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Lucas v. Lucas

July 11, 2008

LORI-ANN LUCAS, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
RICHARD LUCAS, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Chancery Division, Family Part, Middlesex County, FV-12-2430-07.

Per curiam.

RECORD IMPOUNDED

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Argued June 24, 2008

Before Judges Skillman and Winkelstein.

Defendant Richard Lucas appeals from a final restraining order issued by the Family Part pursuant to the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act (the Act), N.J.S.A. 2C:25-17 to -35. We affirm.

The parties were married in 2002 and have one child, a daughter, who was born on July 27, 2003. By 2007, plaintiff and defendant were in the midst of divorce proceedings, and plaintiff and her daughter were living with plaintiff's parents in Wall Township. To facilitate his visitation with the child, defendant would drive to plaintiff's parents' home, and, generally, plaintiff's father would walk the child from the house to defendant's car. On May 19, 2007, however, plaintiff's mother, Carol Stise, walked the child from the house to defendant's car. Stise testified that as she approached the car, she saw a flier that contained sexually explicit nude color photographs of plaintiff taped to the car window. Included on the photographs were plaintiff's name, address, telephone number, email address, and social security number, as well as the names and addresses of plaintiff's employers.

Upon seeing the pictures, Stise opened the car door and ripped the flier from the window. She testified that defendant responded that "there was plenty more where they came from." According to Stise, when the child observed the flier, she asked her father if he was selling the car, and defendant responded: "No, . . . I just want everybody to see how beautiful Mommy is." Stise further testified that when defendant left with the child in the car, he had already taped another flier containing nude pictures of plaintiff to the window.

When plaintiff learned what happened, she became "hysterical." She called the police, filed a police report, and obtained a domestic violence temporary restraining order against defendant. Defendant was also charged with endangering the welfare of a child and invasion of privacy.*fn1 When defendant was arrested, he gave the arresting officers several additional nude photographs of plaintiff that he had in his vehicle. Defendant denied that he had posted a flier on his car window, although he acknowledged carrying nude photographs of his wife in his vehicle.

Plaintiff testified that the photographs were taken earlier in the parties' marriage, and she had never given copies of the photographs to anyone. Although plaintiff is an exotic dancer at two clubs in New Jersey, she uses an alias to protect her identity.

When questioned if there were occasions that she was in fear of her safety as a result of actions taken by defendant, plaintiff testified as follows:

A I believe it was back in January, I'm not sure what year it was, a couple of years ago, he was threatening me about not cleaning the cat's litter box, and told me if I left him, he'd kill me, . . . I was still trying to leave the house to get out to get to my parents' house, and he wouldn't let me leave.

Q: How did he keep you from leaving?

A: There's a sliding glass door and the front door of the apartment are right next to each other, and he just reached his arms ...


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