is mainly written for organizers and promoters. As an organizer, my primary responsibility is not the victim's comfort. It's the safety of the victim, my attendees, and the community. I can best fulfill this responsibility by encouraging the victim to go to a medical professional (if necessary), a counselor, and the police.
The victim's primary responsibility is to take care of themselves, and they may decide that's best accomplished by not going to the police. They're not wrong and I'm not wrong, we just have different responsibilities.
UPDATE 5/01/14: To reference medical attention in the advice section. Thanks @Phroid
Former Portland State University student Whitney Orlando has filed a $1 million lawsuit against her former professor Marcia Klotz, who Orlando claims forced her to drop out over pressure for sexual photos and information on sensitive topics.
The Daily News
BY Nina Golgowski
A former bondage model claims her academic career was derailed by a university professor's twisted fixation on her past.
Former Portland State University student Whitney Orlando has filed a $1 million lawsuit against the university and former professor Marcia Klotz, who Orlando claims forced her to drop out over pressure for sexual photos and information on sensitive topics.
The former student is seeking damages from the loss of her education and stress that left her hospitalized, the suit obtained by OregonLive.com reads.
Orlando, who allegedly met Klotz during a seminar in 2009, claims the former PSU professor developed an unhealthy obsession with her past modeling and the sexual abuse she sustained as a child.
The two allegedly first exchanged emails harmlessly, discussing material associated with Klotz' seminar and Orlando revealing her former work as a bondage pornography model.
Because of Klotz's interest in the subject, Orlando admits that she sent her several "non-explicit photographs of her head and face taken during (her) most recent modeling shoot."
Klotz allegedly complimented her on the photos and expressed interest in attending any future modeling sessions she may have.
Between October 2009 and December 2012 they exchanged more than 200 electronic messages discussing everything from course material, sexual topics and their increasing relationship.
"Klotz's interest and participation in plaintiff's sexual life during this time blurred professional and personal boundaries between herself and plaintiff," the lawsuit claims.
Eventually the photos Orlando sent to Klotz showed her nude or in sexually explicit poses. But Klotz allegedly wanted more.
That's around when Orlando revealed that she had been sexually abused by a school instructor at age 13.
Rather than put an end to their relationship — which already went beyond the school's limits — Klotz allegedly wanted more.
"Klotz admitted to finding plaintiff's earlier sexual abuse erotic, and expressed an interest in replicating aspects of that abuse with plaintiff in a (bondage and discipline, sadism and masochism) context."
Klotz also allegedly revealed her "submissive" husband's own sexual abuse by his father and how they reenact it.
January 2010 is when things allegedly began to snap.
According to her lawsuit, Klotz recommended Orlando for the university's McNair Scholars Program while encouraging her to select a topic for her paper related to sexual abuse of children that would incorporate her own abuse.
Orlando obliged. She dug into the trial court's case file against her former middle school teacher, and reviewed details of the trial she had never seen before.
The stress of the experience left her physically ill and hospitalized her for an irregular heartbeat.
She wrote Orlando informing her of her plans to change the subject of her paper, which Klotz allegedly rejected.
"Instead, Klotz recommended that plaintiff complete research on resources available to women in the Portland area who are leaving sex work or on her original topic," according to her suit.
Orlando instead chose an entirely different topic and once her paper was finished, Klotz accused it of not meeting the program's requirements and also of being plagiarized. ...
A Chesterfield County mental health counselor has been ordered to give up his medical license after allegations of sexual misconduct with a patient.
Sexual bondage, domination and whipping are just some of the allegations against Midlothian mental health counselor Adam Glatt. Up until Friday, 53-year-old Glatt had been providing relationship and family counseling to couples and individuals in Midlothian. But before coming to Virginia, he was a therapist in Florida, where a former patient sys he engaged in inappropriate sexual activities with her.
Glatt’s license to practice mental health counseling here in Virginia has been mandatorily suspended by the Virginia Department of Health Professions. The move comes after the Commonwealth learned just last week that Glatt voluntarily relinquished his license in lieu of disciplinary action stemming from a Florida Department of Health complaint filed against Glatt back in 2012.
Working with sister station WFLA in Tampa, Fla., ABC 8News was able to obtain a copy of that complaint. According to the document, Glatt began counseling a woman who had just lost her son. During counseling sessions, she claims he “began discussing his role in bondage, domination and sadomasochism.”
The complaint goes on to say that Glatt began a sexual relationship with the patient, and the two began attending bondage and domination events as part of a “BDSM lifestyle.” During at least one of those events, the former patient claims Glatt flogged or lashed her.
ABC 8News Anchor/Investigative Reporter Kerri O’Brien tried to reach Glatt for comment, but his Midlothian office at Market Square appeared to be closed on Friday, and there was no answer at his home.
O’Brien spoke with Glatt’s attorney, Richard Samet. He says Glatt denies ever conducting himself inappropriately during therapy. Samet added that Glatt gave up his license in Florida because he’s no longer practicing there, and it wasn’t worth his time trying to fight the complaint there.
Glatt plans to appeal Virginia’s decision to suspend his license.
A former Portland State University undergraduate has filed a $1 million lawsuit against her faculty mentor for sexual harassment over the professor's alleged obsession with the student's experiences as a BDSM model and sexual-abuse survivor.
The suit, which alleges some bizarre sexual situations in great detail, highlights a tension "between a faculty member's legitimate academic engagement with sexually tinged topics" and "sexual matters inappropriate to discuss with a student," according to the Portland Oregonian.
