Serial rapist may be jailed for life
By Sam Cooper
October 20, 2010
Vancouver serial sex-attacker Dawson Davidson may be jailed indefinitely as a dangerous offender.
Davidson, a 45-year-old convicted rapist and former ballet student from a prominent Vancouver family, was convicted late last month on one of three sexual-assault charges.
All charges involved alleged assaults against prostitutes in the Kingsway corridor area, near Clark Drive, between late 2008 and July 2009.
Criminal justice branch spokesman Neil MacKenzie said that because Davidson was found guilty in provincial court of twice choking a petite Vancouver prostitute during a "bad date," the Crown is applying to have Davidson assessed by sex-crime experts. The experts will judge if there is a high likelihood he would attack vulnerable women again.
During the period of the alleged attacks, Davidson was working as a carpenter on the set of the Vancouverfilmed TV series Smallville.
On Nov. 10, the Crown will ask for a dangerous offender assessment on Davidson, MacKenzie said.
Dangerous offender legislation allows criminals to be sentenced to jail indefinitely, even if the crime they were convicted of doesn't carry a lifetime sentence.
In 1986, Davidson was jailed for eight years after confessing to sex crimes in Toronto and Vancouver. He was also jailed in B.C. for a violent attack in 1996.
In 2000, a judge refused to have Davidson declared a dangerous offender.
Davidson's mother is prominent B.C. lawyer Diana Davidson, who has received the Order of Canada.
Again, I merely pointed out that the place would earn the nickname Able2Troll if it kept catering to trolls. I'm sorry if that hurts your feelings, and you know I respect what you've done here as much as anyone, but catering to the likes of the demented duo serves mostly to discourage victims from finding solace on the help threads.
If you weren't hell-bent on trying to blame shift and belittle me for pointing out the truth of this; you would simply admit the obvious truth.
When a woman shares a story like having been abused for failure to climax during sex, and some demented asshole questions her sincerity because she didn't simply fake it to avoid the beatings... it is pretty obvious what effect such disgusting trolling will have.
Then when this same demented piece of **** games the system to keep his demented rambling public to strangers, and essentially brags about it, even while disappearing more thoughtful poster's content, you decide to play dumb and get mad at the guy who protests? Pull your head out of your ass, Robert.
Keep repeating that silly strawman, and keep catering to trolls, and you'll leave me little choice but to blame you for doing it. Who else should be held accountable for your decisions?
As for your tired nonsense about "some people think you're the troll"... please. Some people have the credibility of the Iraqi Information Minister (loved that guy) during the fall of Saddam. The fact that you're willing to conflate my posting history with that of the demented troll mostly serves to demonstrate your dishonesty when you're in tantrum-mode. Maybe I do have some growing up left to do, but certainly no more than you do sir.
Rape in Colorado
Friday 15 October 2010
by: William Rivers Pitt, t r u t h o u t | Op-Ed
Serious issues like rape, abortion, victims' rights and prosecutorial misconduct, and a politician with aspirations for higher office bulldozing a victim based on a personal and political agenda. These are at the core of the Senate race playing out in Colorado, thanks to the actions of GOP candidate Ken Buck. Five years ago, Buck was the District Attorney for Weld County in Colorado. A 21-year old woman, who has asked that her name not be revealed, contacted the police to report a rape. The police investigated, and recommended that felony charges be filed against the attacker, but DA Buck refused to pursue the case, and no arrest was ever made.
At first blush, one might be tempted to think the details of the attack are sufficient to give DA Buck an excuse to drop the case. The victim knew her attacker - they had been lovers until a year before - and the victim invited her attacker over to her home. Furthermore, the victim was drunk at the time of the attack. Those facts alone would have made great fodder for a defense attorney to poke holes in the prosecution's case, and it could be argued that it was this that caused DA Buck to refuse to pursue the matter. Commenting on the case to the Greeley Tribune in March of 2006, DA Buck said, "A jury could very well conclude that this is a case of buyer's remorse."
