Media helped expose history of domestic violence

Here’s a case where the media helped expose domestic violence allegations from a sherriff – who was able to keep his gun and job and then ended up killing his wife, two of her friends, and himself:

As has been nationally reported, on Feb.12, 2010, Clackamas County Sheriff Sgt. Jeffery Grahn, 46, killed his wife Charlotte, 47, two of her friends–Kathleen Hoffmeister, 53, and Victoria Schulmerich, 53–and then himself at a bar in Gresham, Ore., a suburb of Portland.

Sadly, it was after-the-fact:  

For weeks after the shooting the Sheriff’s Office of Clackamas County denied there were warning signs of domestic violence in Jeffery Grahn’s personal life prior to the shootings.

Under pressure from local media, however, it made public documents that since have been widely reported on, showing allegations of domestic abuse just 10 months before the shooting.

In April 2009, the Sheriff’s Office was investigating possible officer-related domestic violence in the case of Jeffery Grahn and his wife after a tip from Chris Kipper, a friend of the family and a probation officer married to an Oregon State patrol officer. Kipper said she feared receiving a phone call one day “if something wasn’t done … with Jeff being reportedly suicidal … that the result could be Jeff killing his family and then himself.”

They were also withholding this evidence:

One of Charlotte Grahn’s sisters and her brother, Trapp, also reported incidents of abuse, including one in which Jeffrey Grahn held a gun to his wife’s head and another when he injured her badly enough that she was hospitalized.

Women’s eNews recently asked Dave Thomas, a retired Montgomery County Maryland police officer familiar with the case, to review how the Grahn case was handled. Thomas, now at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Md., trains police departments across the country about officer-involved domestic violence.

“We’re talking here about someone who is incredibly dangerous and agencies with prior knowledge,” Thomas said in a phone interview. “The totality of it says even if he wasn’t physically abusing her–which I totally think he was–there was enough administratively to pull his badge and gun given everything that’s going on. He’s a danger to himself, to his family and to the community.”

But they didn’t pull his badge and gun – and he killed 3 people before committing a cowardly act of suicide. There’s so much propaganda about women “falsely” accusing men of domestic violence and “ruining” their careers. I’d like to see the proof. Nearly every one of the articles I come across clearly states how the perps kept – even prospered in – their jobs. Until they kill themselves or end up in jail, that is. Evidently, society prefers this to trying to actually prevent domestic violence.

Read more here:  Oregon officer wife-abuse probe preceded killings

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One comment on “Media helped expose history of domestic violence

  1. wildninja says:

    Hi! Thanks for bringing awareness to such important issues. You might be interested to know (if you don’t already) that Susan Murphy Milano’s book Holding My Hand Through Hell is out. She is a OIDV survivor and passionate advocate for victims, http://imaginepublicity.com/2012/10/01/holding-my-hand-through-hell-virtual-book-tour/.

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