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Saturday, August 30, 2008

[CA] Cop-dv advocate & friend of Chief Gundersen's wife (Darcie) testify

...[Wife of Chief Gunderson / former Blue Lake Police Sgt. Darcie Seal's friend, Janet] Arnot also testified that she called 911 at one point in September 2001... She said she told the operator the Blue Lake police chief was trying to break into her home with her two children present. She said no one from law enforcement showed up...

[Previous blog entries here]

Expert: Domestic violence is about power, control
The Times-Standard
Thadeus Greenson
[Excerpts] David Gundersen's wife feared the former Blue Lake police chief would kill her if she testified against him, a District Attorney's Office investigator and a friend of Gundersen's wife testified Thursday. Janet Arnot, a friend of Gundersen's wife Darcie Seal, testified that Seal told her she always had a fear of drowning and that Gundersen had threatened to “take her fishing,” which Arnot said Seal took to mean that Gundersen would kill her. Seal made a similar claim to investigators during the Feb. 8 interview that led to her husband's arrest, but later testified the comments were made in jest and she never took them seriously. Gallegos asked Arnot if she thought Seal took the comment as a joke. ”No, she always took it seriously,” Arnot testified. “It frightened her -- it still frightens her”... Gundersen faces two dozen counts of raping Seal with the use of an intoxicant, as well as charges of violating a court order, attempting to dissuade the victim of a crime and illegally possessing a submachine gun and a pistol with a silencer attached. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges and remains held in the Humboldt County jail on $1.25 million bail... Before talking about the specifics of her recent conversations with Seal, Arnot made it clear she was uncomfortable doing so. ”She spoke to me in great confidence and, in answering these questions, I'm breaking her confidence and that's something that's always going to weigh heavily on my heart,” she said... Things got so bad, Arnot testified, that Seal even said she made several complaints to Blue Lake City Manager Wiley Buck ... "She told me nothing was ever done about that... It was completely ignored”... Arnot also testified that she called 911 at one point in September 2001 when Gundersen was trying to gain entry into the home she and Seal were living in at the time. She said she told the operator the Blue Lake police chief was trying to break into her home with her two children present. She said no one from law enforcement showed up... Before Arnot took the stand, the jury heard from Diane Wetendorf, who has counseled domestic violence victims since 1985. Wetendorf testified that while domestic violence can take all shapes and forms, it is always about power and control. Abusers, Wetendorf testified, often use isolation, emotional abuse, economic abuse and sexual abuse to exert constant control over their partners. Because of these factors, as well as pressures from family and religion, Wetendorf said it is very common for it to take years for a victim to come forward. And when they eventually do, Wetendorf said, it is very common for them to later recant their statements. Wetendorf said she's seen women get emergency protective orders against their violent husbands only to recant their allegations to get their husbands off the hook when the matter comes before a court. "She's going to do whatever she has to do, and if that means lying to our faces, she's going to lie to our faces,” Wetendorf said. “It's about survival.” Under cross examination, Wetendorf said she's never qualified as an expert witness before, characterized herself as a victim's advocate and said she was being paid to testify at the trial... [Full article here]

Phone calls detail wife's suspicions, hesitation to talk about alleged sex crimes
The Eureka Reporter
By Karen Wilkinson,
Aug 29 2008
[Excerpts] David Gundersen's wife would have divulged more possibly incriminating information against the former Blue Lake Police Department chief if the media wasn't reporting on the case, she told an investigator in early June. In recorded phone conversations, WHICH DARCIE SEAL WAS TOLD WEREN'T BEING TAPED, she told District Attorney's Office Investigator Wayne Cox on June 10 that she found concerning items in Gundersen's side of their garage, shed and the BLPD office. Those items included hard drives, small cameras and video tapes, which Seal indicated may contain nude photos of her taken with or without her consent. Seal also referenced newspaper articles that mentioned their sex life and said she "won't talk about it because I don't want it in the paper. To tell you the truth … I'm supposed to do that in front of everybody and the press?... I don't want everybody to know... Nobody knows what David put me through... I have been so exposed I feel like I'm the one paying and he is not."... [Full article here]

With heavy heart, Seal's friend speaks of rape allegations she heard
The Eureka Reporter
By John C. Osborn
Aug 28 2008
[Excerpts] A longtime friend of Darcie Seal testified in former Blue Lake Police Chief David Gundersen's trial Thursday about allegations of rape and verbal abuse Seal made to her in confidence prior to his arrest. Expert on police-perpetrated domestic violence Diane Wetendorf also explained to the jury key characteristics found in victims of that kind of violence... Janet Arnot, a friend of Seal's since 1996, prefaced her testimony explaining to the jury that Seal had talked to her about these allegations in great confidence. "In answering these questions," she said, "I break that confidence and it will weigh heavy on my heart"... As the expert on domestic violence, Wetendorf testified in general that a victim recanting her statements is one of the biggest obstacles to overcome in domestic violence cases, as well as the complexity of the issue.... "They're damned if they do (report)," Wetendorf said, "they're damned if they don't." [Full article here]

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