Whitney "Theda" Orlando was pursuing a degree in psych and French at PSU when she struck up a collegial relationship with Assistant Professor Marcia Klotz, taking Klotz's courses on Feminist Literature and Erotics of Power. They had similar research interests, and Orlando began to work with Klotz more closely.
In 2009 Orlando confided to Klotz that she used to model in bondage photographs, sometimes in the nude. Over the next three years, Orlando alleges in her lawsuit, Klotz used her position of power to pressure Orlando into providing pornographic images from her past work. A "state of sexual and romantic tension" arose between the two, according to the court papers.
Early on in their correspondence, Orlando also told Klotz that she'd been molested by a middle-school teacher and still felt some effects from the experience. Rather than take that as a cue to back off, the professor allegedly pressed Orlando for more intimate details and encouraged her to do research related to sexual abuse.
Things seemed to escalate. The lawsuit alleges that Orlando felt pressured into watching a documentary on porn with Klotz and Klotz's husband at their home, leading to an "increasingly romantic and sexualized" relationship that made Orlando ill at ease: ...
As if politics isn’t sexy enough these days, San Francisco Supervisor David Campos will hold a ”kinky” fundraiser Monday night at a place that bills itself “the largest fetish porn company in the world” to raise money for his race to represent San Francisco in the state Assembly.
While many candidates raise campaign cash at upscale eateries or casual coffeehouses, Campos is planning a reception at Kink.com’s “edgy” pornography studio The Armory Club in San Francisco, a massive Moorish-style brick building that celebrates all things BDSM — an erotic subculture involving dominance, submission, role-playing, and lots of restraining devices.
For $300, Campos’ fundraiser promises a studio tour, and a “special brand of entertainment” in the VIP room — along with a bag of goodies. Here’s the link to his invite.
Campos is facing fellow Supervisor David Chiu in a race that has just began to heat up. As recently as February, Chiu held a double-digit lead in polls, but Campos has begun to close the margin.
Kink.com owner Peter Acworth, a bondage enthusiast who purchased the landmark Armory building on Mission Street in 2007, is no stranger to politics as of late.
Acworth is seeking the city’s permission to convert the Armory into office space, a kind of backup plan he said was needed if state and local health oversight regulations push him out of state.
The invite comes as California Assemblyman Isadore Hall, D-Compton (Los Angeles County) is attempting for the second consecutive year to pass a bill that would require condoms in adult films, as well as documentation of protective measures taken during all sexual acts. Cal/OSHA regulations suggest that performers use condoms, as well as dental dams and eye protection to protect against the spread of blood and fluid-borne diseases, such as HIV, hepatitis and herpes. ...
Leaders of agencies who assist domestic abuse and sexual assault victims in the Fox Valley say the guilty verdicts in the emotionally charged trial of attorney David Dudas will have a long-lasting impact.
“It lets people who are being abused know that there is a criminal justice system in place that will support them,” said Caroline Lasecki, executive director of the Sexual Assault Crisis Center in the Fox Cities.
She is convinced that the verdicts will resonate for years and will prompt more victims of abuse to trust the criminal justice system.
Lasecki praised police, prosecutors and the jury after Dudas was convicted Wednesday of 30 of 31 criminal charges. He was accused of beating and sexually assaulting his wife from March 2012 to July 2013 in a series of increasingly violent episodes, culminating in an incident July 21 that led to his arrest and her hospitalization.
Dudas, 49, of Dale, was found guilty of first-degree sexual assault, second-degree reckless injury, substantial battery, 14 counts of second-degree sexual assault and 11 counts of strangulation and suffocation. He also was convicted of misdemeanor counts of battery and intimidation of a witness acting on behalf of a victim. He was found not guilty of one count of strangulation.
“It’s a huge statement for him to be found guilty of 30 of 31 counts,” Lasecki said. “I think that this not only helps one family, it’s going to help an entire community for years to come.”
Lasecki is convinced that the high-profile nature of the case — which was covered extensively by Post-Crescent Media and postcrescent.com — will convince some victims who have suffered abuse in silence and isolation to come forward.
“This should open up people’s eyes,” she said.
“We hope that this case will serve to empower victims to come forward,” said Beth Schnorr, executive director at Harbor House Domestic Abuse Programs. “Abusers can seem like nice, normal guys — even respected community members. This case reminds us that anyone can be an abuser, and holding them accountable gives hope to the survivors.”
Schnorr said victims often don’t report abuse because they don’t think they will be believed, or they fear retaliation.
“On so many levels, this case helps to break down so many of those things,” she said. “It shows victims that the system is on their side, and we will work together and work diligently to make sure (offenders) are held accountable.”
If Dudas had been acquitted on all charges, it would have been a major blow to victims of abuse and agencies that work with abuse victims, said Julie Fevola, executive director of Christine Ann Domestic Abuse Services.
“If the verdicts would have gone the other way, it would have been a real negative,” Fevola said. “I think it’s a very, very positive message that the victim’s message was heard. It speaks to victims that it pays off to come forward.”
Getting beyond marital status
The Dudas trial lasted eight days and featured graphic testimony and videos of sexual relations. It also raised the thorny issue of consent in sexual relations between a husband and wife.
Schnorr — and others who deal with sexual assault and abuse victims on a regular basis — say it’s a crime to forcibly have sex with a woman, regardless of their marital status.
“Society has long held onto the notion that a woman’s sexuality is a commodity that can be owned by her husband and the belief that what happens between husband and wife in the bedroom is a private matter,” Schnorr said. ...