Last Moments of Freedom
William Allen Jordan, dressed in street clothes, looked on at the conclusion of the case that preceded his. He’d soon be swapping his green sweater and jeans for an orange jumpsuit bearing the letters BCDOC, the Burlington County Department of Corrections.
New Jersey Prosecutor, Steve Eife, said “The case against Jordan reads like a fictional book.” He’d pretended he was an operative from the British Defense Ministry in order to scam Mischele Lewis.
Playing the sympathy card
Attorney, Karen Thek, attempted to impress Judge Philip Haines with efforts Jordan had made to make restitution. He handed over a cashier’s check for $4,383.00, the amount he stole from Lewis. He had pleaded guilty to the charges. Thek stressed that it was difficult for Jordan to earn the money that was required with all the negative notoriety in the press.
Ever the charmer, soft spoken Jordan tried a last ditch effort to soften up the judge before he pronounced sentence. “My attorney said it all. All I can do is apologize. My mother is in the hospital. I just want to get back to helping her and my father,” he said.
Nobody who heard him and knew the story was running for the tissue box!
The Judge pronounces sentence
Judge Haines recounted multiple prior convictions and arrests, starting with seven counts of passing bad checks, each for over $200. He cited British convictions for bigamy and sexual assault. He remarked that even the five years of prison that Jordan already served failed to deter him, and that the public needed protection from him.
Haines clearly laid out the terms the Prosecutor and Jordan had agreed upon:
- Three years incarceration in the New Jersey State Penitentiary
- Full restitution
- Waiver of appeal
- No contact, ever, with Ms. Lewis
Judge Haines gave Jordan credit for 130 days of jail time he’d already served. Officer Kocher approached and directed him to put his hands behind his back. Jordan complied and she cuffed his wrists. Then she quietly escorted him out of the room to the jail located just down the hallway. The irony of his jailer being a woman was poetic.
So ended Will Jordan’s personal contribution to the fight for sexual assault by fraud law.
This case was the first one that came to me after releasing my book, Carnal Abuse by Deceit. It was launched on November 20, 2013. Donna Anderson contacted me about the case less than 4 months later. Donna blogs at LoveFraud. com. She’d read and reviewed my book. She knew I’d be interested in introducing laws on this crime and advocating for victims. When Lewis complained to her about her case, she referred her questions to me.
I’d been involved in legislative changes in the past, I needed a current case in order to get traction on creating a sexual assault by fraud law because my personal case was forty years old. Lewis read my book and learned about why what happened to her should be a criminal offense. Her case was a good example for the law I’d suggested, so I agreed to help.
Donna and I were able to get press attention on the case:
- A blog post I wrote attracted the attention of Michele Noberto. She’d inspired a New Jersey law that provides automatic restraining orders for sexual assault victims. Even though Lewis had applied for one and been turned down by Judge John Tomasello in an ugly example of judicial misogyny, Noberto was able to connect with the right people in the Prosecutor’s office. She found out that a temporary order had already been granted.
- Assemblyman Troy Singleton, who represents Lewis’s district, noticed our press coverage and came forward to enact a law to prevent Sexual Assault by Fraud. I felt as if he’d heard my prayers!
- NBC’s Dateline picked up on the story and created the episode, The Mystery Man.
Currently existing laws in NJ and the Prosecutor’s failure
I’m not convinced that the laws of New Jersey don’t already have language that could have convicted Jordan for sexual assault. But the Prosecutor, Steve Eife, insisted on charging him with sexual assault by coercion. No coercion took place. I tried to talk the Prosecutor out of going that route but he turned a deaf ear to me. Lewis agreed to his plan and the grand jury failed to indict because there was no coercion.
I spoke with Eife today about the charges he’d leveled against Jordan. I asked why he hadn’t used mental incapacity which states that an offender cannot use drugs or any other means to alter a victim’s awareness. He insisted that referred only to actions like hypnosis, but if it was limited to “hypnosis,” the law would clearly state so. It does not.
There was clear and compelling proof that Jordan had defrauded Lewis of sex and a possibility that the Grand Jury could have indicted. For sure, they could not indict on “coercion. They indicted on the theft by fraud charge which used the exact same lies to defraud Lewis of sex as well.
I also raised the argument that deception nullifies consent, as stated in Model Penal Code. Eife argued that Model Penal Code’s Consent Provision does not apply in NJ law, yet it’s right there on page 148 of NJ’s Criminal Law Digest:
Consent is ineffective, unless otherwise provided, if it is given by a person who is induced by force, duress, or deception, or by a person who is legally incompetent or otherwise unable to judge the harmfulness of the conduct. N.J.S.A. 2C:2-10c.
Laws don’t assume. If something is not specifically stated as contradictory, it’s up to the jury to determine whether or not it applies. Eife did not give this case the opportunity it needed in order to determine whether the present language in the law can and should prosecute the use of fraud as a means of sexual assault. His failure to do so underscores the need for specific language to prosecute this type of crime.
A victory, none-the-less
Tonight, I’m celebrating a milestone for my book. It succeeded in opening society’s conversation about rape by fraud in the modern era. Today, we’re fighting for the law in one state, NJ. With input from more victims, the next state could be yours!
Romance Sams and other forms of sexual assault by fraud or deception will not stop until we make it happen. Please register with THE FORRSC to be an important part of that change!