Many people in Minnesota likely heard of the former surgeon who was accused of drugging and sexually assaulting his wife. According to the wife, he had apparently had his way with her, but a jury and judge disagreed. Instead, they acquitted the former surgeon of all charges.
Sadly, instead of being able to return home in peace, the surgeon is still litigating with his wife. Instead of arguing about who gets what property, they must consult and litigate the end of their marriage and who will get the children. The criminal trial for sexual assault is over, but family law issues are litigated at a much lower scrutiny than criminal law. What this means is that the man could be found not guilty of the sexual assault, but still be denied access to his children because a family court decided he had been assaulting his wife.
As the man approaches family law court, the judge has agreed to admit some of the criminal evidence as evidence in the family court. While it is true that after two weeks of trial the jury found the husband not guilty in a mere four hours, it is unclear how the judge will interpret the evidence. The man does believe that his acquittal will be extremely beneficial on his custody dispute, however.
While it is important that individuals can be convicted of crimes if there is only evidence beyond a reasonable doubt that the individual committed the crime, this is not the standard in all legal matters. It remains to be seen how this will play out for this man as he fights for his children.
Source: Grand Forks Herald, “Divorce trial begins Monday for surgeon acquitted of sexually assaulting wife,” Mike Notwatzki, Jan. 13, 2013
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