(WSVN) - A former boyfriend attacked her, stalked her and broke into her house, so she got a restraining order, but when he violated that order, nothing happened, so she turned to Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
If Cindy looks frustrated, it’s understandable.
Cindy Laurenfant, afraid: “It’s like deja vu all over again.”
Deja vu for Cindy, infuriating for her husband.
Michael Keesee, upset at enforcement: “So, it’s like my hands are tied in this situation, and that’s frustrating to me.”
Let’s back up. When Cindy was a teenager, she dated Sean Ghany. Today, she wonders what she was thinking.
Cindy Laurenfant: “He would get drunk. He would just beat me up.”
Cindy got away from Ghany after he was convicted of armed bank robbery and sent to prison.
She moved on, met Michael and got married, but Ghany kept trying to get in touch with her from prison.
Cindy Laurenfant: “And each time he was threatening me.”
When Ghany got out of jail, he did come for her constantly harassing and stalking her, even caught on camera breaking into Michael’s car and then into their house.
Cindy Laurenfant: “I just have anger. I was scared.”
That same day, Ghany was accused of hitting a pregnant woman…
Judge: “You are before the court.”
Ghany was sent back to prison.
While he was locked up, Cindy and two other women he was harassing got restraining orders against Ghany. In Cindy’s case, it said he could never even try to contact her again.
Cindy Laurenfant: “I was happy because we finally got the situation resolved, so I thought.”
After our story aired, Ghany was released from prison again. Guess who he contacted on Facebook?
Cindy Laurenfant: “I’m all automatically boiled inside. I’m furious because I’m like, ‘How is it again that he’s finding me again?'”
Cindy had blocked him on social media, but Ghany created a phony account to contact her. Michael was stunned by how he was blatantly ignoring the judge’s order.
Michael Keesee: “Facebook is actually the word there, and I told him that exactly and he confirmed it, said, ‘Yeah, I know that’s in the restraining order.'”
Ghany wasn’t just using social media to track her. She suspects he was following her since he knew where her new job was.
Cindy Laurenfant: “He knows the job title. He knows my job location, exactly what city it’s located in.”
Michael assumed since Ghany was violating the restraining order, a call to the police and probation officer would get him arrested. Not exactly.
Cindy Laurenfant: “Well, since he’s on federal probation and your restraining order is state, you have to go first to the court and file a petition, file a motion.”
Michael and Cindy were irritated to find out they had to go to court to try to get Ghany picked up.
Michael Keesee: “How am I supposed to protect my wife, you know, when the people that are supposed to be there to protect her aren’t doing their part?”
Cindy and Michael have concluded her restraining order is worthless.
Michael Keesee: “Like I said, it’s frustrating because I’ve been told by police I cannot do anything to him until he enters my home.”
Well Howard, a restraining order depends on the accused obeying the judge’s order, so are Cindy and Michael right? Is this paper worthless?
Howard Finkelstein, 7 News Legal Expert: “In her case, it was, and this is why so many women are afraid, even when they have a restraining order. The police or the probation officer should have arrested Ghany as soon as Cindy notified them what he was doing. The restraining order can work if the people paid to enforce it do their job immediately.”
After we contacted the federal probation officer, Sean Ghany was picked up.
It was nearly a week after Cindy and Michael had notified law enforcement he was violating the restraining order.
He is now in jail, awaiting a hearing.
Cindy Laurenfant: “I do, I do fear him.”
A judge will determine if Ghany violated his probation and goes back to prison, or the judge could set Ghany free again. That possibility terrifies Cindy.
Cindy Laurenfant: “And something has to change for domestic violence victims, definitely. We need more protection.”
Now, if you have a restraining order against someone and the police or probation aren’t responding to threats against you, call their supervisor. If it’s the police, call your commissioner or the mayor. If that doesn’t work, call us.
Got a problem following you? Show no restraint and come for us. We can’t enforce the law, but we can sure spell it out.
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