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THE SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE

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THE SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE Powered By Docstoc
					THE SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE MAGAZINE                           doesn't include those who never enrolled in the first place.
August 24, 2003                                                Because limited research has been conducted nationwide,
When Help Fails                                                little is known about how participation reduces violence or
Author: Rona Marech                                            which models of treatment - and they're wildly varied -
                                                               work best. Almost no data about the effectiveness of any
     A neighbor chatting on the phone heard the children       of the San Francisco programs exist, and critics have
downstairs screaming, "Mommy, Mommy!" Peering                  raised concerns about such fundamental issues as the
worriedly out her window, she saw the 10- year-old dart        quality of the classes and the training of facilitators.
down the path alongside the basement apartment to the               "We have women's lives literally in their hands, and
front of the building.                                         we're not sure what the efficacy is," said Beverly Upton,
     "Help, help," he sobbed. "My mom, she's been              executive director of San Francisco Domestic Violence
stabbed."                                                      Consortium, a nonprofit umbrella organization.
     Inside the apartment, Claire Joyce Tempongko lay               "Can you expect a program that someone goes to for
slumped over a chair covered in blood. She was barely          two or three hours a week to change deep-seated
breathing; long seconds would pass between each thin,          behaviors?" asked JoAnn McAllister, a domestic violence
strangled inhalation. When a police officer came upon the      researcher who just completed a doctoral dissertation on
scene, his hands shook so violently he was unable to take      batterer intervention and worked as a court analyst until
notes.                                                         earlier this month. "If a person is dangerous, he ought to
     Tempongko died from multiple stab wounds before           be in jail. Are we asking too much of batterer intervention
she made it to the hospital.                                   programs?"
     Neighbors told police they had seen Tari Ramirez,              Treating men for their violent behavior was not a
Tempongko's former boyfriend, running from the                 priority when feminists began raising awareness about
apartment with a bloody kitchen knife. The knife was later     domestic violence in the early '70s. At that time, advocates
recovered from bushes in the usually tranquil Richmond         were most concerned with such necessities as setting up
District neighborhood.                                         battered women's shelters and were loath to turn their
     In San Francisco, anguish over Tempongko's murder         attention toward perpetrators.
shaded into anger as details emerged of how the criminal            By the end of the decade, however, the idea of
justice system had failed the 28-year-old. For a year and a    rehabilitating batterers became politically viable, and
half, she had called police, made reports, secured             programs for abusive men were established around the
protective orders and otherwise sought protection from her     country. (The majority of domestic violence offenders are
abusive boyfriend. A commission formed after her death         men; for clarity, this article refers to batterers only as
issued an exhaustive report 16 months later, painfully         male.) In California, a 1993 state law put probation
enumerating what had gone wrong. The Police                    departments in charge of the mandated intervention
Department, Adult Probation, the district attorney and the     programs and extended the program length to 52 weeks.
courts were all censured. A committee was formed to            Today, the business of re-education is flourishing.
oversee implementation of the report's recommendations.              No one keeps a tally in California, but since a growth
     One little-noted revelation in the report was that Tari   spurt in the past few years, the state boasts hundreds of
Ramirez, who had served time for domestic violence             programs, McAllister said. Organizations are funded by a
against Tempongko, had attended batterer intervention          combination of class fees (sliding scale up to $50) as well
classes on and off since August 1999 - both in and out of      as public and private sources. For example, Positive
jail - and seemed to be a successful student.                  Directions, a multi-service organization in Bayview-
     As part of their probation, all convicted batterers in    Hunters Point, has a $400,000 annual budget that comes
California are required by law to attend these re-education    mostly from the city and county of San Francisco,
classes, which cover subjects such as power dynamics and       according to director Cedric Akbar. Manalive, with a
gender roles and are intended to help men (and women)          $150,000 budget, doesn't receive any public money.
unlearn violent behavior. The organizations offering                State law requires that the anti-violence curricula
classes and the number of participants has ballooned in the    address such subjects as gender roles, the nature of
past decade; hundreds of the 1,600 San Franciscans on          violence and the harmful effects of abuse on children. But
domestic violence probation are supposedly enrolled in         beyond these prescriptions, program administrators are
one of the city's certified programs at any given time.        free to shape content as they please.
