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Judge Rules against UCG Stalker

King County District Court
East Division, Redmond Courthouse
Court Room #1
Date: September 15, 2004  10:05 AM
Judge: David Steiner Presiding
Case #: 047-035220

Plaintiffs: Richard and Jo Briley
Accused: Arthur Dwyer

Charge: Stalking  (AUDIO)
Plaintiffs seeking injunction


J:       Judge David Steiner
JB:    Mrs. Briley, Plaintiff
RB:   Mr. Rick Briley, Plaintiff's Husband and co-plaintif
AD:   Mr. Art Dwyer, Accused
CA:   Mr. Carl A. Anderson, Witness--UCG Deacon
JBg:    Mr. Jerry Berg, Witness--UCG Deacon
SB:    Mrs. Sharon Berg, Witness--Wife of Mr. Jerry Berg

UCG: United Church of God, International Association


J: OK, one of the concerns that I have initially is that the, uh, petitioner alleges that there are mental health issues, uh, that Mr. Dwyer suffers from and so I need to know exactly, uh, well maybe exactly is not the right word, I need to have some idea of Mr. Dwyer's ability in handling himself in this hearing. Uh, Mr. Dwyer, do you understand what has been requested?

AD: Yes, your honor, I do.

J: And you understand that what the petitioners report shows that she has been unlawfully harassed by you and that the harassment in this case she alleges is an inappropriate attachment she alleges you have developed toward her and that attachment has exhibited itself in a number of behaviors including letter writing, uh, not letter writing--but communications made to her, even communications via third parties which were apparently her church, former church, perhaps current church, so you understand what she had to show?

AD: Yes, your honor, I do.

J: And here she's able to show that her will has been ordered is that you have no contact with her.

AD: I can't hear out of one ear, your honor.

J: Which one?

AD: This one here... It's kind of clogged up.

J: All right, I'll tell you what, I'm going to have everybody trade places, so Mr. Dwyer, I'm going to have you sit at that table and we'll let you sit on the end chair there, and we'll have your good ear facing me, so we can switch right now.... Sir you can kind of tilt your chair--yup, that's right.


J: So the question I have is, you understand that she's required to show that harassment and do you have any questions about what I will do if she does show the harassment?

AD: No, your Honor, I don't.

J: Do you have any questions about this hearing? About the process? Anything to do with what we are doing today?

AD: No, your Honor, I don't.

J: And Mrs. Briley, do you have any questions?

JB: Your Honor, Judge Howard suggested that we could revisit the original hearing to make like three different changes to it and one of them adding my husband--he wanted to be added, but he couldn't be present that day...

J: OK.

JB: So, we wanted him to be included in the order as protected also.

J: Well, I'm going to add him in by your motion as a party. He should have been included on the original order, he made the request. Let me just ask before I do that, actually, Mr. Dwyer, are you surprised by this request that Mr. Briley be added as a party you cannot contact.

AD: Your Honor, to put it mildly, yes.

J: Did you see that his name was on the original request?

AD: It was crossed off in the original.

J: Why does it surprise you that he might be now a petitioner.

AD: Why does it surprise me, Your Honor, that he might be a petitioner? Well, I would imagine because he is her husband--she's his wife.

J: That's right. So, you wouldn't be surprised for that reason.

AD:  For that reason.

J: All right. So any reason you why feel you can't.. aren't prepared today you aren't prepared to answer the request today that Mr. Briley be included.

AD: Your Honor, I don't know how to answer that, since I don't have a... well, if Mr. Briley desires... I'll put it like this... no matter, well... I have no objections. I have no objections, Your Honor.

J: Well, let me indicate that it is extremely unusual for a family member not to be included in a petition, if they are resident in the same home, normally all family members would be included.  So, the motion to include Mr. Briley is granted. Any other questions from the petitioner?

JB: In the original hearing with Judge Howard, she, when I was told I could only put down to restrict the respondent from being 500 to within 500 feet, she said, "Why not put 1,500?", and I said that would be great. And so she told me 1,500 and I was supposed to tell the clerk out there, and I forgot.