It is not nearly that simple, despite DA Buck's crass comments to the contrary, and the truth of the matter should be crystal clear to anyone with even a vague interest in victims' rights. First of all, the details of this attack are all too common in a vast number of rape cases. The term is "date rape," and just because the victim knew her attacker does not mean that rape did not occur. In fact, the victim claimed repeatedly that what happened was rape. She told police that she said "No" to her attacker, that she fought him, that the act was not in any way voluntary. Her attacker admitted that she had indeed said "No" more than once, but claimed she had wanted him anyway, and that's why they had sex. The victim has also worked as a rape victims' advocate, and is no stranger to the realities of such an attack. No means no, and she said "No," and the other circumstances do not change the fact of the attack.
When the victim found out that DA Buck was refusing to pursue the case, she organized protests against his office to try and compel him to take up the case. When he continued to refuse, she demanded and got a meeting with him to ask why he was refusing to seek charges against her attacker. She brought a recording device to that meeting, and the transcript reveals that DA Buck had other motives besides a potentially strong defense case to let the matter drop.
In the transcript of the recording taken by the victim, DA Buck very clearly threatens the victim with the courtroom revelation that she allegedly had an abortion after getting pregnant by the man who subsequently raped her a year later. The victim disputes the abortion, claiming she lost the baby to a miscarriage. Buck claims he brought up the abortion allegation because the defense could use it as motive for the victim to make a false charge of rape, but the comment is so far out of left field as to raise the question of Buck's own motives in the case ("KB" below is Ken Buck, "V" is the victim, and "M#2" is a second unidentified man in the room with them):
M#2: We've talked about a motion to compel prosecution, and that's the only other option. Ultimately that's going to be [Name redacted] decision. But that's really the only option.... Whether or not we're going to do that, I don't know. Incredibly high burden ...
KB: Be aware of something, if this, if you file this motion, it will be very public, publicly covered event. There are a lot of things that I have a knowledge of, that I would assume (name of possible suspect redacted) knows about and that they have to do with, perhaps, your motives for (unintelligible) and that is part of what our calculation has been in this.
V: I'm interested to hear more about that, my motives, for what this has been.
KB: You have, you have had HIS baby, and you had an abortion.
V: That's false, that's just false.
KB: Why don't you clarify?
V: I did have a miscarriage; we had talked about an abortion. That was actually year and a half ago. So ...
KB: That would be something that you can cross-examine on, that would be "something that might be a motive for trying to get back at somebody." And it would be a (unintelligible). And it's part of what we have to take into account whether we can prove this case or not. And there are a lot of things that, um, you know, for as why weren't not prosecuting the case. We've got to weigh all that, and it not something that I feel comfortable with, but something I have to be.
Throughout the transcript, DA Buck repeatedly asserts his opinion that the victim brought the attack on herself - because she knew him before, because they'd been lovers, because she invited him over, and because she was drunk. The fact that the attacker admitted more than once that the victim said "No," and that he admitted to trying to apologize to her afterward, appears not to affect his judgment. The attacker's accusation that she had an abortion, however, played large enough in his mind that he threw it in the victim's face, even though she disputed the claim. Buck appears to have had no other evidence of the alleged abortion beyond the attacker's word.
Did DA Buck refuse to take up this case because the defendant allegedly had an abortion, and more to the point, because she was a woman? An examination of Buck's political positions and public statements lend credence to these claims.
Ken Buck holds positions on abortion that are extreme even for his party, befitting his oft-burnished Tea Party credentials. He does not believe in legal abortion unless the life of the mother is in danger, and would outlaw abortion even in cases of rape or incest. He has voiced his strong support for the Personhood Amendment, which is on the ballot in Colorado in November. The Amendment grants a fertilized egg full personhood rights, and would make illegal all forms of abortion. It would also make most commonly used forms of contraception illegal. Beyond this is Buck's very public disdain for women in general, and his primary opponent in particular. During the GOP primary, Buck quipped that the main reason voters should choose him over his opponent, Lt. Governor Jane Norton, was because he didn't "wear high heels."
The Colorado Independent has done an extensive investigation into the matter. In its report, the victim described her feelings after her meeting with Buck:
If he had handled it with a little more sensitivity, the victim, who does not want her name used, says it is possible she may have accepted the decision and moved on. But Buck's words - as much as his refusal to prosecute - still burn in her ears.
"That comment made me feel horrible," she told the Colorado Independent last week. "The offender admitted he did it, but Ken Buck said I was to blame. Had he (Buck) not attacked me, I might have let it go. But he put the blame on me, and I was furious. I still am furious," she said.
