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Smith v. Jones

67 Mass. App. Ct. 129, 852 N.E.2d 670 (2006)

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Smith v. Jones

Massachusetts Court of Appeals

67 Mass. App. Ct. 129, 852 N.E.2d 670 (2006)

Facts

Mary Smith (plaintiff) and Stephen Jones (defendant) started dating in sixth grade and voluntarily engaged in sexual relations. Smith and Jones’s relationship continued for approximately 18 months until Jones left Smith’s school. Before leaving, Jones emailed Smith stating that he wanted to “stab [her] in the heart.” Smith did not take the threat seriously. After the relationship ended, Smith wrote in her journal that she regretted letting Jones convince her to engage in sexual contact. Several months later, after learning Jones would be attending a nearby school, Smith informed her mother about her prior sexual relationship with Jones. Smith stated that she was afraid Jones would humiliate her and that he would want to resume their sexual relationship. Smith, through her mother, filed a Complaint for Protection from Abuse. That same day, the trial court issued a temporary abuse prevention order against Jones following an ex parte hearing. At the hearing, Smith presented Jones’s email but did not share her belief that it was not a serious threat. Ten days later, the court conducted a hearing on extending the ex parte order. At the extension hearing, Smith admitted she did not fear Jones would physically harm her, only that he might embarrass her. There was no evidence that Jones had contacted Smith since their breakup nor that he would contact Smith in the future. There was no evidence Jones had ever physically harmed Smith. Regardless, the trial court extended the ex parte order for one year. Jones appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Cowin, J.)

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