News

Another case of deadly LGBT domestic violence in Mass.

by Peter Cassels
Contributor
Monday Aug 23, 2010
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A Massachusetts murder has once again focused attention on LGBT domestic violence.

A Brockton woman walked into that city’s police station on Aug. 9 and allegedly confessed to killing her ex-girlfriend’s Alcoholics Anonymous sponsor because the woman allegedly had come between the couple.

Eunice Field, 54, told police she killed Lorraine Wachsman, 62, at Wachsman’s Bridgewater condo, according to Assistant District Attorney Thomas Flanagan.

Field left a note for her ex-girlfriend, Renee Williams, in the Brockton apartment they shared stating that she killed Wachsman, a retired school teacher, "for taking away the love of her life", Flanagan said at Field’s Aug. 10 arraignment. The prosecutor said Field stabbed Wachsman three or four times in the back and neck with a serrated knife.

Flanagan reported Field was stained with blood when she showed up at the Brockton police station. She showed no emotion, however, when she confessed.

John Darrel, Field’s attorney, said his client told police at the beginning of the interview she has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and that she was supposed to be on medication. Darrel did not say whether Field was taking medication at the time of the stabbing.

A judge ordered Field held without bail pending a Sept. 3 court appearance.

"This is a terrible tragedy and a painful reminder that partner abuse not only affects survivors but also their community of friends, family and loved ones," said Beth Leventhal, executive director of the Network/La Red, a Boston-based organization that seeks to end LGBT domestic violence. "We know that extreme jealousy and possessiveness over one’s partner or ex-partner are two of the tell-tale signs of partner abuse."

A death this year in another Massachusetts town also may have a domestic-violence connection.

Annamarie Rintala, 37, was found strangled in the basement of her Granby home March 29.

Police are looking at Rintala’s wife, Cara, as a person of interest because she was charged with domestic assault in Oct. 2008 after Annamarie reported that her wife had struck her in the back of the head with a closed fist. Authorities dismissed charges in that case at the victim’s request.

Police have yet to make an arrest in connection with Rintala’s death.

As EDGE previously reported, a Boston jury last February convicted a woman on two counts of second-degree murder for setting fire to a South Boston apartment building that killed her girlfriend’s two young daughters after an argument in April 2008.

Domestic violence, both physical and emotional, remains a major problem among gay and lesbian couples.

The Gay Men’s Domestic Violence Project reports one in four gay men experience domestic violence. The rate is even higher among lesbians. One in three likely will experience domestic violence during their lifetimes, the same rate as straight women.

The Network/La Red said many lesbians have the misconception their space is safe.

"We know from the recent cases that women physically and emotionally abuse their female partners, as well as their partners that may identify as transgender," Kaitlin Nichols, director of organizing and education, told EDGE in e-mail. "We also know that women have been seriously injured or killed by their female partners, or lost everything and become homeless due to domestic violence. The myth of women’s communities as safe communities has prevented many women from reaching out for support. If they have shared what is happening, they are met with disbelief from their community."

Peter Cassels is a recipient of the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association’s Excellence in Journalism award. His e-mail address is pcassels@edgepublications.com.

Comments

  • Anonymous, 2010-08-23 19:35:43

    Thank you for this story. Domestic violence is still an under-reported and underappreciated crime. Too often the mere mention of the topic brings out the most vitriolic comments. The LGBTQ community needs more compassionate writers and advocates to help create more awareness to the public, and more safe spaces for survivors. --Gabriel’s World www.gabrielsworld.com Crime Fiction*Gay Hero*Save the World


  • Anonymous, 2010-08-25 19:06:46

    Why, heck, who could have missed this or any of the other referenced stories? I mean, they were reported on, ad nauseum, by the Networks and the NY Times. Well, they WERE . . . weren’t they? Oh, i see. Uhhh, never mind.


  • Anonymous, 2010-08-26 10:15:51

    I think this story speaks to yet another issue all together. This is the issue of creepy, creepy people being involved, too involved in the personal lives of others in the great cult of Alcoholic Anonymous. Obviously, murder is severe. But some people, and I am one of them, believe that AA in fact kills, it does not save the lives it boasts about saving.


  • Anonymous, 2010-08-26 13:59:08

    @Anonymous 10-08-26 10:15:51, i am in full agreement with your post and I am also an AA true believer. You present the "dark side" of AA especially the sponsorship role. I actually get violent (very loud) when approached my megalomaniacal sponcee-mongers and put them in their places post haste. Ask anyone at the Victor E Club DeLand FL about "Jimmy’s " temperment about certain "helpful guys" (my ass! just look at their track record of failures!) There is an insideous support of bullies and controlers within the "religion of AA" (see AA Spirituality published by the original Akron OH group) hateful to me as pedophiles in traditional churches. I know way to many members who MUST have sponcees for their "program" to work they say. They are pathetic souls. Many of them admit to have many incomplete steps themselves yet they take an overflow of sponcee like gluttons (aimed at one particular fat man I wanna choke). Thanks for letting me vent. True sponsorship is a very grave and serious responsibility that I for one will not take on in the near future until I resolve all steps in my 8 year running sobriety. Yes AA is a religion of "soft peddled Christianity" and I love it for that. It’s much easier to do than doing actual Christianity as presented by the gospels and especially trying to live the book of Acts, IMPOSSIBLE in any time, wondering why no one gives heed to Paul’s real meanings IN CONTEXT, and just which of hundreds of interpretations of Revelations shall I pick today!!! The 5th edition of the Big Book will be interesting and soon I hope. My sympathy to those most intimately effected by this news piece. All styles have their loss of life in one way or another. I sure wish I could give a small piece of men’s brotherhood to the ladies and get some of their compassions in exchange. Maybe by Christmas things will change, wut dya think huh!!!


  • Anonymous, 2010-08-30 20:07:46

    I am not to amazed at seeing the Victor E Club mentioned here because there are so many "cult5" clubs around the nation just like it. And i CAN ATTEST TO THE FACT THAT IT IS NOT ONLY THE SPONSORS AT THIS CLUB THAT RUIN WHAT COULD BE GOOD RELATIONSHIP, BUT MANY OF THE OTHER MEDDLING MEMBERS AT LARGE. And not being sure if you are speaking about Andy or Big John I can attest that it doesn’t matter who it is and that AA does kill as well as ruin many peoples lives much more than it helps the "chosen few. I will say also the "womens meeting" should be outlawed in all of AA and that my Ex used to come hope with some of the most irrational ideas from these meeting that seem to be mostly about male bashing. I do strongly believe t5hat this is where she got the ideas to make false DV charges along with believing the idea that no mother should have to pay child support when she does not have primary custody. So in essence AA very much tends to foster many dysfunctional thoughts and actions instead of changing ANYTHING INTO WHAT IS HEALTHY FOR ALL CONCERNED.


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