Woodburn’s former partner grateful she was believed, supported after domestic violence assault

  • State Senator Jeff Woodburn after getting gas at the downtown Whitefield convenience store near his home on Thursday, October 31, 2018. GEOFF FORESTER

Published: 5/13/2021 6:09:31 PM

A jury found former State Senator Jeffrey Woodburn guilty of four misdemeanor counts including a domestic violence charge but returned not guilty verdicts to five other counts following a three day trial.

Woodburn, 55, of Whitefield was found guilty of one count of domestic violence, one count of simple assault, and two counts of criminal mischief. But the jury ruled he was not guilty of three counts of simple assault, one count of domestic violence, and one count of criminal trespass.

The charges are Class A misdemeanor counts which carry a maximum sentence of one year.

The jury heard closing arguments Thursday morning and returned with a verdict after 4 p.m.

Woodburn’s former domestic partner, Emily Jacobs, said she was thankful for the verdict and those who supported her.

“Today, justice was served, and as a survivor of domestic violence, I was believed. I am grateful to the jury for convicting the defendant of domestic violence, holding him accountable for his acts of violence against me,” she said in a statement Thursday.

“Many victims of domestic violence do not come forward out of fear of retaliation or that they will not be believed. I too had that fear, especially in light of the political position and influence held by the defendant. I hope that this verdict will encourage other victims to report allegations of abuse, and that we will see a day when all perpetrators are held accountable,” Jacobs added.

Woodburn said he welcomed the outcome as well.

“It’s gratifying to be believed by the jury (convicted for what I admitted to and not guilty for other 5 other charges) but more important to be heard. The process has revealed much – and will reveal more. As hard as this has been, by every measure my life is better because of it,” Woodburn said in a Facebook posting.

During testimony, Woodburn and the Jacobs described how they met as active members of the Democratic party and their friendship evolved into a relationship and eventually the two were engaged to be married. Both described the other as controlling and the victim charged Woodburn with biting her, throwing a cup of water at her, and punching her in the stomach. Woodburn said she held all the power in the relationship and described the victim as physically aggressive against him.

Testifying as a witness for Woodburn was Dr. Paul Donahue, the Littleton therapist who counseled the pair, as a couple and individually.

As a result of the charges, both Woodburn and Jacobs said they lost their jobs – his for a non-profit and the victim as a social worker. Woodburn lost his re-election to the state Senate and the victim lost her bid to be Coos County Treasurer.

The courtroom has been closed for the trial. The press and public watch the proceedings from an adjacent courtroom via live-stream video in keeping with new court protocols in domestic violence cases.

Editor’s note: The Monitor does not typically name survivors of domestic abuse. In this case, Emily Jacobs was willing to be identified.

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