It wasn't just his public remarks that infuriated the woman. In the private meeting, which she recorded, he told her, "It appears to me ... that you invited him over to have sex with him."
He also said he thought she might have a motive to file rape charges as a way of retaliating against the man for some ill will left over from when they had been lovers more than a year earlier. Buck also comes off on this tape as being at least as concerned with the woman's sexual history and alcohol consumption as he is with other facts of the case.
Kjersten Forseth, interim executive director of ProgressNow Colorado, has taken a personal interest in this case, appearing on a variety of news stories to plead the victim's case and to highlight Buck's ulterior motives for failing to pursue the case. In comments to the Colorado Independent, Forseth said:
"She is very strong about her feelings," said Forseth of the victim. "She believes a grave injustice has been done and that she is a victim of the system.
"What's most troubling to me about this case," Forseth continued, "is the way he talks to her in that meeting. There is just so much judgment, in his voice, toward the victim. I would think a district attorney would be an advocate for victims and offer some support, but instead he offers indignation and judgment."
"When he talks about the abortion as the reason she wants charges filed, that has nothing to do with the law or this case," Forseth says. "That is his personal bias coming into play. He's bringing his own personal beliefs and judgments to bear on this case, when he should be acting as a victim's advocate."
. . .
"This shows us how he views women and what he thinks their role is. It shows us that even when a woman is the victim of a rape he will not advocate for her. It shows that he is not a believer in women's rights. He will not side with rape victims. This case is a statement on what his beliefs really are," Forseth said.
At this point, GOP Senate candidate Ken Buck holds a narrow lead over Democrat Michael Bennet, who currently holds the seat. Buck's polling among women in Colorado, however, is so low as to be nearly nonexistent, thanks to the growing storm over his handling of this rape accusation five years ago. Groups like ProgressNow Colorado, along with the victim herself, continue to press the issue to the fullest extent. Whatever mitigating circumstances there may have been, rape is rape, and the victim said "No." The accused attacker admitted as much, and Buck knew it, but that wasn't good enough to warrant prosecution.
The victim's attacker alleged she had an abortion, which Buck holds in high disdain. He took the attacker's word over the victim's, and justice was not done. No other conclusion fits the facts at hand, and despite this, it is entirely possible that Ken Buck will be a member of the US Senate after the November elections.
Greene: Rape victim deserves answers
By Susan Greene
Denver Post Columnist
We get worn down during election season. And sometimes we expect the worst.
So I was cynical when a date-rape victim spoke out last week against Ken Buck.
The timing — weeks before voters decide whether to send the Weld County district attorney to the U.S. Senate — bothered me.
All I could see were the bad facts in her case. I figured she had a grudge against the guy who wouldn't prosecute her former lover for having sex with her, drunk and unconscious, after she invited him to her apartment.
All I could hear was the angry whining of the Senate race, the din of the liberal smear machine and the white noise of my own assumptions.
I admit I didn't get it.
But then I spoke with her — a 26-year-old whose name I have a responsibility not to print. That's the thing about rape victims. It's tough to give a voice to people who hide, however understandably, in shadows.
If you stay on the line long enough, you can tell things over the phone. This isn't a woman trying to convince anyone of anything. All she wants is what she has been demanding for five years: that Buck explain why he refused to press charges.
"The victim was barely conscious and that's when he realized he had done something wrong," reads the police report. "He stated at that point he realized what he had done and said he felt shame and regret."
The apparent admission wasn't enough for Buck. He was hung up on the victim's relationship with her attacker. And that she had been drinking and invited him over.
"I'm telling you that's what the circumstances suggest to people, including myself, who have looked at it. Although you never said the word yes. But the appearance is of consent," Buck told her in 2006.
Like it or not, the law on date rape is clear. Having sex with someone who's blotto is illegal. It seems Buck didn't read that far into the statutes.
Later, he told The Greeley Tribune that a jury might conclude the case was one of "buyer's remorse," whatever that means. He since has had the nerve to call the facts of the case "pitiful."
His apologists argue that voters should laud Buck for not wasting tax dollars prosecuting a case he might not win. In as patronizing a comment as I've heard from any campaign, one booster told me Buck was protecting the victim from having to air her sexual history.
"I don't need his protection," she tells me. "I need him to understand what date rape is about."
One of four women in the U.S. has been sexually assaulted. Of those, somewhere between 73 percent and 90 percent knew their attackers.
