Rams' Faulk in court over domestic abuse claim
Posted: Monday May 05, 2003 9:55 PM
ST. LOUIS (AP) -- St. Louis Rams running back Marshall Faulk had beaten the mother of three of his children on several occasions, the woman's lawyers told a jury Monday in opening statements of a civil case.
They said testimony this week would come from emergency room doctors and other witnesses, according to stltoday.com, the Web site for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Faulk's lawyer said he had never hit the woman but had pushed her once.
The allegations and denials came in a case brought by Helen Dunne alleging domestic abuse by Faulk. The case is expected to last most of this week. Both Faulk and Dunne are expected to take the stand.
Faulk has countersued Dunne, alleging that her claims of domestic abuse are false and she is abusing the legal process by subjecting Faulk to a trial.
Lawyers for Dunne said Faulk had beaten her several times between 1996 and 2000.
Both Dunne and Faulk are seeking unspecified damages. No criminal charges were ever filed.
Earlier Monday, lawyers began questioning prospective jurors.
Of the 40 people in the jury pool, only one said she was a Rams season ticket holder. But 14 of the 40 said they own or have purchased Rams clothing, including three who have jerseys or items with Faulk's number 28.
Faulk was the NFL's Most Valuable Player in 2000 and is widely considered one of the game's best players.
Last month, Judge Barbara Wallace ordered Faulk to turn over to experts for Dunne's attorneys a financial report of his assets and last year's income tax return. She also ordered Faulk to provide the names of the mothers of Faulk's three other children.
Dunne, 27, now of Houston, claims Faulk was abusive over the course of an on-again, off-again relationship.
Faulk and Dunne met at a party in 1996 and lived together in Indianapolis when Faulk was with the Colts. Faulk said Dunne never lived in his suburban St. Louis home. He said he provided child support.
In October 1999, court records show Dunne was treated at a St. Louis area hospital. She said Faulk had hit her, bit her and grabbed her by the neck.
In a sworn statement, Faulk denied hitting her. "Whether I pushed her or pulled her, I mean, that might be so," he said.
On Oct. 28, 1999, Dunne submitted an affidavit to police saying, "It is my serious belief that I was the aggressive party in the incident, and I wish not to prosecute Mr. Faulk in any capacity."
Dunne's attorney at the time wrote to a prosecutor asking that no charges be considered against Faulk because "she says she was the aggressor."
Faulk's attorneys are citing those documents in their case against Dunne. Her attorneys say she was suffering from battered woman syndrome when she decided not to pursue charges.
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