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  1. #1

    • Disney friends are #1
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    Has your love of Disney ever been used against you?

    This is not an upbeat posting. I apologize in advance but I need to get this off my chest. Please bear with me as this will probably be quite long.

    Approximately 2 1/2 years ago my 46 year old "partner" was accused by a female co-worker of fondling her chest while squeezing past her in the "break room" in a tiny area filled with vending machines. He was choosing coffee and she scooted, sideways, between him and the coffee vending machine. No muss, no fuss. On Friday of that week (two days later), he was called into his managers office and told that there was a lawsuit being filed and that his company and my partner were being named as defendants. He was accused of groping, bra snapping, and sexual remarks and threats.

    He was put on suspension without pay. A week later, the police showed up at our home and took him in to be booked. He spent the day in jail until I could arrange the $50,000 bail ($5,000 actual money with the remaining in collateral). When I brought him home that evening, he was in shock, as was I. We secured a lawyer and we appeared in court 3 days later. He was charged with 4 separate charges totalling a max. of 18 years in jail plus lifetime sex offender registration. He denied any misconduct and had an exemplary record with the company for the 15 years and 3 months he had worked there. Now, everything was crazy!

    For 20 months, we dilligently went to his court appointments every other Monday as scheduled. The prosecution, judge, defense attorney, all had reasons for continuing the case without actually doing anything. Months lagged on without any progress...only lawyer bills. When the trial finally began (he fought it for the entire 20 months he was on bail) something we hadn't even thought of turned into a major "negative" in the eyes of the prosecution. Mind you, there was no evidence and one of the vending machines covered up a security cameras ability to see below the "victim's" neck level. No DNA, no witnesses, no "making a scene" at the time of the alleged offenses...NOTHING. Everyone continued with their lunch break.

    My partner and I are a happily gay couple and have lived together for 22 years. I believed him at the time when he said that nothing happened. He has no sexual feelings for the opposite sex. However, when a detective arrived at our home shortly after the arrest, he noted that there were some Disney characters in a display case in our living room. When I was called as a character witness, I was blindsided by the prosecution alleging that he was a closeted sexual deviant who liked to collect childrens toys. I innocently told the jury that we did not have any childrens toys in our home. The prosecution called me a liar and tried to get me to admit that the sculptures of "cartoon characters" were on display in our house as a lure for small children. I didn't know how to answer. I tried to explain that we occasionally collected Disney collectables and are proud to have them on display in our home. I told her that we were Disneyland fans and that we have a love for the park. We even met there almost 25 years ago and consider Disneyland a very special place in our personal history. Then the plot thickened. I was asked how many times we have visited the park. I answered "probably a couple hundred times since we met". Then the prosecution came out and said "That's not normal". The prosecution requested a 72 hour recess so they could collect some additional information. Three days later, the additional information was presented, with myself on the stand. "We have investigated your attendance record as passholders to Disneyland. We also had Disneyland document your attendance record for the past 24 months prior to the alleged offenses. The record indicates you visited the Disneyland Resort 15 times during that period while Mr. ??? visited only 10 times. Just why do you visit a place that is essentially for children, so often. It just doesn't seem like something that somebody with normal social skills would bother themselves with. After all, you have no children of your own. Is that correct?" I told her that visiting the park was a normal thing for us to do, either together or with other friends. I mentioned that I have been a passholder ever since they started offering them. To that, her response was (I am copying this from the court record verbatim) "Maybe we should keep an eye on you as well". My heart sank. My love of Disney was being used to paint my partner, and by association, myself as immoral sexual deviants who go to theme parks because we are acting on some perverse motive. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

    About 3 months after the charges were filed, the prosecution offered him a "plea deal" of three years if he pled guilty. If he refused, and took it to a trial, the prosecutor would fight for the maximum sentence of 18 years! He insisted that he was innocent and rejected the agreement. He and I had more than a couple of comversations concerning whether or not he should just give up and plead guilty just to get it over with. The prime sticking point was, if he pled or was found guilty, he would have to register as a sexual offender for life. On this we could not waver. He was innocent and they were going to have to prove him otherwise! The prosecutor told his lawyer that the case was a "slam dunk" and that soon, there was going to be one less predator (they love to use that word) on the streets. He was in for a heck of a fight for his life, name, and reputation.