It didn't take this dust-up to realize that Buck is pitiful on women's issues, including his opposition to abortion in rape cases.
"Here's a man who colludes in a system that invisiblizes and victimizes women," says Moshe Rozdzial, a Denver therapist who co-chairs the National Organization for Men Against Sexism.
Regardless of whether Buck should have thrown the book in this case, the victim needs to be heard — both about her attack and her outcry against the district attorney who blamed her for it.
"Whether or not you know my name," she says, "I'm still out here waiting for answers."
Understanding ProgressNow's role in date rape victim's story
October 17, 2010 7:18 PM
The Gazette ran an editorial on Oct. 14 criticizing ProgressNow Colorado for what you said was “exploiting a rape victim” in order to attack Ken Buck. The editorial completely misrepresented PNC’s role in how the story became public.
But more importantly the paper missed the most important facts in the case.
The perpetrator admitted to police that she said “no” at least twice and she was in and out of consciousness when he was having sex with her. I am not an attorney, but as a woman, I know that no means no. In his role as prosecutor, Buck’s job is not to attack the victim — his job is to build a case against the perpetrator. Instead of advocating for her, he judged her. He judged their past relationship, judged her allowing him in the apartment, and he judged her drinking.
Some people have said Buck was merely talking to her about the difficulties in prosecuting the case. But when you listen to the audio of the interview, it is clear he had already judged her. He decided that she had invited the suspect to attack her.
Date rape is rarely a clear-cut case, but Ken Buck treated her terribly. She had been through a traumatic experience but he implied throughout the interview with her that it was her fault. He never acknowledged the suspect admitted to the offense, consoled her, or sympathized with her case. Then, when asked by The Greeley Tribune about the case he said a “jury could interpret this as buyer’s remorse” and said the facts of the case were “pitiful.” This is callous disregard for a rape victim, no matter how you slice it.
According to the Department of Justice, one in five women will be a victim of rape or attempted rape in their lifetime. More than two-thirds of sexual assaults are committed by someone the victim knows and college students are four times more likely to be victims of assault.
These daughters, sisters, mothers, and wives mostly suffer in silence and never report the crime. So, to be traumatized again by indifference and blame by the district attorney shows how this man really feels about date rape and women. Add this to his belief that rape and incest victims should be forced to carry their rapist’s child and Buck’s worldview is even more disturbing.
As to the headline of your editorial, this story is five years old. It has been in the public domain the entire time. The survivor of the rape approached the media after her meeting with Buck — five years ago.
ProgressNow Colorado simply pulled up an old article and handed it out at a press conference in which rape and incest survivors were speaking up about Buck’s position on emergency contraception and abortion. A reporter at the Colorado Independent did his job and started asking questions. The victim spoke up five years ago, and when asked, she chose to speak publicly again. It is reprehensible that you feel a woman speaking up about her rape can only be “exploitation.”
Oddly, this has been Buck’s defense this week as well. There has been no apology for the interview or the comments to The Tribune, no regard for the woman in the case, no acknowledgement that the suspect admitted she said “no” multiple times. What was Buck’s reaction? Go after the messenger.
It appears your paper is carrying the Ken Buck torch. By not even attempting to talk to the victim and not including the admission by the perpetrator that she said “no”, you too, demonstrated your callous disregard for women.
The best of Bill Censor postings of late…….postings number three
All I could see were the bad facts in her case. I figured she had a grudge against the guy who wouldn't prosecute her former lover for having sex with her, drunk and unconscious, after she invited him to her apartment.
$18 Million to Man Wrongly ImprisonedBy ANAHAD O’CONNOR
Published: October 19, 2010
A Bronx man who was imprisoned for more than two decades on a rape conviction before being cleared by DNA evidence was awarded $18.5 million by a jury on Tuesday.
Alan Newton in 2006 after his release from prison. A jury awarded him $18.5 million from New York City on Tuesday.
The judgment, which came about four years after the man, Alan Newton, was released from prison, is one of the largest ever awarded to a wrongfully incarcerated person in New York City. Mr. Newton was convicted of rape, robbery and assault in 1985 — based largely on eyewitness testimony — and spent years fighting to have DNA evidence from the case located and tested after more advanced testing procedures became available.