J: OK, well, you know what? That might not matter, since, unfortunately, sometimes you come before a judge and the judge just has a policy. Well I do. And it's 100 yards, unless there's some other indication.  And let me tell you why: The reason for the 100 yard policy is that often it's very hard for people to calculate in their head what the other distances are, and the order then, can become quite unenforceable. Somebody comes within 1,400 feet and just proving they were within 1,400 feet can be very difficult. So I think that a number that people can know a football field, generally. And so, the 100 yards, I think, makes orders more enforceable, which is why I stick to the 100 yard distance. So it's right now says 500 feet, it's likely I'll reduce it, if I grant the order, to 100 yards. Any other questions?

JB: We wanted to--if it asks for how long--why we don't it just a year--we want it... for.. apparently a computer will not accept indefinitely, so I was advised by an advocate to ask for 25 years, and I would like to that.

J: And again, I generally don't issue orders for that period of time and it's not that the computer will not accept them, it's that records over a period time, tend to grow old, people tend to wonder, they can get lost, people tend to wonder, "Does that record exist?". And to make orders more clear and therefore more enforceable, I usually limit my orders to--if I grant them more than a year--to 5 years. And you can come back two months before the order's to expire and you can request the order be reissued and it is then, if the order is issued, it is then Mr. Dwyer's responsibility--his burden--to show why the order should not be reissued.   So, sir, you have raised your hand?

CA: Yes, Your Honor. I guess, since I don't know the Brileys, but I do know Arthur, I was here to support him, in fact this has gone on for about a year, I guess....

JB: Seven years.

J: A little debate about what how long it has been going on...

CA: What I'm saying is, I've been with Arthur now for a year, and I have not heard or had any indication that he still has a problem with Mrs. Briley, and knowing him, he's been in support groups....

J: OK, it sounds like you're testifying, essentially, right now. We haven't even started the hearing yet.

CA: OK, I guess, I'm not used to this myself, so I'm just trying to inject something because I'm not sure that Arthur really understands it.

J: OK, well, uh, we will hear the testimony from the petitioners and then, hopefully, he'll understand what it is that they are saying.

CA: Thank you.

J: Who would like to like to testify first?

JB: Your Honor, I have, um....

J: Ms. Briley, by speaking, the answer's yes, that you would like to testify first?

JB: Yes.

J: Would you raise your right arm? Do you swear or affirm to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?

JB: Yes, I do.

J: All right. What I would like you to do is, first of all, tell me,  how you know Mr. Dwyer, and then begin with the date that is most distant, that is, the first incident that you allege, and then working your way forward, tell me why you believe you have been harassed.

JB: Excuse me, I'd like to... I have... a note I wrote out here about violating the terms. I've know Mr. Dwyer for... well, I gave... I wrote this situation background, which has it all down here....

J: OK.

JB: If it would be useful to you. I thought it would be super.

J: How long is it?

JB: It isn't as long as it looks because the last three pages are--this is actually a proposal that I offered to our church in 2000 to... after consulting with different agencies and passing by them and they thought this was a reasonable....

J: Why don't you just testify? Why don't you just testify to the incidents that have occurred?

JB: I'll do my best.

J: OK.

JB: I have a lot of health problems that make my stamina and my ability to think on my feet a little bit... you know, very challenged, myself.

J: Why don't you hand the document to the court then? The court will make copies. We'll hand out the to both. What I am going to you ask is, who wrote that document?

JB: I did.

J: And is it all true and correct?

JB: Yes, Your Honor.

J: All right. So, while we're getting copies, perhaps you can give me an overview of why you think the order should be given.

JB: Sure. In... let's see... in 2003, our attorney Jim Tomlinson, sent the respondent a letter, based on behaviors that he had had, and we made that a part of the original order, and do you have that there, Your Honor? There is another copy of it here, if you'd like.

J: I did see it.

JB: You did see an order.

J: It wasn't an order, it was a letter.

JB: Excuse me, I mean, it was a letter. Excuse me. In fact, it was a letter in order trying to prevent to ever having to do this and be here today. And then, in the letter,  the letter lists, it lists all the things that respondent has been doing and that have been very troubling things. We actually started in about '96 or '97. I was trying to place it. It's kind of hard to place it. I think it has been about at least seven years that this has been going on at different levels.

J: So, the question apparently presented by one of the friends of Mr. Dwyer is, hasn't this stopped over the last year?

