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Saturday, November 5, 2016

MS. PAIGE STVAN: VICTIM OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND FAMILY COURT ABUSE, PART V!

On Febrary 12, 2005, Ms. Paige Stvan's then husband, Mr. Thomas Stvan, yelled at her, telling her to "shut the fuck up", told her that she was "worthless" and continued to call her all sorts of names. Finally, he became extremely violent, grabbed a glass from her hand and crushed it on her head."  To protect herself, Ms. Stvan threatened to call the police, at which point her ex left the apartment and for some reason only known to him went to the police to preemptively report himself.  He was immediately arrested and an order of protection was issued on Ms. Paige Stvan's behalf.  

Needless to say, Ms. Paige Stvan is a victim of domestic violence.  This observation has been backed up by mental health professionals as follows:

Dr. Linda Gunsberg on Paige Stvan, "She has been going through a divorce and re-litigation until now and there is no end in sight.  Her ex-husband...is ruthless and will only stop when he has totally devastated Ms. [Stvan] financially and emotionally...As a result of this abusive marriage and endless Court appearances, Ms. [Stvan] is not only the victim of Domestic Violence, but also suffers from PTSD.  She lives in constant fear of what her ex-husband will do to her and her [child] next."  

Dr. Gunsberg's diagnosis?  Spouse Violence, Physical: V15.41 and Spouse Abuse, Psychological:  995.82.

Social Worker Ashley Adamson, "Ms. [Stvan] presents with a traumatic history of abuse and neglect [which includes] continuous Domestic Violence since her marriage to Mr. Thomas Stvan...With this in mind, treatment has focused on helping Ms. [Stvan] to understand how her past experiences with emotional and physical violence have impacted her current relationships...and to process...her sudden separation from her child after acting as the primary caregiver for the past twelve years."  

Ms. Adamson commends Ms. Stvan on her ability to "continue to advocate for herself despite constant accusations and hostility from her ex-husband."  

So how does it end up that at the same time that Ms. Paige Stvan receives treatment as the victim of domestic violence and remains currently a client of one of the State's well known domestic violence centers, Judge Gerald Adelman has Ms. Paige Steven down as a perpetrator, not a victim?  Let me make a stab at providing an answer to this puzzling phenomenon.  

Of course, we are all now well aware that the State of Connecticut has the highest dual arrest rate in the nation.  However, in addition to this, Ms. Stvan's case points to a  situation that has been well documented, for example, in a Forbes article by Jeff Landers who reports that abusers are "upending domestic violence laws" in order to get the upper hand in divorce.  As Landers put it, "this ploy is just as ugly as it sounds", "some men..[are getting their wives who are actually the victims] arrested, prosecuted and even sentenced as abusers."  Such men have learned to "reshape domestic violence laws into another weapon of abuse."  

In particular, the Women's Justice Center has posted information about how tougher domestic violence laws have inadvertently resulted in skyrocketing arrest rates of women for domestic violence to the point where arrests of women for domestic violence are now 30 to 40 percent greater than before.  

Another striking point this organization makes is that despite the higher arrest rates, the conviction rates for men versus women remain essentially the same.  While 90 to 95% of males arrested end up being convicted, only 6% of arrested women are convicted, essentially because there isn't sufficient evidence. Basically, they are innocent. According to the Women's Justice Center, this means that "in a significant number of these cases, the officers are mistakenly arresting the victim of domestic violence and not the perpetrator."  

In Ms. Paige Stvan's case this appears to be exactly what occurred.  

I have looked at a considerable amount of the documents filed in the Stvan v. Stvan case.  What strikes me in general is how, at every juncture, Ms. Paige Stvan sought co-parenting therapy, suggested mediation, spoke out about resolving conflicts between the parents for the best interests of the child, attempted to avoid confrontations, avoided calling the police or in any way attempting to get her ex in trouble.  

In contrast, Mr. Thomas Stvan used every single opportunity he could find to report Ms. Stvan to authorities whenever he had the chance.  Simply reading one of his court motions demonstrates an individual who is condemnatory at every turn, mean spirited, harsh, judgmental and blaming.  This is hardly how you speak in regard to the mother of your child, particularly the one who, for the better part, has almost single handedly raised her for 12 years.  

