One Step Back, Keep Moving Forward

It’s been a roller coaster of a week on multiple levels for me.  I do have a full-time job and I am a single mom with two great kids as well as spearheading the fight on this case and advocating for my cause.  Earlier in the week I had to deal with some residual issues leftover from my marriage at a really inopportune time which inconvenienced two days.  On Thursday I had to go back to court for a hearing on my restraining order against William Jordan.  I had worked all night the night before, went home and tried to take a small nap before having to head to the courthouse in the afternoon.  I received an email from my attorney’s secretary saying that there has been a last-minute judge change from the one that I had dealt with the last three hearing dates that we have encountered to date.  Somehow I didn’t hear my alarm going off for nearly 40 minutes!  I had less than 20 minutes to get up, dressed, coiffed and out the door.  I was feeling frazzled and a bit off since I had to rush through everything. When I got there, I saw my attorney speaking to a woman.   My amazing friend Joyce Short had come down from NYC to support me in my hearing.  She, herself, was deceived by a man who represented himself to be not who he was and wrote a book about it: Carnal Abuse by Deception.   She has extensive knowledge about the laws in various areas in terms of rape by deception and was the one to tell me that it could be recognized in New Jersey as a consensual act.

My attorney came back to me to say that Jordan was willing to sign a Civil Restraining Order which is not as concrete as the one for domestic violence.  It wouldn’t offer me the same protections.  If he were to contact me with the Civil Order I could use that as proof of harassment to then obtain ANOTHER domestic violence restraining order.  I told my attorney no, that I wanted the full protections and was willing to fight for it.  Roughly a half hour later we were called into court.

Judge John Tomasello who is a recall judge was hearing our case.  My attorney started my argument and I was sworn in before testimony.  We started to go over the background and all of the lies that were told to me.  The judge stopped him about 5 minutes in and asked him to get to the point.  He seemed annoyed and possibly even bored.  With some of my testimony he rolled his eyes.  I knew in that moment that I didn’t have a shot because he had already rendered his judgment and it wasn’t going to change no matter what I had said. I tried to now show my dismay across my face but I could feel the worry creep into crease lines in my forehead.  He called both attorneys to the bench to discuss the merits of what constitutes the ability of me to be able to appraise my own actions.  Back from the bench, my attorney told Judge Tomasello that given all of the information that I had at that time, I was UNABLE to appraise my actions since I had no idea who on earth I was engaging in a relationship with.  His entire existence was fabricated to me for months which turned into over a year.  My attorney continued to say that the law did not state as to how I could be mentally incapable of appraising my behavior, that the law didn’t specifically state via alcohol or drugs, but by ANY means which does not have the exception of deception.  The judge said that these were more examples of MY behaviour and not so much the behavior of William Jordan’s behavior.  I was aghast.  He said that if we followed these rules then there would be a lot of college boys in trouble.  Really?  Did he just liken Will Jordan’s behavior to that of some college frat boy trying to get laid by lying to a girl?  By some college guy in a bar using a pick up line?  Judge Tomasello ruled against me stating that it didn’t meet the criteria to permit him to grant it.  I was shocked.  I walked out with the victim’s advocate before anyone else, not wanting to see the smug look on the judge’s face. There is a small conference room right outside of the door and not wanting anyone to see the upset or tears on my face, I ducked into there. Joyce and my attorney soon followed.  Will Jordan’s attorney called my attorney out and again offered the Civil Restraing Order but without any other choice behind me I had to accept.  I felt sick in my stomach.  At least I still had the no contact order as a condition of bail which he still had failed to come up with.  I know he is going to have a bail hearing coming soon yet again since due process allows him to have one every 30 days.  Once we had done our conference all together, exited all together.  My attorney apologized for not getting it passed, but we knew that it was a little bit of a stretch.  This is where the law works against victims.  I basically have to wait to see if he has an ax to grind after he gets out of jail, stalks me or my children or heaven forbid harasses or hurts one of us before something can be done.  I don’t have the luxury of moving out of the country of him being deported like his last conviction.  I will still be here and unless he plans on moving out of the area which I highly doubt, at least not in the immediate time afterwards, especially if he needs to have a probationary period afterwards.

I was exhausted.  Physically, emotionally.  I was really upset at the outcome of the day but there was relief that it was over.  I didn’t have to see him again for quite a while. Bail hearings were done via video conference and the monitor faces the court and the attorneys, not the audience. There was no postponing, no more court dates in the near future.  I thanked Joyce immensely for all of her support these past couple of months.  She reminded me that we may have lost the battle, but we still have to fight the war.  She is incredibly right.  I needed to look at the big picture and not get lost in that moment.  I needed to remember that my fight is far from over and I needed to remind myself of when I first went to the police with my case and my story.  How I said that I was willing to try to set a precedent and wade through uncharted waters to make rape by deception a newfound legal term but with certain parameters.  Even I realize the need for there to be explicit terminology so that it can’t be a law that is abused for things that are arbitrary.

Once I got to my car, the tears started to flow.  I was tired, I was emotional and angry.  I didn’t want anyone to see me in that state and made sure that I had myself together before I walked through the door to the house.  By then my daughter was home from school and I soon had to pick my son up from daycare.  They needed a strong mom and so I had to compartmentalize everything for a few hours.   Sleep eluded me that night and the sleep that I did get was riddled with oddly bizarre, frustrating and scary dreams.  I can’t believe it’s been nearly 4 months since I found out the truth and almost 2 months since he was arrested.  In some ways it seems like a lifetime ago and in other ways it feels like yesterday.

When I woke up I had a variety of emails, Facebook messages and text messages that were uplifting, supportive and reminders of my cause.  People who were amazed at my strength and courage.  Most times I don’t feel all that strong or courageous.  Just someone who was wronged and wanted to make sure that this never happened again to anyone else, at least not in the near future. To educate his other victims that he could have had over the last 4 years and lend them the same sort of support that others have given to me.   Joyce had written about my day in court in a much more animated and vocal way than I did.  She was absolutely livid about how I was treated.  Her article can be read here: Judge In William Allen Jordan Case

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