Cassies law voilence in dating
Every day, she wonders why she didn't get ``Cassie's Law'' passed before her 17-year-old daughter, Cassandra, ended up dead--the victim, her mother has testified, of an abusive relationship with a boyfriend. of michigan in the house of representatives Monday, September 11, 2000 Mr. I hope members find it helpful when considering reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. 8, 2000] Battered Girlfriends Need Protection, Too (By Judy Mann) Barbara Dehl, a 44-year-old mother of four girls, lives a lot of her life in hindsight.
After Cassie's parents divorced and her mother moved near Boise, Idaho, Cassie chose to remain with her father, Curtis Dehl, in Soda Springs and finish school there.When she was 14, she met Justin Neuendorf, a former altar boy at her church, who was three years older than she was.For the next year, she went out with him off and on.Her parents didn't realize that their daughter was undergoing verbal and mental abuse.In testimony before a state legislative committee, Barbara said she found out later, from Cassie, that Neuendorf would tell her such things as she wasn't pretty enough for anybody else to love.Curtis intercepted another letter in which the boyfriend mentioned slitting Cassie's throat. He had her so manipulated that in her mind she thought she was in love with this guy, and she was as helpless to leave him as a victim of battered-wife syndrome.
``We gave these letters to the local police, the prosecutor, the probation officer and to his parents,'' Barbara says in an interview. ``When she was 16, she said, `If I was only better, he wouldn't have to hit me.' When I would confront her, she would tell me it was her fault.'' It's a 350-mile trip, each way, between Boise and Soda Springs, and Barbara says she drove it weekly, trying to get help for Cassie. ``The accident was not reported for more than 15 hours,'' she says.
``Nobody believed a teenage girl living in her parents' home could be abused by her boyfriend. ' Nobody believed abuse could happen to a young girl who wasn't married to the abuser. ``We put Cassie into domestic-abuse counseling twice, but they didn't have training in dealing with young girls and dating violence,'' Barbara says. He'd take her out of school, out of work, out of state. ``The fact that she was in the accident and left at the scene was not reported for 18 hours.
``Once a wedge had been inserted between Cassie and her family and friends, the physical abuse began,'' Barbara testified.
In the spring of 1998, Barbara testified, he choked Cassie hard enough to make her bleed from her nose and ears and ruin a white coat.
Cassie had been staying with a girlfriend while her father was out of town.
About six weeks after the incident, the girlfriend told Cassie's father about it, and he confronted his daughter. He intercepted a letter in which Neuendorf said he was ``sorry for almost killing you'' and explained that he had been on drugs.