NPO publishes blog articles to inform and to stimulate conversation about issues of importance to NPO's mission.  All blog articles express the opinions of the authors as individuals and do not necessarily reflect the views of National Parents Organization, its Board of Directors, or its executives.  

July 17, 2013 by Robert Franklin, Esq.

Six years ago, Assistant District Attorney of Hancock County, Maine, Mary Kellett, used the awesome power of the state on behalf of a woman who was seeking custody of her two children. Ligia Filler was afraid that, in her impending divorce from husband Vladek Filler, she’d lose custody of her children. She was right. Ligia Filler did lose custody of her children for the good and sufficient reason that she was a mentally unbalanced woman with a propensity for harming the kids. When it came to it, the Hancock County family court had no trouble deciding who was the better parent and awarded primary custody to Vladek.

What the family court and child welfare workers recognized – that Vladek Filler is a fine and loving parent and that Ligia is a danger to herself and her children – escaped Mary Kellett completely. Or, it may not have escaped her; she may have seen it clearly, but went to bat for Ligia anyway. If the latter, she not only used the power of her office to hound an innocent man, but she used it to attempt to keep innocent children in an abusive environment. Whatever she knew, it seems clear that Mary Kellett acted on the basis of a misandric worldview. This is a woman who seems to use state power to conduct personal vendettas against men. The Filler case is far from the only one in which this tendency has apparently come to light.

While the family court was awarding custody to Vladek, based firmly on his fitness as a loving and capable father, Mary Kellett was violating numerous ethical codes as well as due process of law in her headlong effort to get Vladek behind bars. She had absolutely nothing to go on except the word of an emotionally impaired woman, Ligia Filler. So, with no evidence of her own, Kellett figured the best way to win was to deny exculpatory evidence to Vladek and his attorney. Despite being asked numerous times by attorney Daniel Pileggi for various police reports, interviews, recordings and the like, Kellett refused to produce them, in violation of Maine law and the ethical requirements of prosecutors everywhere. Ordered by the judge to produce the material, she still refused. At one point she even went so far as to order the police to refuse to turn over information the defense was plainly entitled to. That probably constitutes criminal conduct, i.e. tampering with a witness.

Over some three years, Vladek Filler fought the power of the State of Maine wielded by Mary Kellett and her boss Carletta Bassano. Although he was eventually convicted of a misdemeanor, again for which there was no evidence but the word of Ligia Filler, Vladek remained undeterred. He filed a complaint with the Maine State Bar asking that Mary Kellett’s multiple violations of ethical codes and criminal procedure result in her disbarment. The Maine Committee of Bar Overseers ruled that she had committed seven separate ethical violations and recommended discipline.

This past Monday, the level of discipline was decided by a single Maine Supreme Court justice, Ellen Gorman. Agreeing to a plea bargain between Kellett and the Bar, Gorman ruled that Kellett’s license to practice should be suspended for a mere 30 days and that suspension should itself be suspended. In other words, Mary Kellett received no discipline whatsoever for her Javert-like hounding of an innocent man and her many violations of the code of conduct for prosecutors. She got off scot-free. This isn’t a slap on the wrist, it’s a caress with the softest of feathers.

Keep in mind that Mary Kellett looks very much like a serial offender. Records reflect at least half a dozen previous cases in which she’s brought allegations of sexual misconduct against men that were either dismissed or the men were acquitted by juries in record time. A clear look at Mary Kellett seems to show a woman who believes every word of what’s taught in Women’s Studies courses – that men are walking rape machines who must be stopped at any cost and that no woman ever lies about rape or sexual abuse. Those falsehoods are one thing in the mind of a professor at a small college somewhere; they’re something else entirely in the mind of an assistant district attorney who wields state power to bring criminal charges or not. My guess is that Mary Kellett has never seen claim of a sex offense that she didn’t think meritorious. After all, if Ligia Filler’s patently false claims passed inspection, what wouldn’t?

From the very beginning, I doubted that Kellett would see any meaningful discipline. I’ve been a lawyer for over 30 years and my impression of the way state bar disciplinary bodies work is this: to receive any real discipline, i.e. suspension for longer than a year or disbarment, you have to be a serial violator of the rules. The bar will rarely issue significant discipline on the first proven complaint, but if the same person comes before the bar time and again, he/she runs a real risk of “having their tickets pulled.”

So I for one am not surprised at the whitewash in the Kellett case – angry, yes, surprised, no. But given that bar associations only take serial violators seriously, I’d like to point out that Kellett is likely a serial violator. There are many men in Maine who’ve been abused by Mary Kellett. I call on them now to show the courage and good sense that Vladek Filler demonstrated. I call on them to file complaints about Mary Kellett’s behavior in their own cases.

Kellett’s behavior in Vladek’s case – brazenly laughing and jeering at him in open court – plainly shows a woman who knew she acted with impunity. Mary Kellett’s been doing this for 10 years. She knew the lay of the land. It never occurred to her that there might be consequences to violating ethical rules. She’s probably done this before. Those to whom she’s done it need to come forward and do what Vladek Filler did. Kellett is a rogue prosecutor. The people of the State of Maine need to be rid of her.

What that all means is that Vladek Filler didn’t lose this case. What this case showed Mary Kellett is that there can be consequences to her type of behavior. Yes, she slipped through the net this time, but now the Bar knows who she is. The next time a man complains of her outrageous behavior in a claim of sex abuse, the Bar will remember. And the next time the Overseers may get the message that this is not a woman who made a mistake, but a gender ideologue bent on cramming the state’s prisons full of as many men as possible, guilty or innocent.

Vladek Filler has done the people of the State of Maine a great service. He’s paved the way for Mary Kellett’s early and involuntary retirement. He’s also showed other like-minded prosecutors that they are not above the law. We’re watching Mary Kellett. We’re watching them too.

Here’s an article about Monday’s hearing (Bangor Daily News, 7/15/13). Here’s Vladek’s address to Justice Gorman (A Voice for Men, 7/16/13).

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#Kellett, #Maine, #Ligia, #Vladek, #Filler

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