JB: I'm sorry, Your Honor I didn't....

J: Hasn't this stopped in the last year?

JB: Hasn't it stopped? No it has not.

J: What has happened in the last year?

JB: OK. I could give you a copy of this while I give you that run down of the timeline, if you like.

J: Why don't you give me the last year?

JB. OK. OK. OK. The attorney letter was sent to respondent June 30, 2003. On July 11, respondent phones the petitioner's attorney, our attorney, and tells Mr. Tomlinson that he has only one question, and that is, "Is this letter a court order?". That's his only question. And Tomlinson relates--"I told him"--this is a quote from Tomlinson now, our attorney, "I told him it was not"--not a court order--"that it was a letter from me advising him in no uncertain terms that must be no further contact with you"--meaning me, the petitioner, "I told him that if the terms of the letter were violated, a formal restraining order would be immediately obtained. He said that he understood, and that if you,"--meaning me, the petitioner, "wanted no further contact, then he would not initiate any. He said that he would abide by the letter and that he considered the matter concluded. He then hung up." OK. Between 2003 and 2004, the respondent has continued to engage in prolonged discussions about petitioner with non mental health professionals in his church, contrary to what elders have told us in the church that he would be instructed not to do, and the reason for that being, that, he has evidenced a lot of delusional behaviors to us and we consider this a psychiatric problem that should be discussed only with mental health professionals and when it is discussed with someone other than a professional who does not know how to deal with delusion, all it does is feed the delusion for the respondent and make things worse. So we especially requested, that he not be allowed. And in addition, it feels like a third party communication, anyway because word gets back to us that he's been talking for hours, you know, about me and about his feelings about me--it gets back to us. So.

October, 2003, in the Fall, people in our church attend an eight day church convention, and within a week, of the 2003 annual eight day church convention--which we also refer to as "The Feast", respondent is telling friends he is going to Hawaii to the Feast. There are many different Feast Sites around the world. Later on, it is said, within days of my husband's and my leaving for the Feast to Bend, Oregon, within days, respondent has been--we discover--the respondent has been maintaining a motel with reservation at our Feast Site, in defiance of his pastor's orders, at Motel 8, I believe.

J: I'm hearing gasps and comments from the respondent's side that I'm not very happy with, so if I continue to hear that, the respondent will be found in contempt and anybody else will be removed from the courtroom.

JB: OK. Now, this conversation which we didn't know was going on until November of 2003, but, in October, within of a week of traveling to the Feast, respondent confides in a friend that he is really planning to go to Bend for the Feast, despite his having told people he is going to Hawaii, and despite his pastor's orders, and he's even willing to forfeit plane tickets he has to Hawaii to do so. The friend who is deeply concerned about the situation phones us, or, excuse me, I phone the person later, but anyway, they didn't phone us right away....

J: I'm going to interrupt. Unfortunately, I have four hearings, I have in custodies coming in about ten or minutes, so I'm going to ask that you sort of "fast forward" to the facts, rather than all the details.

JB: OK. I'm sorry, Your Honor.

J: That's alright.

JB: This year... just a minute here now... this was, um... could my husband take over now? I'm getting kind of exhausted here. Thank you.

J:  Did he show up at the Feast?

RB: No he did not, Your Honor, but he was... we were... Sorry.

J: That's all right. Do swear or affirm to tell the truth, whole truth and nothing but the truth?

RB: Yes, I do. The friend he was confiding in, Your Honor,  states that he basically up to the last minute of his plane's departure for Hawaii it was real "touch and go", he was not even sure that he was going to Hawaii--it took a lot of convincing for the respondent to actually go to Hawaii.

J: OK. May I just jump forward a little bit and ask, from your allegations, this has been going on for eight years--seven years?

RB. Seven.

J: Why have you decided now to comment?

RB: I'll get to that in a minute, Your Honor. This year...

J: Well, if you wouldn't mind... What happened that decided, that made you decide, this why you needed to come in.

JB: Could I answer that, Your Honor.

