I’ve written many times about mere allegations of domestic violence being used to force – or attempt to force – elected office holders from office. Domestic violence establishment figures tend to assume that every allegation is true and therefore, regardless of the facts of any individual case, they expect us to do the same. More importantly, they frankly believe that if a man is charged with domestic violence, that and that alone should be sufficient to thwart the will of the people who voted him into office. That is, they never seem to want the people to decide in the next election whether the allegations against him warrant removing him from office.
That’s been the pattern in a couple of Arizona cases, one in New York and, most recently, the Ross Mirkarimi case in San Francisco. Mirkarimi is Sheriff there, duly elected to serve in that capacity. But late last year, he and his wife had a minor set-to in which he may have grabbed her by the upper arm. He eventually pleaded no contest to the lesser charge of false imprisonment, meaning that he kept her from leaving a room for an undisclosed period of time. (Any amount of time, even a single second, can give rise to a charge of false imprisonment.) Now, few would pretend that what Mirkarimi did was a serious or dangerous act. It’s not ideal conduct, to be sure, but his wife sustained nothing more than a slight bruise and has always said she trusts and loves her husband and has never feared him.
Despite all that, domestic violence activists are to this day hard about the task of getting Mirkarimi out of office. Does his behavior truly warrant removal from office? To me, the very notion indicates an entire lack of balance and perspective. In all cases, the punishment should fit the crime. What other jobs should Mirkarimi be disqualified from holding because he once allegedly grabbed his wife’s arm?
Whatever the answers to those questions are, this case is a new twist on an old plot (Bangor Daily News, 12/21/12). In it, Ellsworth, Maine City Councilman Michael Boucher has abandoned his elected post and gone into hiding in another part of the state to avoid the continued domestic violence of his wife, Cynthia. Cynthia is a serial abuser, and the pair have a young daughter.
Incidents of domestic violence have caused former Ellsworth City Councilor Michael Boucher to resign from the council and leave the city, according to court documents.So Cynthia has at least two DV charges against her that she’s either admitted to or for which she’s out of jail on bail. Given that the first case is still pending, it obviously occurred in the fairly recent past. How many others there are is anyone’s guess, but two facts suggest there are several at least. First, Cynthia lost custody of their daughter; a mother rarely loses custody without some serious and proven bad behavior on her part. Second, Michael quit his post as City Councilman and left town just to get away from his wife. That’s a pretty extreme thing to do, and strongly suggests Cynthia has attacked him and/or their daughter many times.
Boucher tendered his resignation effective Dec. 1 at a meeting in November. In his resignation letter, he said he had made the decision to leave Ellsworth, with his young daughter, and move to western Maine.
In the letter, Boucher said he felt compelled to leave the council because of repeated incidents of domestic abuse at the hands of his wife, Cynthia Boucher.
According to an affidavit filed by Ellsworth Police Officer Amie Torrey, Boucher was treated at Maine Coast Memorial Hospital on Aug. 8 after his wife had thrown a spatula at him, striking him in the face. Torrey met with Michael Boucher at the hospital, where she saw two lacerations on the bridge of his nose. He told her that he was concerned his nose was broken.
Cynthia Boucher pleaded no contest in November to charges that she had assaulted her husband back in August. In a plea agreement, a charge of domestic-violence assault was dropped to regular assault. She also was found guilty of violation of bail conditions stemming from a previous domestic violence incident against Boucher that took place in Washington County.
But there’s more to this story than just what’s happened so far. What didn’t happen may be more significant than what did.
DA Carletta Bassano Lenient on Female Serial Domestic Violence OffenderNotice that this all happened in Ellsworth, Maine. Where have we heard that name before? Oh, that’s right, it’s the same town in which we’ve previously found prosecutor Mary Kellett, working hand-in-glove with District Attorney Carletta Bassano, to railroad into prison every man accused of, well, pretty much anything.
Kellett is the Assistant DA, supervised by Bassano, who’s been recommended for license suspension by the Maine State Bar because of her outrageous conduct in the Vladek Filler case. There she took to trial a rape allegation by Filler’s ex-wife that any reasonable prosecutor would have tossed into the circular file the day it was made. When that case was ultimately dismissed, Bassano’s office threw the book at Filler for allegedly pouring a glass of water on his wife. For that heinous crime, Filler was tagged with a 21-day sentence. But Kellett’s wrongdoing goes back a lot further than just the Filler case. Stop Abusive and Violent Environments (S.A.V.E.) shows that there are some six prior cases in which Kellett took a case to trial against a male defendant with little or no evidence against him.
So how did Bassano deal with multiple abuser Cynthia Boucher? She reduced the charges against her and let her walk after spending just a weekend in jail.
Michael Boucher explained his decision to stop serving on the City Council and move away as being “in his daughter’s ‘best interest, in order to remove her from the chaos and protect her more effectively.’” That’s probably a good thing for him to do. He sounds like a man with his priorities well in order. Boucher obviously wanted to serve the people of Ellsworth and they obviously wanted him to. But, when faced with a choice of his career or his daughter’s well-being, he made the right decision. A father like him can pick up the pieces wherever he is, but the damage done to a little girl by her violent mother may be lifelong.
But Carletta Bassano doesn’t see it that way. For her, a tap on the wrist for a multiple domestic abuser – if that person is a woman – is all that’s required. That Cynthia Boucher may well be a danger to her child looks like no big deal to the District Attorney of Ellsworth, Maine.