     The case of Tari Ramirez is extreme but nonetheless            There are 12 certified reeducation programs in the
raises a number of troubling issues about these 52-week        city, and their range is surprising. Some classes sound like
programs. Most notably, the legal system that orders           Women's Studies 101 lectures; some resemble group
batterers to attend anti-violence classes doesn't enforce      therapy. Manalive, which was developed in 1980 at Marin
attendance. On average, 55 percent of offenders in San         Abused Women's Services, has a strict regimen and an
Francisco quit before finishing, and that dropout figure
unambiguous political approach that stresses relinquishing       restaurant. Ramirez was working, but he made sure that
old assumptions about gender roles.                              Tempongko and her friend had ample wine and good
     Other curricula are more free form: A recent class at       service. He paid for everything. Medina saved a photo he
S.F. Bay Counseling held a seemingly aimless discussion          snapped halfway through the meal. In it, Ramirez leans
about childhood experiences that was punctuated by the           over the two women, grinning broadly. Tempongko, her
facilitator's recurring comment: "You need to take a look        fork lifted, offers a wobbly smile.
at that."                                                             When Ramirez had had a few drinks, he could get
     Another recent class, at Positive Directions in the heart   aggressive and jealous, Medina said. The couple seemed
of Bayview- Hunters Point, erupted in shouts midway              happy, though; at least happy enough.
through. "I'm a victim! I'm a victim! I'm a victim!" one              But the alleged abuse had started almost immediately.
man cried, shooting to his feet and punching his hands                The police were summoned to the apartment for the
together. "I'm a victim of a system!"                            first time on April 2, 1999. Ramirez had shown up drunk
     Afterward, when the class had cleared out, the              and on cocaine, Tempongko told officers. He had smashed
facilitator, Na'im Harrison, explained that he's                 the bedroom window with his fist, according to the police
intentionally cultivating an environment where                   report, and when he had finally gained entrance to the
participants can speak freely. "They get rid of it in here,      apartment, grabbed Tempongko by the hair and dragged
then no one gets the brunt of it, the misdirected anger," he     her down the hallway. He slammed her to the ground, then
said.                                                            picked her up, kissed her and left.
     MOVE, one of the original intervention programs in               A couple hours later, Ramirez crashed his car, and
the Bay Area, is phasing out its classes to focus on             police arrested him on suspicion of driving under the
prevention, said Alan Greig, the president of the                influence.
organization's board. "Even with a 52-week program, the               Clara Tempongko had never approved of her
evidence nationally is that the impact could be quite            daughter's boyfriend. He was rude to her. She didn't like
limited," he said.                                               that he confused the 5-year-old, telling her that she was
                                                                 from Mexico and that he was her father. She didn't like
    People liked Tari Ramirez. He smiled a lot, worked           that the kids called him Poppy. She didn't like the
hard. He was good-looking - almond-shaped eyes,                  violence.
chiseled jaw, a clean-cut look - and he tended to impress             One time during a visit, after Claire Joyce whispered
customers at the restaurants where he worked as a busboy.        that Ramirez had just beaten her, Clara offered to send her
He grew up in Mexico, but his English was quite fluent           daughter to the Philippines. "To forget him," she said.
and he liked to use it.                                               "But he always said sorry the next day," Clara said.
    "He was very charming. Very handsome," said                  "He didn't mean it. Every time, he said sorry. I'm sorry.