A rape kit from the case was found in a Police Department warehouse in 2005 — about a decade after Mr. Newton and his lawyers had requested it — and subsequent testing showed that DNA collected from the victim did not match.
Mr. Newton, now 49, was released from prison in July 2006. On Tuesday, a jury ruled that the city had violated his constitutional rights, and found two police officers liable for intentional infliction of emotional distress for failing to produce Mr. Newton’s evidence when requested.
“I’m just real numb right now,” Mr. Newton said in an interview on Tuesday. “It hasn’t really sunk in. It’s so emotional. It’s something I’ve been fighting for the last four years, since I came home. I’m just glad things worked out at the end of the day.”
A spokeswoman for the city’s Law Department said the city was “disappointed” with the verdict, which was rendered in Federal District Court in Manhattan, and planned to appeal it.
Mr. Newton’s lawyer, John F. Schutty III, argued that the Police Department’s system for storing and keeping track of post-conviction evidence was so shoddy that the city showed a reckless disregard for his constitutional rights. Mr. Schutty pointed out that for years the city had been registering and tracking the movement of evidence strictly by paper and pen.
“Only this year are they attempting to introduce a bar-code system,” he said.
Mr. Newton’s claim was supported by the Innocence Project, a nonprofit group that seeks to free convicts through DNA evidence. It said that of about 50 people from New York City it had represented in the last five years, half had received the DNA evidence in their cases from the city. In the other cases, the city was unable to produce the evidence or explain what had happened to it.
“The City of New York,” Mr. Schutty said, “has been engaged in a pattern of failing to pay proper attention to their duties to preserve post-conviction criminal evidence and its associated paperwork.”
Since being released from prison, Mr. Newton has tried to catch up on lost time. He immediately enrolled as a full-time student at Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn and completed his studies over the next two years.
He now works as a research associate at the Black Male Initiative of the City University of New York, helping to recruit, retain and assist students to ensure they graduate from college, he said. And he recently took the law school admissions test and plans to apply to law schools this year. Eventually, he said, he would like to do public interest work, helping to prevent people in poor neighborhoods from suffering the fate that he did.
“I want to work with people that really need that legal assistance that’s just not there for them,” he said. “There are so many issues where people need competent counsel, and it’s just not out there. I think I’ll jump into it with both arms.”
Asked if he planned to celebrate his verdict, Mr. Newton said he was in no rush.
“There’ll be time for celebration, but there are some other things to take care of,” he said. “I’ve had a lot of patience in my life. I’ve learned not to rush anything. Good things take time. This decision took time, but it was worth every moment.”
Thank God for modern forensics!
and that rapist needs to be prosecuted!
Unless you grant the power of mind reading how would a jury tell if she was a piss off old girlfriend setting up her old boyfriend or if he did break her trust and have sex with her when she was unconscious?
If a jury could not tell then a DA would be wasting our taxpayers money and resources going after the man who in fact is just as likely to be innocent as not
I was thinking about something, firefly, no one hesitates to take the keys away from someone that has been drinking, right? They do that because the person is not capable of making an informed decision about driving. I don't see it being any different in cases of rape, do you?
As usual. you didn't read the material before jumping to a conclusion. In this case, the man admitted that the woman said, "No", several times, and he went on to have sex with her anyway. That is legally rape, whether she was drunk or not. Apparently, when he realized what he had done. he apologized to her and expressed shame and regret--that was his acknowledgment of guilt. The police were aware of this, which is why they suggested to the D.A. that charges should be brought against the man.
Tyler Perry Tells Oprah: I Was Sexually Abused as a Child Telling the talk-show host his life was "a living hell" growing up, the filmmaker reveals unthinkable abuse
Oct 20, 2010
Tyler Perry suffered so much physical, sexual and emotional abuse growing up that he tried to kill himself, but he eventually found the inner strength to overcome his harrowing childhood and even forgive his perpetrators, he said on Wednesday's The Oprah Winfrey Show.
The successful actor, writer, director and movie studio owner, whose film For Colored Girls opens Nov. 5 and who is listed among the most wealthy celebrities, told Winfrey that he is speaking out now in an effort to lift the shame for men who've endured similar abuse.
Perry, 41, said his childhood in New Orleans was "a living hell," and recounted repeated verbal assaults and physical beatings from his father. "He hated me so much, and I couldn't understand why," Perry said.
