hidden half of domestic violence
to have eternal life
More Restraining Order
In an example of the
poor judgment common to men and women when an affair falls apart, the evening
of Thursday, May 10, 2001, Speaker of the Colorado House Doug Dean, age 40,
went to the house of TAP Pharmaceuticals lobbyist Gloria Sanak, age 35, to
retrieve personal items. He had been living in her Denver home for some
months, but their affair ended on May 9th according to news reports, and she
had changed the locks and put his belongings outside.
According to his published statements, as he was going through his possessions
on the lawn, he found some items missing, e.g., the charger for his cell
phone. Because Ms. Sanak had changed the locks, Dean used a screwdriver to pry
open a basement window in order to retrieve his missing personal effects from
inside a house he had recently lived in. Probably not a smart move but a
practical solution many men would likely take to getting their property back
in a similar situation.
Unfortunately, while Dean was in the house he had recently occupied, Ms. Sanak
came home at about 11:30 P.M. Understandably, Ms. Sanak was somewhat
frightened to find someone in her house, and it would appear his attempts at
an explanation went awry.
As a result she fled to a
neighbor's house with Dean behind her, apparently screwdriver still in hand.
Police were called via her cell phone. When the police arrived, both Dean and
Sanak told officers there were no "threats, coercion, violence,
intimidation, control or revenge" between the two and no arrest was
made despite a state law requiring that action in all domestic violence
been determined, even at the strictest interpretation of this law, is that
this particular incident did not fall under the parameters necessary to make
an arrest under the domestic violence policy,"
said Denver detective Virginia Lopez. Police Chief Gerald Whitman found it was
done by the book, Lopez said.
However, on Friday, May
11th, Ms. Sanak went to court and requested a restraining order, claiming Dean
climbed a locked fence and broke into her home. Sanak stated in her request
for the restraining order that: "He waited in the dark 30 minutes
until I arrived home. He had a screwdriver in his hand. He chased me down the
street to a neighbor's house and refused to leave until the police escorted
him out." However, officers were not given that information at the
scene, Denver police spokeswoman Virginia Lopez said.
Exercising a woman's
prerogative, Gloria Sanak changed her mind, and asked that the order be
dropped Tuesday, May 15th. She gave no explanation in court, but said in
papers filed with the clerk that Dean had "peaceably moved his
property" out of her house since the order was issued. In a brief
hearing Tuesday morning, Judge Campbell told Sanak he was honoring her request
because he is "always reluctant to stand in the way" of an alleged
After the restraining order was vacated, questions arose over why the Colorado
Springs lawmaker, one of the state's highest-ranking political leaders, wasn't
arrested under the state's domestic violence law. Police, armed with
information Sanak included in the order, say they're now reviewing the case to
see if any laws were broken.
Because Dean was not arrested when police responded to the house of Sanak's
neighbor Thursday morning, long standing concerns about the enforcement of
Colorado's domestic violence statutes, which are among the strongest in the
country, were again raised.
Noting that according to
the restraining order filed, Dean was alleged to have chased Ms. Sanak down
the street to a neighbor's house and refused to leave until police showed up,
Rita Smith, executive director of the Denver-based National Coalition Against
Domestic Violence, and feminist factoid producer-extraordinary, stated:
"That action alone was enough to arrest him under Colorado's
mandatory-arrest domestic-violence law." Continuing, she intoned:
"At one point she felt threatened enough to run away from him. I think
that's clearly an issue of domestic violence," she said. "They don't
give out restraining orders without cause. There's something going on there.
Normally people don't chase you down the street. It's not common
Apparently Ms. Smith has never been in love, nor witnessed the incredibly
stupid things people do when smitten.
Dean apologized Tuesday,
May 15th, to members of the Colorado House for "any
embarrassment" the episode may have caused. With Sanak, a dishwater
blonde, sitting silently beside him and looking rather shopworn, Dean later
gave a brief statement to reporters: "We consider this a personal
matter; we ask that you respect our privacy. There was no violence, there was
no attempted violence, there was no threat of violence; there were no charges
filed; there was no law broken by anyone," Dean said. Neither of them
answered any questions. But "Now that we have information that we
didn't have before, we need to start all over," said Denver police
Lt. Gary Lauricella, commander of the domestic violence unit.
Further police action in
this case would simply act to compound the human problems and frailties so
evident in both Dean's and Sanak's behavior.
For newspaper articles on
this story see:
Denver Post http://www.denverpost.com/Stories/0,1002,61%257E34451,00.html
Rocky Mountain News http://www.rockymountainnews.com/drmn/local/article/0,1299,DRMN_15_486764,00.html
Colorado Springs Gazette http://www.gazette.com/daily/top2.html
Charles E. Corry, Ph.D., F.G.S.A.
455 Bear Creek Road
Colorado Springs, CO 80906-5820
Home page: http://www.pcisys.net/~ccorry
Domestic Violence Against Men: http://www.dvmen.org
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is Domestic Violence Against Men Awareness Month