Antone Sabella, his boss at A. Sabella's restaurant. "You        I'm sorry. I love you so much, da da da. He's melting her
would say a ladies' man. A very handsome guy, great              heart again. You know. Love."
smile. He looked you right in the eye and smiled."                    And so the relationship hobbled forward and on May
    In November 1998, Ramirez met Claire Joyce                   18, the couple went out dancing with a friend to celebrate
Tempongko at a Fisherman's Wharf bar. Tempongko, who             their six-month anniversary. But the evening soured when
had moved to the United States from the Philippines when         another man asked Claire Joyce to dance. Later that night
she was 16, often wore a leather jacket and bright lipstick      at the friend's Mission District apartment, Ramirez
and loved to play pool and dance. When he was old                repeatedly hit her in the head, according to a police report,
enough, she'd tell her young son, she would take him             then dragged her onto the sidewalk by the hair and
clubbing with her.                                               threatened her with a broken beer bottle. "I'm going to
    Though she was a single mom supporting two children          burn the house down and hurt your kids," he said.
on a low-wage salary (she had held various jobs in retail,            Claire Joyce was quivering and crying hysterically
security and data entry), she'd managed to squirrel away a       when the police arrived. "Don't leave me here with him,"
couple thousand dollars in savings. She had dreams of            she kept saying, according to the report.
owning a house and providing her children with a good                 The district attorney filed a restraining order after the
education, said Clara Tempongko, Claire Joyce's mother.          incident; a week later, Ramirez violated it when he left
    Shortly after Ramirez began dating Tempongko, he             Tempongko a note.
moved into the cramped one- bedroom she shared with her               "I dying to see you and try to be you friend," he wrote
son and daughter. He began telling people that they were         in his imperfect English. "I know you not suppost to see
married and that the children were his, once writing on a        me and I know the risk I'm taking, but there is nothing in
job application that he liked to spend time with his wife        this world most important that you baby."
and kids.                                                             Tempongko took the note to the police. Ramirez was
    Luis Medina, a waiter at A. Sabella's, recounted one         arrested. That summer, he was sentenced to three years of
night that Tempongko and a friend had dined at the
probation for one count of felony spousal abuse and was          partner like "you ain't gonna be nothing without me."
ordered to participate in a batterer treatment program.          After class, he approached the facilitator. "I want to learn
    Ramirez briefly attended classes at Latino Family            more," he said. "That's why I always take notes."
Counseling Center, but he was kicked out after missing
three classes. Then he started getting in trouble again. On           Luis Ortega was Tari Ramirez's first anti-violence
Oct. 16, he was arrested for loitering outside a women's         class facilitator in the county jail. Ortega has a round face,
bathroom. On Nov. 18, after another fight with                   a silver front tooth and eyes that pinch upwards at the
Tempongko, he ended up in county jail.                           corners when he smiles. He doesn't look as if he'd hurt a
    That's when he entered RSVP, a five-day-a-week,              fly, but will shyly explain that he was in jail in 1992 for
comprehensive rehabilitative program for inmates.                domestic violence.
Manalive is part of the curriculum (in- custody                       Ramirez came in with the kind of pitbull-on-a-leash
participation can count toward the mandated 52-week              attitude facilitators often see initially. He was convinced
course, but cannot replace it), and Ramirez began                the class wouldn't help and objected to what he perceived
attending these anti-violence classes several days a week.       as forced participation.
                                                                      But then he warmed to the program, Ortega said. He
     Manalive was founded by Hamish Sinclair, a scruffy,         spoke about how he felt in jail. He showed around a
over-talky 70-year-old with flyaway eyebrows and a               picture of Tempongko's daughter and said he missed his
craggy face. Sinclair was a community organizer before           family. He picked up the concepts quickly, helping out
stopping male violence became his calling more than 20           other inmates with definitions. Sometimes he cried.
years ago. In certain circles, he is spoken of with a real air        Ramirez's mood was erratic, and on a particularly
of reverence. Most of Manalive's peer facilitators have          black day, he told Ortega he was thinking of hurting
violent histories (and, in some cases, long, frightening rap     himself. Ortega reported the conversation to the jail
sheets to prove it), and all have been through the program.      psychologist, but nothing came of it. The psychologist
Several mentioned times they escaped a potentially               examined Ramirez and determined he was fine.