Going beyond that, there is the record of the case itself when it comes to economic abuse.  Clearly, the Stvan's were used to a wealthy style of life.  They had an apartment close to Central Park worth at least $1 million, most likely considerably more.  Mr. Stvan earned a six digit salary while working in the publishing industry for 30 years, and clearly had some family money which helped make their lives even more comfortable.  Ms. Paige Stvan was primarily a homemaker who took care of their child.   

Mr. Thomas Stvan's financial position was sufficiently solid that, at the time that the couple separated in 2008, the Court felt it was reasonable for him to pay monthly support of $4,500 as well as the mortgage for their apartment (As a side note, the couple obtained a legal separation in 2008, and then divorced in 2013).  The agreement also included a provision that would allow Ms Page Stvan and her child to remain in the apartment until the child turned 18.

Still, in the years leading up to that financial agreement and subsequently, Mr. Thomas Stvan regularly withheld and randomized these payments, making sure that Ms. Paige Stvan and her daughter's lives were perilous and uncertain.  Ms. Stvan could never be sure when her ex's failure to pay would lead her to default on her mortgage, when the lack of financial support, or a circumstance where her ex's decision to empty out the bank account, would force her to lean on her credit cards.  

Then Mr. Stvan met and presumably married his current wife, an attorney who worked in civil litigation and who is now a real estate investor.  From then on the situation went from bad to worse.  Starting in 2012, Mr. Stvan returned to court and asked to have his financial obligations to Ms. Paige Stvan lowered.  From that time on, the Court lowered and lowered his obligation until in 2015 it was reduced to nothing.  His way of doing this was the always the same.  Each time Mr. Thomas Stvan would report Ms. Paige Stvan to the police for one concocted excuse or another, and then he would simultaneously go to Court to request a reduction in his payments and, due to his repeated, yet unfounded, claims of being a victim, he would end up being successful.  He also continued to harass Ms. Stvan by repeatedly requesting that the police make wellness visits to check up on their daughter, as well as reporting her to CPS.

As a consequence of this constant emotional and financial pressure, naturally, Ms. Paige Stvan ended up in counseling.  Once that was so, Mr. Stvan then began to use the fact that she was in counseling to accuse her of mental illness in all of his Court documents.  At every court hearing, whenever the police were called (and Mr. Stvan called the police frequently), at every CPS investigation, Mr. Thomas Stvan would tell elaborate stories about how he was a victim of domestic violence and how his ex wife was seriously mentally ill, and with every hearing these stories would become more and more elaborate.  Since Mr. Thomas Stvan was not required to provide any documentary or testimonial evidence to support his lurid tales, he simply got away with it, and one success inevitably built upon that next.    

In one situation, on February 8, 2013, Mr. Stvan had Paige Stvan arrested by claiming that she had broken his glasses and headphone during an argument outside their apartment building.  What is interesting is the wording of the complaint where the police officer stated repeatedly, "I am informed by Thomas Stvan".  There was nothing in the report to indicate that police had checked with Ms. Paige Stvan to obtain her side of the story, and her perspective wasn't included in the report. 

As it turned out, in that situation, because Thomas Stvan insisted upon pressing charges, police handcuffed Ms. Paige Stvan's wrists in front of her daughter before she was taken to the police station.  Then when they arrived at the police station, Mr. Stvan informed the police that his ex-wife had mental illness and so the police, as a matter of regulations, handcuffed her feet as well.  Then since it was Friday and the Court wasn't in session until Monday, Ms. Stvan was then held in a prison cell for the entire weekend.  

Predictably, these charges were ultimately dropped.  On another, very similar, occasion Mr. Thomas Stvan had Paige Stvan arrested for not obeying a court order she'd never seen before, and that the judicial marshal had not even delivered to her yet.  This is the power of Mr. Thomas Stvan to persuade people to do his bidding.  Later, again, these charges were dropped.