Perry said he was also sexually assaulted at age 5 or 6 by a neighbor and then by a male nurse in a hospital, by a man in church "who used God and the bible against me" and later by the mother of a friend. "Predators know when a child is an easy mark," he said.
What got him through, he said, was an ability to "leave myself" and take his mind to a park until the abuse ended. That strategy usually worked except for one particularly horrendous beating from his father, which he said caused him to black out for three days. "I think I died that day," he said of his emotional state and he later slit his wrists.
His mother, whom Perry said also was abused by his father, was too passive to help. "She did not have that backbone to stand up for herself, so certainly she couldn't stand up for me," he said. Still, she was his "saving grace" because she took him to church and helped him find faith. She died last year.
As a result of the repeated abuse, Perry became violent, he said, burning down a house and a car, stealing and being kicked out of school. He also had intimacy and sexual problems.
But his life started to turn around when he was 28, he said, when he finally confronted his father on the phone and told him how the abuse affected him. He was then able to gain the realization that "even though those things happened to me, it was not me," he said.
Perry said his father felt no remorse and even implied that the beatings were helpful. But Perry forgave him anyway, saying, "The same strength that it took to take it is the same amount of strength that it takes to let it go." Perry continues to financially support his father because, "My mother always said honor your father and mother," but he doesn't care about seeing or hearing from him again.
The filmmaker said that he wasn't able to reveal the extent of his abuse until after his mother died, but that now, "I feel this tremendous sense of now it's the time to take care of me."
If pregnancy were to result from one of these rapes, I wonder how many of these men would willing pay child support for the next 18 years?
Father found guilty in N.J. incest case
Man's first of five trials — one for each daughter he's accused of victimizing
By SAMANTHA HENRY
The Associated Press
Paterson, N.J. — A New Jersey man whose apocalyptic visions allegedly led him to rape his five daughters and terrorize his family for years was found guilty Wednesday of sexually assaulting a daughter who testified that she bore him a child.
The jury deliberated for less than three hours over two days before finding the man guilty on all of the eight counts in the first of five separate trials — one for each daughter he is accused of victimizing.
The man showed no reaction to the verdict, other than keeping his eyes closed for extended periods while several of the counts were read.
Jurors endured more than three weeks of sexually explicit and often extremely graphic testimony from the man's former wife and one of his daughters.
The daughter, now 24, testified the man began sexually assaulting her when she was 8, and then regularly raping her until she bore him a child at 15.
Forensics experts testified earlier in the trial that DNA profiles showed the defendant was likely the father of his own grandchild.
The Associated Press doesn't identify victims of sexual crimes and is not reporting the names of the man or his former wife to protect the identities of their children, now over 18.
The jury got the case Tuesday. Shortly before leaving, they sent the judge a note asking for excerpts from the daughter's testimony that seemed to indicate they were trying to determine what age she had been when various alleged incidents took place.
The daughter's age was a central issue in the trial, as she did not obtain a birth certificate until later in life. She testified, as did the man's former wife, that the man had insisted his children be born at home so they wouldn't be documented.
The defense had argued that, as a result, no one could say with certainty what the daughter's real age is, a move that prosecutors criticized as an attempt to cast doubt in the jury's mind as to whether the daughter's age at the time of the alleged assaults actually fell within the statutes he's charged under.
The daughter, who prosecutors say obtained a court-ordered birth certificate a few years ago in order to enroll at Fordham University, testified that her father started beating her at age 3, escalated to sexual touching by age 8, regular intercourse by 12, and a resultant pregnancy shortly after she began menstruation at age 14.
The man's former wife and daughter also testified that he spoke of being a prophet who believed in keeping his bloodlines pure. They said he never let the children see doctors, kept them home-schooled and forced the family to adhere to strict vegetarian diets.
The man, who took the stand in his own defense, said his wife and daughter had been brainwashed by a former family spiritual adviser who was trying to steal the man's business ventures. He said all choices as to how the children were raised had been jointly made with his wife, in the interest of holistic child rearing.
Having been ruled competent to stand trial earlier this year, the man faces a total of 27 charges in all the cases, including aggravated sexual assault, sexual assault, lewdness, child endangerment, aggravated criminal sexual contact and criminal sexual contact.
The first trial began Sept. 28 in state Superior Court in Paterson, about 15 miles west of Manhattan, where the family lived for several years.