Sign In

Article Information

  • Municipal Accountability in Domestic Violence: A Promising New Case

    The first time Roy Sears beat Michelle Okin was in October 2001. The beating left her with two broken bones. Michelle was honest with her physician about the cause of her broken bones, but begged her physician not to tell anyone or record their conversations in her medical records. She also confided in her psychiatrist that, even after this first abusive incident, she feared for her life because her boyfriend (Sears) was “beyond the law.” That likely explains why Michelle did not report the incident to the police. Unfortunately, Michelle’s fear that her boyfriend was untouchable was well-founded because his abuse continued and her cries for help seemingly fell on deaf ears. Over the next few years, Michelle called the police for help more than twenty times. Sears was never arrested and most of the incidents remained undocumented because the police often chose not believe Michelle and often did not even report her accusations in the incident reports.