volatile situation by imagining Hamish whispering in their            "I'm not really convinced of that," Ortega said in an
ear.                                                             interview. "If you talk to him, he's fine, but if you get into
     The sheriff's department has replicated Sinclair's          it, he needs help."
model in both RSVP and their post-release program                     Soon after, Ortega quit to go back to school.
known as PREP.                                                        "Continue to do the work," Ramirez said one day in
     The Manalive approach is unabashedly feminist.              class before Ortega left. "You help a lot of people, even
"Violence is the enforcement of the male stereotype of           people who come in with my attitude."
social and gender superiority," Sinclair's theory goes. In            Eric Camberos, who took over the class, remembers
response to that, the program teaches men about equality         Ramirez as obedient. "He complied with everything. But
and how to escape the confining version of manhood that          here's the thing, right, just because a person knows the
society has instilled in them.                                   information doesn't mean they're going to put it to use.
     Instead of "girlfriend," offenders learn to use the more    You can have other motives for being here. To get off
egalitarian word "partner." They learn about intimacy and        paper. To improve your case."
feelings and "fatal peril" - one of the many terms Sinclair            Jerry Scoggins is the manager at County Jail No. 7
invented - which refers to the moment their "male role           and a Manalive instructor. "You always suspect, because
belief system breaks down." In other words, they're              they're in jail, that they will tell you anything. I validate
disrespected and they have to decide in that instant of          what they say, but I wait until they get out," he said. "You
rising anger whether or not to fight; whether to give            can talk a good game, but the real test comes when you
themselves over to the hyper-masculine image or to call          walk out the door."
on their gentler "authentic" selves.
     It sounds cerebral, but offenders catch on quickly. For         Unfortunately, a lot of men walk out the door and
example, during the highly structured check-in at a recent       don't stop at their court- mandated re-education classes -
Manalive class in jail, a soft-spoken redhead with a tight       though failing to attend can result in more jail time. About
jawline talked about his "hitman" (his violent, superior         25 percent of those sent to batterer intervention never
persona) as an "impulsive, know-it-all, bossy escape             show up in class, according to a study of offenders who
artist" and his authentic self as a "loving, caring poet."       went through an orientation - that Probation designed to
     In general, participants in classes (in and out of jail)    improve compliance - between September 2002 and
come across as almost shockingly earnest. In this                March 2003. A different study showed that of those men
particular session, a 46-year-old man was painstakingly          who do enroll, 33 percent complete the programs and 55
taking notes and practically sweating with effort. He never      percent do not. The remainder of participants were
knew before how harmful words could be, he said,                 dropped from the study for insufficient data or because
recounting how he constantly used to throw insults at his        they were taken back into custody. Those figures are
based on data collected by the courts and the programs                But he'd seen another way when he entered Manalive
themselves between 1997 and 2002.                                 in the county jail, and he ended up going to drug
     Last year, 200 San Francisco probationers enrolled in        rehabilitation, coming out as a gay man and, eventually,
Manalive, Sinclair said. Just 21 finished the full 52-week        becoming a facilitator. He was completing his training
program. A handful of those people transferred or were            when Ramirez showed up in class.
reincarcerated, but most stopped coming or never showed                Ramirez quickly slipped into the same role of
up in the first place.                                            squeaky-clean class helper. He smiled frequently; he was
    Batterer program studies around the country frequently        eager to assist fellow participants. Critical feedback could
report a dropout rate of 50 percent, McAllister said.             unnerve him, Moskowitz said, but that was hardly
However, by contrast, the 16-week intervention program            unusual.
in Pittsburg, Pa., which has been repeatedly studied and is           Manalive participants sit in order of seniority - with
considered one of the nation's most successful programs,          the longest attending member first. One day, Moskowitz
has a 70 percent completion rate.                                 recalled, Ramirez asked a newcomer to move his seat.
