Preserving the Safety of Persecuted Cheerleaders: New Jersey’s Domestic Violence Restraining Orders Revisited

Posted on August 15, 2014

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Whatever it is you thought you understood about the solemnity and significance of legal process and restraining orders, this story should disabuse you of it: “Parent-Suing Cheerleader Who Claimed ‘Ex-boyfriend Choked Her during Domestic Violence Incident’ Reaches Agreement to Drop Restraining Orders.”

What follows is the gist.

A high school cheerleader whose dad is a former chief of police had a boyfriend her parents disapproved of. The girl says her parents “threw her out” because of him; her parents say she left because she didn’t want to abide by their rules.

From her parents’ house, the 18-year-old moved into the home of an attorney. The attorney’s family then sued her parents on the girl’s behalf for child support and college costs, exciting press attention.

Then the girl got a domestic violence restraining order against her boyfriend, alleging he choked her during a spat (this is the same boyfriend her parents didn’t want her to see). Then the boyfriend got a domestic violence restraining order against her. Then both of them had their orders dismissed.

The two “independently reached the conclusion that they should enter their college years without having to worry about the possible consequences of having restraining orders on their respective records and that the actions that led to the filing of the complaints did not rise to the level of domestic violence.”

You may be thinking, does that mean judges in New Jersey approve restraining orders automatically? You may also be thinking, how nice everything got ironed out and how magnanimous of the court to acknowledge possible negative consequences to the futures of attractive (and ostensibly affluent) white teenagers and acquiesce to their wishes. Probably you’re not thinking, “I can totally identify.”

The girl dropped her lawsuit, too, reconciled with her parents, and moved back home. Her parents told USA Today “they decided not to interfere with their daughter’s love life anymore.”

The girl “graduated this spring and will be attending Western New England University as a biomedical engineering major in the fall on a $56,000 scholarship.”

No estimate to the tax-paying public of the costs incurred by the various prosecutions was reported.

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