    Our love of Disney has always been a shining beacon in a world that has thrown some seriously difficult situations our way and our love of the parks has never wavered. In fact, we valued it as a giver of strength during trying times. We go there to recharge our batteries when the "real world" gets rather oppressive. Now it was being turned on us. He sat beside his lawyer getting madder and madder as the prosecutor continued this line of questioning. If I answered with more than a couple of words I was admonished to refrain from talking and just answer "yes" or "no". The questions were horrible and provocative. Full of innuendo and supposition. He was not charged with any sort of a crime on a child but the prosecution made it sound as though he had. He was facing 18 years and he just had to sit there and watch as others fought for his life. I endured almost 2 hours of questioning regarding my/our "interest" in Disney. It was awful and completely off topic. I did my best to let the jury know that our appreciation for Disney didn't have any other motives behind it (not that it mattered to the prosecution). The trial went on for 6 days. The "victim", age 36 at the time, refused to come to the courtroom and testified via closed circuit camera from another town.

    My partner's lawyer had discovered that she had claimed that she was a victim on three previous occasions and had sued both the companies and the various defendants in each case. My partner was the only one who fought the charges throughout. His was the only case that made it to the trial phase. She had received three settlements from her previous employers and all three of the previous "agressors" had been bullied into pleading "no contest" in exchange for just a couple of years on charges that they were convinced, in the current predators-around-every-corner atmosphere this country is so wound up in right now. Our lawer contacted each of the convicted men and all three proclaimed their innocence. They were all defended by public defenders and told to take a "plea" in exchange for a shorter sentence.

    Upon cross examination from "our" defense attorney it was determined that she was living off the settlements and seemed to be following an established pattern where she would move on to another sucker when funds started running low. It also came out in court that she had no idea that he was gay and that he had been in a long term relationship with myself. She thought he was "single". Our lives were fine until she came along. It all came crashing down on her but she never admitted that she was a scammer. The case went to the jury at 11:00 in the morning. A verdict was reached by 12:30 and a "not guilty" finding was read at 1:05. Afterward, while my partner and I sat in the downstairs lobby waiting for some final papers to be signed, the prosecuting attorney walked by us and said "I hope you have fun with the children at Disneyland" and continued to the back exit.

    We are now attempting to return to what used to be a happy life. The verdict was read in early February and he still has not returned to DL. I went there for the final performance of The Electrical Parade but he said he just couldn't do it. While I was there, I felt a huge loss of innocence. I was aware that what I was looking at could, under the right circumstances, be falsly used against me, or anyone who frequents the park. World of Color is set to open soon but he is too "shell shocked" and wants to avoid DL for the forseeable future. His pass lapsed over a year ago while he was out on bail and he feels no need to renew. He now views, as do I, Disneyland as a place that can get you stigmatized if you are a frequent visitor. We were forced to justify our love for this place and slapped down because of it. I will probably never visit again with the sense of belonging that it gave us. Disneyland was "normal" to us, until he was placed between the cross-hairs and his love of Disney was used as a bludgeon on him/us. There were many many other accusations made along this train of thought that the prosecutor subjected him to. I got off lucky compared to what he was accused of. I was not allowed in the courtroom at any time other than when I was called to the stand because I was a "witness" and therefore not allowed to attend unsequestered. So, after this long diatribe...

    Has your love of Disney ever been used against you? Has your love of this clean, happy place ever made you the subject of ridicule, judgment, suspicion, or accusations? If so, how did you handle it? We could really use some advice here. I would love to be able to walk down Main Street U.S.A. with my partner and just have the memories of what happened be washed away and come away cleansed and rejuvinated.

