Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The McNair affair: Don't call it 'domestic violence'

July 14, 2009

By Carey Roberts

Am I the only one who is disturbed by the double-standard that permeates the media coverage of Steve McNair's shooting death?

On July 4 the former NFL star was killed by girlfriend Sahel Kazemi. McNair was shot as he lay asleep on his couch, first in the left temple, twice in the chest, and finally in his right temple.

So why are the news media stubbornly refusing to put the words "Steve McNair" and "domestic violence" in the same sentence? And where are all the hand-wringers who reflexively shriek we need to break the shroud of silence that surrounds partner abuse?

On July 2 a distraught Kazemi met an acquaintance in the parking lot of the restaurant where she worked. For $100, the 20-year-old woman found herself the new owner of a fully-loaded 9mm semiautomatic pistol.

The following day Kazemi told a co-worker, "my life is a ball of ****, and I should just end it." Leaving the restaurant, the Iranian-American went home, then drove over to McNair's downtown apartment in the Cadillac Escalade the former NFL quarterback had given her. McNair was not home, so she awaited his arrival.

McNair returned to his apartment between 1:30 and 2am. We do not know what words the two exchanged, or what time he eventually fell asleep. When the police arrived at the scene of the crime, there was no evidence that McNair had raised his hands to ward off the shots, confirming the theory that he was asleep at the time.

So what did the media do with the story?

A July 6 article in the New York Times conjectured the incident may have been a "double homicide or part of a murder-suicide." But no mention of domestic violence.

A July 8 story from ESPN relied on artful phrasing to sidestep the dreaded "DV" words. Police "waited for further tests and the revelations about Kazemi's personal problems before concluding that she pulled the trigger," ESPN explained.

Excuse me, but what do revelations about someone's personal life have to do with figuring out whether she pulled the trigger?

By the following day, the rehabilitation of Ms. Kazemi had shifted into high gear. An article in the Washington Post was crafted to evoke the reader's sympathy, informing us she was "increasingly tormented by a rush of personal problems" and "her life was falling apart."

So while the Washington Post article took pains to highlight Kazemi's emotional turmoil, it glossed over how well Steve McNair was coping with the injuries that sidelined him during most of his previous season with the Baltimore Ravens, and how he was coming to terms with his recent retirement following 13 years in the harsh glare of the National Football League.

Domestic violence workers will insist until they're blue in the face that domestic violence is the consequence of patriarchal oppression. As such, women are constitutionally indisposed to resort to such nefarious actions, they claim.

So when women deep-six their boyfriends and husbands, their apologists turn to the thread-bare excuse that she was only acting in self-defense. But in this case the self-defense ploy doesn't fit. Kazemi had bought the gun two days before, she pursued her prey to his apartment, and he was aslumber when she squeezed the trigger.

If the self-defense argument doesn't fly, then go to Plan B — the "he had it coming" excuse. While I certainly don't condone infidelity, there are lots of women I know who have strayed from the straight and narrow. Somehow I don't remember anyone insulting their memory with a "she had it coming" comment.

McNair threw for 174 touchdowns and more than 31,000 yards. His extraordinary skill and exuberant passion for the sport inspired a generation. So let's take a collective deep breath and utter these mournful words: "Former NFL star Steve McNair was a victim of domestic violence, killed at the hand of a spiteful girlfriend."

© Carey Roberts


Fathers 4 Justice Canada ~ Jailed for Being a Dad

1-888-F4J Canada

Press release

Contact: Kris Titus
Phone: 1-888-345-2262 ext.703

July 14, 2009

For Immediate Release July 14, 2009
Jailed for Being a Dad
Alienated father tells the court, "No Kids, No Money"

An F4J Fathers 4 Justice member has gone to jail for 20 days for his independent protest and refusal to pay child support arrears for children he has, by the courts own admittance, been alienated from.

Richard Coulter, 47, of Cookstown, ON was yesterday sent to Central North Correctional Facility, for telling the court, "No kids, No money."

Mr. Coulter has seen his children once in 5 years, despite repeated attempts to try to maintain contact.

While Mr. Coulter has fallen behind in child support, moneys owed to him for the division of the matrimonial home are yet to be paid, and his access was never enforced.

In his speech to Justice Mulligan today, Richard said, "Your system allowed this person, not only to dismantle the family, but you also gave her the authority and allowed her to make me homeless, fatherless, childless and jobless."

In a recent order of April 6th, Justice Guy Ditomaso said, "Further, his children were alienated by _____ in that he was never able to see them and for this reason, his ability to pay child support was also impacted."

Kris Titus, National Coordinator of F4J Fathers 4 Justice says, "Although we don't recommend our members to take this type of action, we know how Mr. Coulter and his new spouse feel. This is what happens when the system is just too imbalanced for both parents to survive and thrive after divorce. We hear from a lot of second families and fathers just struggling to feed themselves after support payments."

The group has concerns for Mr. Coulter's welfare as the prison is otherwise known as Penetang Super Jail and houses 1500 inmates. The prison has previously been clouded by contraversy and health and safety issues including the death of a prisoner.