J: Sure:

JB: OK. So, what went on--this is like a memory of last year, just very quickly--what had to happen was an involvement of many ministers and the Feast coordinator, they had to do all this last minute try to block respondent from being in Bend, so they scrambled, and they were prepared to call the police or whatever, if he arrived in Bend and tell him he would not be allowed in--to attend there. Now, we had that in our memory, that it happened last year. OK. Now, this year, we created a paper trail of making sure that respondent's minister--Pastor--told him, himself, that he was not to go to Alaska for the Feast this year--that's the place where we planned to go. And... we asked....

J: And that's coming up in October?

JB: In October. Yes, in fact, we're to leave in a couple weeks now. And then we got a confirmation that his pastor--the respondent's pastor--had indeed instructed him he was not to go to Alaska for the Feast. That was done... the confirmation for that was July 21st, 2004, that he would not be at the 2004 Feast. Now.... You can take over there, because you have the form....

RB: Your Honor, there's a registration process to tell the Feast coordinator where you're going and we had checked earlier in the year after the registration and the respondent was not on the Alaska Site. And then on August 8th of this year, I received a call from a person in respondent's congregation who has overheard him talking about going to the Alaska Feast Site and he's looking--he has his plane tickets--and he's looking for a rental car, and so to avoid the same problem as the last year at the last minute, shove back and forth, we contacted our minister, and he has sent us an e-mail saying that, talking to the respondent's minister, he has been told not to go to Alaska, after already being registered for it.

J: So that was the incident that prompted this request?

RB: Yes.

JB: And, excuse me, Your Honor, there's one more thing that happened: We delivered the original order, if you don't mind, I think this might be really important... I think it is really important. Of course, everyone thinks that in court.

J: And maybe it is really important--I guess I won't know until I hear.

JB: Thank you. On September 2nd, 2004 we delivered the order to the North Precinct where respondent lives. On September 3rd. And the police told us they would be trying to deliver it for the next five days--every shift, they would try. On September 3rd, 2004, petitioner was working on flowers on side of her residence, when a white compact car, matching the description of the respondent's vehicle, pulls into their parking area and sits there perpendicular to parked cars....

J: And I would ask... I see you are looking at the respondent when you say that, so I would as you not to do that.

JB: I'm sorry, Your Honor. OK. This white compact car pulls into their parking--our parking area--and sits there perpendicular to the parked cars, and in a fire lane, directly facing their unit.

J: Why do you think it's the respondent?

JB: Nothing happens for several seconds, until suddenly, the car backs up rapidly, and the car--the person in the car--did not come to drop anybody off, they didn't drop anybody off, they didn't pick anybody up; the car backs up rapidly, shoots forward to the stop sign on the main road, and accelerates rapidly into a left turn lane almost impacting a van and causing its driver to honk wildly. OK.

J: And that was when?

JB: That was September 3rd.

J: And that was where?

JB: That was right at our residence.

J: Just in... tell me again--where you think the car parked? Stopped?

JB: It pulled into our parking area, but perpendicular to parked cars, so, even though there were spaces, where it could have parked--where there were empty spaces....

J: Most people don't have a parking area. Most people have a driveway and then they have a place where they can park by the side of a street. Do you have a parking area?

RB: Your Honor, it's a small parking lot. It has four parking units or spots on each side, then there's a curb on the front, where it's a no parking area--that's where the cars....

J: Is that a condo?

RB: Yes, a townhouse.

J: OK. OK. And the reason you think it was the respondent?

JB: It was certainly suspicious acting. You know, I mean to, ah. Also....

J: Well, OK.

JB: The police got upset with me for not reporting it right away. They got very upset.

J: Why do you think it was the respondent, other than this car did this?

JB: I think it is the kind of thing he would do....

J: You don't know who that car belongs to?

RB / JB: Yes, we do!

JB: And that's what I am saying: It was a car matching the description of the respondent....

J: OK. That's one reason you think it was the respondent's.

RB / JB: Yes.

J: The car matched the description....

RB / JB: Yes.

J: And... what... give me a little more description?

JB: OK, well, it was a white compact car.

J: OK.

JB: And we know he had a white Toyota--a small car....

J: OK, thank you.

J: Sir, can I have you raise your right arm.

AD: Oh. Ah. Excuse me, Your Honor.

J: Do you swear or affirm to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?

AD: Yes, Your Honor, I do.

J: All right. Do you have any response to what has been said?

AD: I'd rather not give my response, Your Honor... I just don't want to use language like that....