    He just recently began working for his company again (at another branch office though) and still occasionally cries when he mentions what he went through, and what he was facing. He physically leaves the room when a Disneyland commercial comes on the TV or talks continuously through it. Our lives could have turned out so much worse if that blasted prosecutor had had her way. We have lost our faith in a system that uses Disney as a leveraging devise to get someone put into jail who was innocent all along. In her eyes, just having a pass made you suspect. Visiting as adults (without children) makes you suspect. His thinking now is that it looks bad for him to go. He says he probably will never be able to enjoy the parks ever again (although he occasionally does get a little dramatic). I can't fully understand what he went through but I do understand just where his mindset is coming from. He now feels he has to stay away from DL in order to protect himself from further accusations. He did NOTHING WRONG yet his mind now thinks this way. I miss how he used to be. Our relationship is still strong and we lean on one another for strength but I don't know if I will ever be able to experience IASW, POTC, Fantasmic!, or any of the other rides and attractions that he so dearly loves ever again. He's THAT scared. He even tried to talk me out of going for the final DEP. He says he is just protecting me but I feel that things have been twisted around. I always felt protected AT Disneyland. He feels utterly vulnerable there.

    Just wondering if anyone else can identify with this horror story...or knows of someone that has had their Disney interest used to mark them as a less than savory character. He has also packed up the Disney figurines that were in the display case and has put them in taped boxes for storage in the garage.

    As for the um, lady, she now works for her father in San Francisco. No reprocussions ever came from her accusations, as far as I know. She settled with the company for an undisclosed amount and she dropped the charges against them. The only reason I know where she lives/works is because the defense lawyer called us up and told us to avoid a certain business in San Francisco should we ever go up there for any reason. We have no plans to make the 420 mile trek. Now we have another reason not to go.

    Thanks for bearing with us.
    Last edited by Crazee4mm; 05-30-2010 at 04:19 AM. Reason: clarity

  2. #2

    • De la Terre la Luke
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    Re: Has your love of Disney ever been used against you?

    I'm so sorry to hear about all that you and your partner have been through. I don't know how I would cope if I was accused of something so terrible, and to have my love for Disney thrown in my face as something abnormal would really upset me. It's disgusting how the lawyers used the most innocent of interests and twisted it in the court room to make it seem perverse.

    I really hope your partner can return to Disneyland soon, it's so important to keep doing the things that you both love in life, otherwise the woman and her lawyers have won. It's so sad that he feels he wouldn't be safe there anymore.

    The woman just sounds despicable. I'm a great believer in Karma, and what goes around comes around... I hope you can both stay strong and positive, and one day you will both be ready to carry on with your lives and continue doing to things you love, including visiting Disneyland together

  3. #3

    • Dept. 41 and Club 55
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    Re: Has your love of Disney ever been used against you?

    I would hope you seriously consider filing a lawsuit against the woman, and sue her for emotional distress and lost wages, especially since she has an established history of false allegations.

  4. #4

    • Is a crazeh cat
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    Re: Has your love of Disney ever been used against you?

    Oh man that sounds awful! If everything you said is true I would definatly file a law suit against that woman. Although I'm not sure from a legal point of view if its a good idea to put all the aspects of the lawsuit up on a forum. Just saying, but I hope everything gets better for the both of you!

  5. #5

    • Disney friends are #1
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    Re: Has your love of Disney ever been used against you?

    Thanks Luke and Sosai for the sentiments. I don't think I could ever get my partner into a courtroom ever again. Even if it were for something in his best interest. If he were told that he had to appear in court for anything, he would probably have a panic attack and start shaking uncontrollably.

    I would have loved to follow up with some legal reprecussions for the "lady" but he just wants it all to be over and not revisited ever again. He has no idea that I posted this story and would probably insist that I remove it if he knew. As far as the woman, she's part of our past. It's not worth the anguish to dredge her up again. Thanks for the moral support. I just hate to see him still suffering from it. I know it's only been about 4 months, and time will heal eventually but for now, it's still an open wound.