However, the fact that the Court decided not to follow up by prosecuting these incidents doesn't appear to matter.   Mr. Thomas Stvan could now claim, as he did in subsequent court hearings, that Ms. Paige Stvan had been previously arrested for domestic violence against him, and for disobeying court orders.  At the behest of Mr. Thomas Stvan, after the 2013 incident, based upon mere allegations, the Court granted Mr. Thomas Stvan a restraining order, custody of his daughter and supervised visitation for Ms. Paige Stvan until the outcome of a CPS investigation, which of course, he instigated by claiming his daughter was present during the incident when, in fact, she hadn't been.  During the entire incident the child was inside the apartment building far away from where it took place.  Of course, it didn't seem to bother police or Mr. Stvan when Paige Stvan was arrested and placed in handcuffs in front of the child.

Again, at that time, during the CPS investigation, caseworkers heard ominous reports of Ms. Paige Stan's mental health status and tendency towards violence from Mr. Stvan, all of which were ultimately found insignificant as Ms. Paige Stvan's parental rights were fully restored five months later.  

Of course, even if Ms. Stvan was cleared of allegations of child abuse, this did not stop Mr. Thomas Stvan from telling the court during his next hearing that his ex wife had been investigated by CPS for child abuse.  

Interestingly enough, when you look at the timing of these attacks on Ms. Paige Stvan they usually parallel a situation where Mr. Thomas Stvan wanted to force Ms. Stvan into an agreement she might not want to sign.  For instance, the arrest and destructive aftermath of the alleged incident re the eyeglasses occurred when Mr. Stvan sought to force Paige Stvan to agree to the sale of her apartment.  A month after Paige Stvan signed the sale papers, she got her daughter back.  

If I can see this pattern so easily, I'm not sure why it is so hard for Attorney Rosa Rebimbas to see it if she makes a proper investigation.  I saw it and nobody's paying me thousands of dollars to figure it out.  

I also want to make the observation that it appears to me that men obtain restraining orders for frivolous reasons, in contrast to women for whom judges raise the bar very high.  For instance, in the arrest on February 8, 2013 the allegation was "Paige broke my glasses."  On June 25, 2015, Mr. Thomas Stvan obtained another restraining order by claiming Ms. Paige Stvan made a few off color remarks to him.  

Do folks remember how Arianne Oyola was unable to obtain a restraining order after reporting that the father of her child pushed and shoved her, violated a prior restraining order twice, threatened to kill her, dismember her body and destroy it with acid, and interfered with her access to her child?  Now that is a credible domestic violence complaint, not the silly nonsense Mr. Thomas Svan came up with.  You have to have a child tossed off a bridge to his death to remind Judges of their responsibility towards women experiencing intimate partner violence.  Men, however, all they have to say is, "She gave me a boo boo." and court professionals roll out the red carpet.  

Throughout this process, Ms. Paige Taylor was represented by a series of attorneys who did nothing to defend her and sucked out of her as much money as they could get without lifting a finger.  This is also a very common experience that abused women have.  While many attorneys will work for men on a sliding scale or establish a payment agreement, for women, particularly those dealing with domestic violence, attorneys want all their money in cash up front.  This gross disparity in the quality of legal representation speaks volumes in regard to why intimate partner violence persists and why so many thousands of women remain trapped in these abusive relationships.  In this situation it affected a vulnerable mother and child who had no defense from a legal system that refused to enforce the law and ensure their safety and wellbeing.  

In his final act of abuse, on September 25, 2015, Mr. Thomas Stvan wrested their child from Ms. Paige Stvan's custody during a rigged legal proceeding where the mother was denied an evidentiary hearing, and then cut off from all access to her child.  As Ms. Stvan explains, during their entire marriage, Mr. Stvan was always able to control her because he would threaten to take her child and never let her see the child again.  As it turns out, even though Paige Stvan did all she could to cooperate with her ex, this is exactly what he did.  

Mr. Thomas Stvan claims that he is the victim.  But how could that be true?  He is the one who no longer has to make any support payments to his ex wife a mere two years after their 2013 divorce.  He is the one who now has sole custody of their child and has been able to cut the mother off from all access.  Only abusers do stuff like that. 

1 comment:

  1. Variations of the theme abound nationally but the Stvan case is a top deciler in terms of atrocities. The worst involve males with significant legal experience knowing the intricacies of family court/law coupled with deep pockets. What's not realized, unless you've experienced it, is that ANY perpetrator al la Stvan in a public service (unionized) job be it a fireman et al automatically receives favorable treatment/benefits of doubt in abuse cases, especially from law enforcement a la good old boys network run totally amuck..

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