Coach, police officer appear in court, each seeking restraining order
Amanda Bacher described the ex-girlfriend she’s charged with assaulting as a relentless aggressor, saying the woman, a Pembroke police officer, called her twice from a land line after Bacher had blocked her cell phone number.
On the night she’s accused of assaulting Officer Jacqueleyn Parker, Bacher had gone to the woman’s Concord home to return her house key and definitively end their relationship, Bacher told a judge yesterday.
Bacher, a Concord High School basketball and lacrosse coach, and her ex-girlfriend were in Concord’s district court yesterday arguing for competing restraining orders against one another. Parker’s request, filed first, was temporarily granted last month, and yesterday Judge Edward Tenney said it would remain in effect until he issued an order from the hearing.
While the Monitor has not previously named Parker because she is identified as the victim of an alleged assault, yesterday she appeared in open court arguing for her civil petition.
Bacher was arrested after the Concord police responded to Parker’s Union Street home March 11. Parker told the police Bacher arrived unannounced and accused her of being in a new relationship. When Parker said she was wrong, Bacher attacked her, pulling at her shirt, slamming her against a door and wrapping her hands around her neck, the police said. The incident continued for about 45 minutes until Bacher left, according to the police.
Bacher was charged shortly after, when a Concord officer saw her pull into Parker’s driveway.
But Bacher said yesterday that she only returned to her ex’s home because the woman had been erratic and unstable that night and she wanted to make sure she was okay.
“I wasn’t sure why, (but) I had comfort in the fact that I saw her light on in her kitchen and living room,” she said.
Bacher said she recently had extensive ACL reconstruction surgery and wouldn’t have been physically capable of the kind of force she is accused of. On the other hand, Parker is a police officer and used her training that night to keep her from leaving the apartment, Bacher said.
Parker, who appeared in court without a lawyer, testified that she did stand her “ground” near the door after letting Bacher into the apartment. But she said she never kept Bacher from leaving.
Bacher’s lawyer, Jim Rosenberg, insisted otherwise.
“While you maintained your ground in front of it, you talked about how she’s not leaving until she believes you with regard to the other (relationship),” Rosenberg said.
“Sure,” Parker replied
“Yes,” Parker said.
Rosenberg attempted to show their argument as only the most recent time Parker has disregarded Bacher’s attempts to cut off communication. Bacher said that she blocked the woman’s number in the week before the incident. Parker acknowledged yesterday that she evaded that measure by calling twice from the Pembroke Police Department.
Rosenberg called the behavior “wildly inappropriate and absolutely frightening.”
To receive a restraining order a person must prove she fears for her safety. Bacher yesterday also accused Parker of unsafe practices with firearms, saying she has left her gun “anywhere from the trunk of the car to my bag to her silverware drawer, anywhere that it would land.”
Parker clearly doesn’t feel that same fear for her safety, Rosenberg argued, saying she emailed Bacher on March 20, eight days after a judge granted her temporary restraining order.
“You’ve seen in your professional life all sorts of times where the recipient of a restraining order tries to bait the other party to contact them, correct?” Rosenberg asked Parker. “Because you know as a police officer that if she were to hit ‘reply’ to this message she’s committed a crime, right?”
Parker said that was right, but she didn’t expect a response and only wanted Bacher to know she “cared.”
“You also said, ‘I do care about you even though you expressed your hatred to me,’ ” Rosenberg said, reading from the email. “You then say, ‘Just know I don’t want this.’ ”
“I don’t wish this upon anybody,” Parker replied.
Rosenberg asked what she meant.
“This situation,” Parker said.
“This situation? This is a mess, right?”
“Absolutely,” Parker continued. “I 100 percent agree with you.”
Parker’s appeal to the judge yesterday echoed the facts given by the Concord police. She said the March 11 incident wasn’t the only time Bacher had abused her, but the judge wouldn’t consider that testimony because other acts of violence weren’t mentioned in Parker’s motion.
She also questioned why, if Bacher only wanted to return her key, she hadn’t dropped it in her mailbox downstairs rather than taking the two flights of stairs up to her apartment, considering her recent knee surgery.
“She didn’t have to come over to my house,” Parker said. “She didn’t have to knock on my door. She didn’t have to come in when I invited her in. She didn’t have to go hands on with me.”
No breach of policy
Pembroke police Chief Dwayne Gilman said yesterday his office is aware of the incident and is not taking any action regarding Parker because the Concord Police Department verified she isn’t facing charges.
He said that he wasn’t aware Parker, who has been with the department for just a few months, had called her ex-girlfriend from the station but said there is no policy against employees using work phones for personal use. Gilman did say he planned to look into the issue.
Before she reported the incident to the Concord Police Department, Parker placed a call to a Pembroke Police Department supervisor, who came to her home that night. Parker said yesterday that the man was off duty and that she called him as a friend, not as an officer.
Gilman confirmed that the supervisor was off duty and said he had not taken a police cruiser to Parker’s home.
“I checked into that personally,” Gilman said. “There is no infraction on our end with him going there. In fact, I applaud it because she’s an officer who needed to talk to someone as a friend. . . . If he was in a cruiser and a uniform, that would be a problem.”
Rosenberg said yesterday that he doesn’t think the Concord Police Department handled the incident inappropriately because they “were responding to reports made to them.”
Bacher has been placed on leave from her coaching positions at Concord High School, according to a school official. She is facing three counts of simple assault, Class A misdemeanors that carry maximum sentences of up to one year in jail and $2,000 fines.
Bacher was involved in a high-profile stalking case at the high school in 2007 when she accused a teacher of calling her excessively and forcing an unprofessionally close friendship. She and the teacher, Patricia Hardman, ultimately settled Bacher’s stalking petition privately.
Both went on to file civil lawsuits against the other, Bacher accusing Hardman of grooming her for a sexual relationship and Hardman claiming her former student had defamed her and invaded her privacy.
Those suits were resolved without a trial, according to Rosenberg.