    When men stop attending, the program sends a report               "F- mother-, you think you're the police?" the novitiate
to Probation. The offenders are subsequently required to          hissed at him.
appear in court, and if they don't, a bench warrant goes out          Ramirez bristled momentarily, then he caught himself
for their arrest.                                                 and put up his hands in the symbol for fatal peril. A
    Officers make calls and otherwise try to track down           discussion that could go in the class handbook followed.
the missing person, according to Arturo Faro, a division              "Can I give you some feedback?" Ramirez asked,
director in Adult Probation. If they come up empty-               perfectly executing the Manalive formula, which promotes
handed, Probation, along with the Police Department's             asking permission instead of giving unsolicited advice and
fugitive recovery enforcement team and the Sheriff's              identifying feelings.
Department, "actively go out there and look for them,"                "I guess."
Faro said.                                                            "When I heard you say that under your breath, it hurt
    But much of the time, these men fall through the              my feelings," he continued. "And the way you're talking
cracks. "The criminal justice system is not equipped to           right now makes me afraid."
enforce bench orders," Sinclair said.                                 Finally he asked, "Can I get an agreement from you
    Harold Kahn, the judge who presides over San                  that you won't talk to me that way?"
Francisco's domestic violence court, noted that he                    Some people find the language "too mushy and
frequently sees people who have been picked up on                 weird," Moskowitz said, but Ramirez seemed to willfully
warrants. But he conceded, "typically, they're served when        learn and use it.
a person is in a car with a busted taillight or doesn't have a        "I saw it work for him," Moskowitz said.
registration or is arrested for an alleged drug sale. It's less       Still, sometimes, he wondered about Ramirez.
common to see a sheriff's officer that goes out and serves            "There were times, I clearly remember looking at his
warrants without any reason."                                     body language, sitting with his arms crossed, just
    Out on the street, this loophole hasn't escaped notice.       parroting the language. I remember noting to myself, 'I
"Most people think they're slick, beating the system by not       need to work on that. He's not being sincere.' "
coming in. 'The chase is on. Come let them find me,' "
said a Positive Directions class member who didn't want               Unfortunately, 25 years after the introduction of anti-
to be identified.                                                 domestic-violence programs, society still doesn't know a
    "As long as you aren't behind (the wheel of) a                whole lot about how to teach batterers to stop. Nationally,
motorized vehicle, you won't get caught. Stay away from           studies have shown that re-education can be effective, but
sweeps and don't drive. It'll be a long time before               research is limited. To date in San Francisco, there have
Probation catches up with them."                                  been no serious evaluations of 52-week intervention
                                                                  programs, McAllister said. (To its credit, however,
    Unlike the majority of convicted batterers, Tari              Probation is conducting a study and another one is under
Ramirez had a decent attendance record at the Manalive            way at Pocovi, the program for Spanish speakers founded
PREP classes he went to after his release from jail. In           by former Manalive facilitator Antonio Ramirez. Also, a
March 2000, he entered Aaron Moskowitz's class.                   study of RSVP - in toto, not just the Manalive classes -
    Moskowitz, 30, is a jumpy, likable, fast talker who's         showed that participation significantly reduces recidivism.
quick to hug near- strangers and will divulge all his secrets     )
in a heartbeat. But he wasn't always like that. Just a few            "We need to know a lot more about what works,"
years before encountering Ramirez, Moskowitz was a                McAllister said.
skinhead and a drug addict who says he had been in and                Sending violent men to unproven programs seems like
out of jail close to 100 times. He had a black swastika           a risky experiment to some critics, who have a host of
tattoo and a snarl to match it.                                   concerns about the intervention business in San Francisco.