    It's not harming us in our personal life, it's just that I hate to see him changed from the happ-ier person he used to be. I was channel surfing the other night during dinner and came across Nancy Grace. She was interrogating someone (I can't remember who) and my partner started shaking in his chair. It was like he was being cross examined himself and it just hit a nerve as to her tactics. He practically fled the room. When I caught up to him in the back yard he was panting and told me he needed some fresh air. That night he apologized and said that he had had a flashback to when he was on the stand (which I was not privy to seeing, but I read the transcript). He went through a horrific ordeal on the stand and Nancy brought it all back. Maybe a therapist might be in order if this continues. Some days he's fine. Other day's he's overly sensitive and moody. He has also taken to disbelieving anything a prosecutor says on the news and is very "closed" emotionally with his new co-workers.

    Everyone understands his trauma but he refuses any after work activities with co-workers. If he's not at work, he's home, and vice versa.
    Last edited by Crazee4mm; 05-30-2010 at 05:18 AM.

  6. #6

    • De la Terre la Luke
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    Re: Has your love of Disney ever been used against you?

    Therapy might be a good idea, to get his confidence back and maybe make the healing process a bit quicker? I can understand you both not wanting to take retaliatory legal action against the woman, as you both want this to remain in your past.

    It just makes me so angry that people like this woman abuse the U.S. legal system to try and get some cash, yet they have no awareness of how their selfish actions affect the lives of others for years after. Wherever she is, whatever she's doing, I hope there are times when she feels utterly ashamed of herself.

  7. #7

    • Vroom, vroom!
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    Re: Has your love of Disney ever been used against you?

    Hey man,
    I am sorry to hear that this happened to you and your partner.
    I wish that someday you will be able to enjoy what you love again without worrying about the what ifs that were given to you due to this court prosecution that was wrongly accused on him and you.
    And I sincerely hope that someday I will see you two in Disneyland having a good time, and that you both have let time heal your wounds.


    As to your question,
    Yes I have had used my love of Disney used against me, but not like that.
    Its so inconsequential that I will not even talk about it
    I am Scary Scott,
    Call me a turn coat, a lunatic, loup garou, or skin walker. Shape shifter, lychanthrope, A moon watcher, or just crazy.
    I am Scary Scott, The steampunk, brony, author of Northern CA, that has just moved to Southern CA!
    Poor? Yes. Money? Forget about it, I got none! If I had it, I wouldn't for long, I want too much stuff!
    Disneyland for me is my absolute favorite place on earth, So I am the oddest werewolf you ever will meet.


    Quote Originally Posted by sediment View Post
    Scary: your post is dripping something. Tastes like sarcasm.
    Quote Originally Posted by Karalora View Post
    This is excellent news! There are all sorts of good changes to the park that we were promised when Hell froze over.
    Hey, any of you like MLP Fan Fiction? (Laugh now, but It's practice for being an author some day!)
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  8. #8

    • wanderlust
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    Re: Has your love of Disney ever been used against you?

    This is really and truly horrible. While reading my heart beat uncontrollably as I was so worried about the outcome. I know the wound is still fresh in this circumstance but if I know anything about Disney is that they can take a horrible situation and make it better. It will definitely take time, months, and even many many years but I truly hope and believe that one day you and your very brave partner can visit with the same sense of happiness you once did. I've never heard of loving Disneyland being used against someone in this manner and the fact that this stigma exists really and truly saddens me. Disney is supposed to bring out the kid inside of everyone and by your story it seems like many unfortunate people have forgotten that the kid inside of them exists. That "woman" (I feel like I'm being too nice calling her that) seems truly detestable and if it wasn't going to emotionally harm you and your partner and rehash those wounds I would suggest legal actions but you know your loved one and know what is right.

    To answer the question Disney has never been used against me like that, just people questioning my maturity level, thinking that it's stupid, etc. I don't pay attention to those people.
    All this has happened before, and it will all happen again. But this time it happened in London. It happened on a quiet street in Bloomsbury. That corner house over there is the home of the Darling family. And Peter Pan chose this particular house because there were people here who believed in him.