F4J Fathers 4 Justice Canada believes the best 'child support' is equal parenting. "It is important that parents are allowed to support their children in all ways, physically, spiritually, and emotionally, as well as financially," says Titus. "People are just plain fed up."

Studies have shown that those who see their children regularly more frequently keep their child support obligations.

CONTACT: Canada National Coordinator, Kris Titus 1-888-345-2262 ext. 703

National Website for more information about F4J Fathers 4 Justice Canada Canada: www.f4jcanada.ca

National Action website: www.f4jcanada.com

Kids recant abuse claims after dad jailed 20 years

Words just fail me over stories like this. No doubt the ex in this case was a member of this so-called Protective Parents Association which supplies cover for lying and abusive spouses out to seek revenge. They have legislative representatives like Jim Beall, on the left, in their back pocket who tried to get a bill passed outlawing the use of Parental Alienation Syndrome in California courts. Beall is a schmuck and dangerous to both children and implicitly offers support to child abusers like the ex in this case. It makes me so frustrated at the waste of this man's life rotting in jail over a woman who Parentally Alienated the most precious gifts she would ever have to get revenge. I hope he sues the state and the ex.MJM

The Huffington Post

July 11, 2009 07:22 PM EST |

VANCOUVER, Wash. — Former Vancouver police officer Clyde Ray Spencer spent nearly 20 years in prison after he was convicted of sexually molesting his son and daughter. Now, the children say it never happened.

Matthew Spencer and Kathryn Tetz, who live in Sacramento, Calif., each took the stand Friday in Clark County Superior Court to clear their father's name, The Columbian newspaper reported.

Matthew, now 33, was 9 years old at the time. He told a judge he made the allegation after months of insistent questioning by now-retired Clark County sheriff's detective Sharon Krause just so she would leave him alone.

Tetz, 30, said she doesn't remember what she told Krause back in 1985, but she remembers Krause buying her ice cream. She said that when she finally read the police reports she was "absolutely sure" the abuse never happened.

"I would have remembered something that graphic, that violent," Tetz said.

Spencer's sentence was commuted by then-Gov. Gary Locke in 2004 after questions arose about his conviction. Among other problems, prosecutors withheld medical exams that showed no evidence of abuse, even though Krause claimed the abuse was repeated and violent.

Despite the commutation, Spencer remains a convicted sex offender. He is hoping to have the convictions overturned.

Krause declined an interview request from The Columbian in 2005 and could not be reached Friday, the newspaper reported.

Both children said that while growing up in California they were told by their mother, who divorced Spencer before he was charged, that they were blocking out the memory of the abuse.
They said they realized as adults the abuse never happened, and they came forward because it was the right thing to do.

Prosecutors aren't yet conceding that Spencer was wrongly convicted. Senior deputy prosecutor Kim Farr grilled the children about why they are so certain they weren't abused, and chief criminal deputy prosecutor Dennis Hunter said that if the convictions are tossed, his office might appeal to the state Supreme Court.
Matthew Spencer said his father had ruined the relationship with his mother and he had faults, "but none of them were molesting children."

Friday's hearing paved the way for the state Court of Appeals to allow Spencer to withdraw the no-contest pleas he entered in 1985 and have his convictions vacated. Both children had previously filed statements with the appeals court, but the judges required the hearing to ensure their new testimony held up under cross-examination.

Spencer, 61, hugged his son and daughter afterward while a dozen supporters cheered.

"For so many years, nothing went right," he said. "When things keep going right, I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop."

The hardest thing about his ordeal was missing his children, he said.

"They were my life, and they were taken away from me," he said. "I could serve in prison. ..."

His voice trailed off, and his son came up for one more hug.


Appeal bid as Fathers 4 Justice man awaits sentencing

By Clare Alexander
July 14, 2009

LAWYERS representing the Fathers 4 Justice protester who brought the M25 in Surrey to a standstill have lodged an appeal against his conviction.

Geoffrey Hibbert, from Farnborough, is due to be sentenced at Harrow Crown Court on Thursday.

He was remanded in custody last month after being found guilty of causing a public nuisance and endangering motorists.

The desperate father, of Clayton Road, spent more than eight hours dressed as Batman at junction 14 of the motorway near Stanwell, causing tailbacks stretching back for 55 miles on August 15 last year.

Fathers 4 Justice launched a petition after the 49-year-old was remanded in custody in June. It has been signed by 67 people.

Members of the campaign group, which lobbies for better child access rights for fathers, are expected to be in the public gallery at Thursday’s hearing but, at the request of Hibbert's family, have agreed not to protest.


Hibbert was also said to have ended his hunger strike at Wormwood Scrubs on Monday. Fathers 4 Justice claimed he had only been accepting fluids at the prison.

A spokeswoman for Hibbert’s solicitors, Jung & Co, confirmed they had lodged an appeal against his conviction, which will not be heard until after he is sentenced.

If the appeal was successful, the spokeswoman said they would then appeal against the sentence.

Ron Reid, Hibbert’s best friend, said: "I can’t believe it has come to this. Geoff has been my best friend for 24 years and I have never seen him so broken. All he wants to do is see his daughter.”