Muni-mail – “Mom, You senile old bitch!” not harassment – EMB v. RFB
[04/19/11 – 10:30 pm] In this morning’s Appellate Division decision in EMB v. RFB, the court ruled that purported acts of theft by a son (56 years old) against his mother (88 years old) as well as the statement calling his mother, “a senile old bitch” did not constitute an act of harassment within the meaning of the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act. The Court noted that theft is not one of the predicate offenses included under the act. Moreover, to qualify as an act of domestic violence, the proofs would have to demonstrate that the thefts were committed with the purpose to alarm or seriously annoy the victim. Those proofs were lacking in this case. In terms of the “old bitch” comment, the evidence did not support the requirement that the offending remark be made with a purpose to harass the victim as opposed to simply expressing the opinion of the speaker.
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