Probate and Family Court

Restraint or Not?


(Fact - Based on Memory)


This particular case came before me several years ago.  A woman was looking for a restraining order against a man she had met through a support group they had both attended.  The man was obviously worried at being called into court and alarmed that an order might be placed against him.


As the hearing unfolded, it became clear that there was no disagreement concerning the facts. 

The woman’s attorney walked her through her testimony. 


Tell us where you met.

We met at a support group.

What was the purpose of the support group? 

The support group was established to help people suffering from a sex addiction.

Do you have a diagnosis?

Yes.  Nymphomania.

Did the two of you begin a dating relationship?

Yes. We would go out together after the meetings.

What happened after the last group meeting you and he attended? 

We went for a walk around the Boston Public Library.

How was the defendant’s demeanor? 

He was polite.  He said nice things to me.    

Tell us what happened next.

“We embraced.  Then, well, I guess, one thing led to another . . . . ”

Did you tell him to stop? 


Did you do anything to indicate to him that this touching was unwelcome? 


Did the sexual activity go further? 

We engaged in some “heavy petting”, I guess is what it would be called.

And then?

We said good night and each of us went home.


The man acknowledged the accuracy of the woman’s testimony in each detail and his attorney took him further.


Explain to us the nature of this support group. 

It is a support group for sex addicts. 

Do you have a sex addiction?


Yet you went to this support group meeting.  Why did you go? 

I wanted to meet women who have a sex addiction.

Do you have any plans to return to the support group? 

“Never again!” 

I asked the woman’s attorney how I could grant his client an order of protection from abuse under these facts.  The conduct had been consensual; the parties stopped their interaction, no threats had been made, the man had not pursued her further.

The attorney argued that the man knew that his client suffered from an illness and he specifically sought out a woman with her condition so that he could exploit it.

What about her consent?  I asked.    

“Judge”, he said, “the sexual activity was unwanted on her part.  She was in a support group to help her overcome her addiction.  He knew she was incapable of saying ‘no’!”

I responded “You may have another cause of action but you haven’t established grounds for an order of protection from abuse.  There was no physical harm, no threat of imminent physical harm and no unwanted sexual activity brought about by force, threat or intimidation.  The petition for a restraining order is dismissed.”



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