  9. #9

    • no flash photography...
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    Re: Has your love of Disney ever been used against you?

    I'm sorry for what you both went through. One day your partner will be able to look back on these unfortunate event without feeling the painful sting. It takes time.

    As for the disney aspect...well, right or wrong it's what all attorneys will do to win a case. Not just with disney, but with anything they feel they can use against you to win the case. Obviously the jury did not agree with the prosecutor and her sour grapes response upon leaving was unprofessional and should be ignored. Easier said than done ...I know.

    Hopefully one day when the memories of the trial are not as raw you both will enjoy disney again. Once again I'm sorry you both had to go thorough such a terrible and stressful ordeal.

  10. #10

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    Re: Has your love of Disney ever been used against you?

    First of all, congratulations. I am verythankfull for you guys sticking throught the trial and not giving up. I am tired of all these scammers getting there way in the courtroom and the fact that you held out is a great thing.

    I hope one day you and your partner can enjoy the park just the same as before. It is really sad that in an attempt to get money, someone would use and innocent passion for something against another person.

    Hopefully you guys make your way to the parks soon. Best of wishes

  11. #11

    • Pilot EdForceOne
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    Re: Has your love of Disney ever been used against you?

    If Disney voluntarily gave over your Annual Pass information - at the least they should have represented the image of the company under such character assault.

    The company should have been called as a witness to defend against the notion that the park is only for children. Or at least provide a statement to the otherwise. Did your lawyer contact Disney when this angle was taken against you?
    Check out my blog - Coreplex: Rambling from inside the Grid


    Am I evil? yes, I am
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  12. #12

    • Disneymom
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    Re: Has your love of Disney ever been used against you?

    I am so so sorry for all your troubles. Some people are truly evil. This who story sound to bad to be real. How can someone get away with doing that? Hopefully time will heal and you can enjoy the park together again. Maybe if you started small, like introducing disney things alittle at a time. Get a new figurine of Disney that might show your strength in the situation and dispay it in a hide away part. Introducing alittle at a time. Maybe find a quote by Walt that is strengthening. Courage in the face of unjust. Good luck. Please look to us for support and encouragement.

  13. #13

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    Re: Has your love of Disney ever been used against you?

    Your partner needs therapy. Straight up, no question. I'm almost certain he has PTSD.

    What he needs to know is that therapy does not mean that he's crazy. He is a normal person having a normal reaction to a profoundly traumatic experience. Again, he is not crazy.

    He needs to know that he is a hero for standing up to that woman and going through with the trial. A hero. Somebody give that man a medal.

    I imagine he's now got about a bazillion Adult Fans of Disney rooting for him right now, and we are utterly outraged by the behavior of that woman and her bigoted lawyer. How dare they?

  14. #14

    • The Study of Wumbo
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    Re: Has your love of Disney ever been used against you?

    I'm so sorry that you two had to be put through that. I wish we all could have been there to prove Disneyland's real role in our lives.
    -Hale (wumbology)

    a.k.a. h2mc, omnimover.mousetalgia, omnimover, wumbology, hogbackmtn, hhmcsharry, Hale M., h2m, h2mc

    (I've never visited Disneyland Resort, Tokyo Disney Resort, Disneyland Resort Paris, nor Hong Kong Disneyland Resort, so don't be fooled when I pretend to know what I'm talking about. [But I'm pretty good with the information, if I do say so myself. And you can hit me all you want with Walt Disney World.])



  15. #15

    • Disneyland History Lover
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    Re: Has your love of Disney ever been used against you?

    Wow, what an intense situation to have to deal with it. It's really a shame that things in this world happen like that. I'm sorry for what you and your partner had to put up with. I do think also that Disney should have in some way gotten involved to explain their park as we all know it isn't just a children's place. However, the important thing in the end is that he stuck with it and came out triumphant. I can certainly see how it would affect his mindset on getting back into the parks, though. Perhaps with some therapy he'll be able to get back to that point where he wants to start going and enjoying once again. Best of luck to both of you!

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