Surviving Domestic Violence: Itís all about who you know
Wouldn't it be nice if we all got the personalized attention and services (and apparent allocation of resources) that the self-described "influence peddlers" - and their damsels in distress - receive as a matter of course?
But I guess if you want to survive domestic violence, or be protected from harassment and abuse, it's all about who you know.
The O just released their year end homicide stats. Not surprisingly, domestic violence was the cause of one-third of the 27 homicides in Portland in 2006. Also unsurprisingly (to me, at least) this number hasn't varied much over the years; in most of Portland's violent deaths, the suspects knew their victims.
Ironically, the Trib just also released a story on the Oregon DOJ's recent decision not to pursue criminal charges against Multnomah County Sheriff Bernie Giusto for the role he played in the violent, drunken mishaps leading to the divorce of Jim and Lee Jeddeloh.
I guess if you want to survive domestic violence, or be protected from harassment and abuse, it's all about who you know.
For those of you unfamiliar with the Jeddeloh-Giusto saga, here's a brief recap:
[For the whole sordid tale, see the DOJ's report (WARNING: big .pdf file!) at: http://www.localnewsdaily.com/documents/070104_giusto_investigation.pdf]
Jim Jeddeloh, partner at a large Portland accounting firm, chairman of the Citizen's Crime Commission, and one of the city's "movers and shakers," messily and publicly was dumped by wife Lee, after an intervention Mrs. Jeddeloh organized with the help and influence of our knight in white shining armor, Sheriff Bernie. You know... BERNIE, the same guy who let a pervert deputy continue to patrol when he knew said pervert liked looking up women's panties. Yeah, that Prince Charming.
It seems Giusto, in his official capacity and with the help of two other cops, told Jim Jeddeloh at the intervention that he either board the plane for the Betty Ford Clinic that afternoon, or be served with a restraining order, divorce papers and face prosecution for an alleged DV incident that Mrs. J claims happened a year before. Giusto also told Jim that if he entered treatment, those charges would "go away." And *PRESTO* Jim did... and they did.
Nope. Nothing wrong here.
MISTER Jeddeloh alleges - and the DOJ investigated - that Lee and Bernie were doing the wild thing and wanted him out of the way, high and DRY, so to speak. Reading over the DOJ's report, I'd have to say I agree... though the DOJ didn't. Not enough evidence, don't you know.
[As I read the report, I flashed on the scene from "Casino" where Sharon Stone - fearful her husband (played by Robert DeNiro) will retaliate and take her out - murmurs helplessly to Joe Pesci, "I need a new sponsor, Nicky. Sam is crazy. He'll kill me." Right before she goes down on him.]
As usual, what Giusto did wasn't criminal, "just" irregular, highly suspect, and unethical. You can thank Oregon's lax ethics laws once again, for that. And I'm not saying that Mrs. Jeddeloh didn't need or deserve help or protection, though after reading the DOJ's report, her actions seem pretty manipulative to me.
No, what I'm getting at here is this: Wouldn't it be nice if we all got the personalized attention and services (and apparent allocation of resources) that the self-described "influence peddlers" - and their damsels in distress - receive as a matter of course?
From the O:
Portland, and several of its surrounding counties, bucked the national trend of major metropolitan cities, where murders began to rise last year and domestic violence fell sharply. Most notably, there were no Portland gang-rivalry street killings. Violent crime in the city was down 15 percent.
Domestic violence made up one-third of the 27 homicides in Portland in 2006, a slight increase from prior years. Obsessive jealousy, past abuse or an impending divorce marked many of these killings, police say.
The O article goes on to recount the horrific slaying of Claudia Rhone by her abusive ex-boyfriend this past May. You may recall, Ms. Rhone, who was unfortunately NOT an "influence peddler," was brutally slashed to death by her psycho ex while on the phone - for the third time - with 911 emergency operators. They heard her scream before the phone went dead. She was found with over a dozen stab wounds; the fatal blow to her heart. The tip of the butcher knife he used to slaughter her was lodged in her skull.
Ms. Rhone had a restraining order dating back to 2004 but apparently it had lapsed. [On a side note, I just have to say WTF?? Why would a restraining order lapse?? Because victims should have to worry about going to the (extensive) time and trouble of renewing them? Whom, exactly, are we protecting here?] Regardless, the cops had already been out to Ms. Rhone's house twice that day, the second time on a neighbor's report that psycho-boy was back with a knife.
The neighbor told a dispatcher: "I just thought I better call because he's not giving up. He's going to try to get in there and get at her again. I'm afraid."
Of course, before the cops got there, the freak fled - as he had the first two times they responded. The only difference was, that third time, the cops HAD to stick around. To attend to poor Ms. Rhone, no doubt all the while sadly shaking their heads in disbelief at the horror before them. According to the O: "The disturbing death left... police and county officials questioning what more they could have done."
Gosh. She should have just called Bernie.
And once again, as is so freaking typical in Oregon, the official response is to form yet another - you guessed it ladies and germs - formal review team! Hurray! Another study / review / stick-your-thumb-up-your-ass-and-do-nothing / critical response / commission / team! This one's called the county domestic violence fatality review. How impressive.
"A new state law gives counties authority to do domestic fatality reviews. The goal is to identify strategies to help prevent future violence. Multnomah County has set up a formal review team that will conduct annual reviews. This fiscal year, the county expects to complete two."
Let's save us all a lot of money. If you want to be safe from your ex, just fuck Bernie.
Or maybe you just gotta promise to. There was no evidence, after all. ;)
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