J: Well, most people--if they disagree with someone--can give a response without poor language.

AD: All right, I just won't use poor language. I'll just say I disagree with her.

J: That's it?

AD: Thank you, Your Honor.

J: Sir! Do you have an infatuation with Ms. Dwyer?

JB: Ms. Briley.

J: Sorry.

AD: Your Honor, do I have an infatuation? No, Your Honor, I don't.

J: Did you used to?

AD: Yes, Your Honor, I did.

J: When did it end?

AD: Ah... I'd rather not get into the details of it, but I could give you the details of it, if you want.

J: I do.

AD: All right. I met the ah... I met Mrs. Briley back in... I ah... I remember her in church, you know. I was on the sound crew, when they put this cute woman in the balcony.

J: OK. The details that I asked for were the details of when the infatuation ended.

AD: The detail of... ah... we broke up in May of 1996.

J: OK. And very briefly, how long did you have a relationship with Ms. Briley?

AD: Let's see. I met her in... ah... uh... April 1991, and we broke up in May of 1996.

J: OK. And, since then?

AD: Since then. Uh. Well. Let's just say I wasn't the most mental... mental....

J: Have you had any kind of a relationship with her since then?

AD: No, Your Honor, I haven't.

J: Have you wanted to?

AD: Yes, Your Honor, I have.

J: And when did that desire to that relationship with her end?

AD: It ended when I got the letter from Mr. Tomlinson.

J: And how did it end then?

AD: Well, I looked at all the results of what I it was I was doing, everything. I was praying for her and everything, and this was the result I had to show for it. And I just washed my hands of this woman completely. I called up Mr. Tomlinson; I asked him, "Is this a restraining order?", and he said, "Well, I wrote it". And I said, "Well, I'm going to treat it as though it were a restraining order, except the Feast Sites".

J: Let me just stop you for a second. I know that you have several people here with you, who may have wanted to testify concerning this whole issue. Let me just ask you, do any of you believe that Mr. Dwyer had a relationship with Ms. Briley, between 1991 and 1996? You do? And you believe that because?

J: Sure, come on up. Have a seat. Raise your right arm. Sir, do you swear or affirm to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?

JBg: Yes sir, I do.

J: Your name?

JBg: Jerry Berg.

J: I'm sorry, the last name?

JBg: Berg. B-E-R-G.

J: And Mr. Berg, do you know Ms. Briley?

JBg: Yes, I do.

J: And how do you know her?

JBg: I known them for a number of years, like 30 years or more, and my wife and I attended their wedding.

J: All right. And the reason you believe that Ms. Briley had a relationship with Mr. Berg that they were dating, because he referred to them breaking up in 1996 is?

JBg: Ah, he had an infatuation with her because she was helping him with his mental and other problems....

J: And that's what....

JBg: I'm sorry?

J: And that was when?

JBg: Several years. I think. We were not in the area all the time, but it was from approximately '92 to '96.

J: So she was helping him. But the reason you believe they were dating is?

JBg: They were not dating. They were only friendly association because she was trying to help him with his problems. And she....

J: That's not the question I asked you. The question I asked you was whether they had a relationship, and I guess I should have defined that. You took that to mean they knew each other. That's not what I meant. Mr. Dwyer was fairly clear in that they had a romantic relationship, between 1991 and 1996, and broke up in 1996.

JBg: No, that wasn't what he was referring to. They never had a romantic relationship. It was strictly a friend to friend relationship. He used the term "breaking up" in a manner that is not... that we would not use as "breaking up" being a "woman and a man". So what he said "breaking up" he meant they did not see each other any more--no further relationship.

J: All right, thank you very much. Uh, sir, is there anything else you would like to tell me?

AD: Well, yes, Your Honor. Just to reaffirm, I have not had... I have never had, and do not have, any romantic feelings for this woman and I have NEVER had any romantic feelings for this woman, EVER.

 J: What was your infatuation with her; what was your infatuation with her, then?

AD: Well, as I found out the hard way, Your Honor, you can love a woman without being romantic with her. I found her up here and found no romance with her at all.

J: Well, I don't think anyone is debating whether was any romance, the debate is whether you wanted to have a romantic relationship.

AD: No, Your Honor, I did not ever. It never even crossed my mind of her having a romantic relationship with her.

J: OK. Anything else?

AD: No, Your Honor, not at this time.

J: We seem to be going in circles, Mr. Dwyer. I seems very clear you had a romantic infatuation with Ms. Briley for a number of years.

AD: I beg your....

J: Sir, that's the end now; I'm speaking and I'm going to issue an order. And I make it very clear to you, sir, that if you have any contact with Ms. Briley, in any manner, through third parties, through anyone else, You'll be charged with a crime. The crime is punishable by a year in jail and a $5,000 fine. So the end is now, sir.

JBg: Your Honor.

J: Don't get me wrong. 

JBg: May I, respectfully...

J: Very quickly.

JBg: I don't feel you have all the facts, sir.

J: Unfortunately, I've held the hearing, I had as many facts as I need. Someone like Ms. Briley should not have to look over her shoulder, all her life, worrying about what Mr. Dwyer is going to be doing, and it's very clear--very clear--and it should be very clear to everyone in this courtroom, that Mr. Dwyer has had an infatuation with Ms. Briley for a number of years, and it appears that she was absolutely right to be concerned for her safety. After all, when someone has an infatuation with them, that just will not end, and is not willing to allow it to end, then one has to worry, what is that person capable of?  What are they going to do next? So, sir, I've held the hearing, I'm going to issue the order, I'm going to issue the order for five years. I want to make it very clear to you, sir, that any violation of this is going to be very, very serious. If you are in the same place--if you find yourself by accident in the same place as Ms. Briley--you must leave: Which means it should be very clear to you, that you cannot go to any of these Feast Sites she may be at. At this point I'm not going to require counseling, but that is something I might consider in the future. So--yes, sir?

JBg: He is in counseling with church elders and has made tremendous progress in the last year. It is not known by others... but he has made tremendous progress in this situation....

J: Do you tell me, sir, if you are aware of this, and you are aware of this infatuation, why doesn't Ms. Briley have a right to an order that require he have no contact with her? Why shouldn't she have it?

JBg: Because, he has no desire to have any contact with her.

J: Well then, there won't be any violation of the order.

JBg: Does that mean this is for just this state or all states?

J: All states. Everywhere. I would presume that if he didn't want to violate it in this state, he wouldn't want to violate it in another state.

JBg: That's true. Now, is there a way for us to appeal this decision?

J: Yes, there is, sir. You can get the information at the front desk.

RB: Your Honor, can I say something?

J: Yes.

RB: I have affidavits here speaking to our character. I have one from a lady who has gone through a similar experience with Mr. Dwyer. He has also stated to my wife to my wife seven or eight years ago....

J: I've already held the hearing. Now you can put those in the file, if you'd like, and they can certainly appeal.

RB: I was to be added on the list. I noticed you only said my wife.

J: The order will include you. I presume... do you have the closed orders?

Clerk: I do, after this, yes.

J: I'm going to have to draft the order, and that will take me a few moments.

JBg: May I approach the bench with a letter?

J: Sure. If you would like to file a letter as well, you may.

JB: But we haven't seen it, Your Honor, and we have served the respondent, and we would like a copy of what ever that is.

J: Sure. You can have a copy with the order. I'm not going to consider things which have just been filed. I've already made my decision based on the facts which were presented here.

JB: We just wanted things in place in case there were such an appeal because we want them to... we feel they are very important support for everything for our character.

J: OK. I just want to say, the support you're providing is appropriate. The opposition to this woman receiving the kind of security that she deserves after these years is inappropriate. Yes, ma'am, very quickly.

SB: Just one thing. He has not had--as they said--any contact with her since last June, in over a year. He does not want contact with her. So I still don't understand.

J: Well, I'm sorry you don't, ma'am. The point is, the fear that is based on years of his infatuation is enough for her to say, and for me to say, that if she was entitled to the order a year ago and she comes in now, she is not simply making this up, and saying that my fear--I have an unjustifiable fear, she has a justifiable fear, she has a right to the order now, even if he hasn't tried to contact her in a year.  

OK. If I could have you have a seat, for a little while, I will--apparently we're going to get that order drafted. The advocate is going do that, so I am going to take my other cases now.

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