     First of all, there is no oversight of facilitator training,       One of the few points of agreement in the contentious
a number of people pointed out. Essentially, anyone can             field is that re- education is not for everyone. So-called
hang out a shingle and offer to teach future facilitators, as       "stakeholders" - people with relationships or families or
long as his program is 40 hours long and hits on the                jobs - are much more likely to succeed in class. For others,
subjects outlined in the penal code.                                participation can make matters worse because men simply
     "Nobody certifies the training," McAllister said. "It is       learn more sophisticated ways of terrorizing their partners.
a huge oversight."                                                  Or classes fuel their resentment. Or victims allow their
     Some of the same people calling for better monitoring          expectations to rise only to be let down, which lessens the
of the training are wary about the rash of new programs             likelihood that they'll seek help in the future.
that have sprung up in San Francisco. An advisory                       "We find across our sites that there are a core of men,
committee, which formed last year, made the certification           as much as 20 percent, who are repeatedly violent and
process for hopeful applicants much more rigorous. But              unresponsive to intervention," said Edward Gondolf,
some still think that unqualified programs - lured by the           research director at the Mid-Atlantic Addiction Training
promise of ready-made clients and course fees - are                 Institute at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
slipping through the net.                                               Ramirez was a classic out-of-reach client who might
     "The sad thing is you're getting people who were car           have been better served with one-on-one therapy,
salespeople. You give them training and they think they're          Scoggins said.
experts. It's dangerous to me. It's very difficult work. You            "In custody, he was compliant, nice. He learned the
need background, theory and intensive training," said               program, could spit back what he'd learned. But his
Jerry Scoggins, the jail manager. "You see these new kids           behavior didn't change."
on the block, and it's pretty scary."                                   Tempongko said as much at a "women's gathering"
     Beverly Upton serves on the advisory committee. "I'd           that RSVP hosted in the summer of 2000. "This program
give any program a second look that got into this by doing          doesn't work," she said angrily. "Either he will kill me, or
traffic court and anger management," she said, referring to         I will kill him."
S.F. Bay Counseling. Domestic violence is such a                        A case worker called Tempongko several times after
dangerous and particular crime that "any time I see it              that and left messages, but didn't hear from her for
lumped with learning how to read a stop sign or keeping             months. Eventually, Tempongko scheduled several
your insurance low, I am concerned."                                appointments, but she never showed up.
     Art Azizian, the S.F. Bay Counseling director and a
Navy vet, said substance abuse services, anger                          He came horribly close to killing her on Sept. 1, 2000.
management and parenting classes provided a natural                 A police officer responding to a call entered Tempongko's
springboard for an anti-domestic-violence program                   apartment to find her lying on the bed with her two
because these issues are often directly or indirectly               children. She was crying uncontrollably, the officer wrote
related. And yes, he added, his center does offer traffic           in a report. Blood was spilling from her mouth and her
violator school and driver's education.                             neck was streaked with red marks.
     Perhaps the most ferocious debate, however, circulates             Tempongko told the officer that Ramirez was furious
around the question of treatment methods. Advocates spar            when she returned home late after a night out drinking
over issues including the benefits of peer education                with friends. He forced his fingers down her throat and
(makes sense on a gut level, but critics wonder whether             squeezed her neck with both hands until she could barely
uneducated ex-cons should be charged with such a                    breathe. Then he took her purse and left.
delicate task) whether couples therapy is ever appropriate              Police arrested Ramirez six days later, when he
(the idea is gaining adherents, though historically it's been       showed up drunk at Tempongko's house, violating the
considered heretical because "no one will be candid when            emergency protective order she'd secured days before.
she's going to go home and get the snot beat out of her," as            Incredibly, Ramirez continued attending Manalive.
Upton put it), how long the programs should be (is                  Less than two weeks after his arrest, he entered the second
California's 52-week course so drawn- out that it invites           16-week phase of the program, in which participants focus
dropouts?) and how to run the classes (should the                   on self-awareness and unearthing their authentic selves.
emphasis be on therapy or gender analysis or something              Scott Schell, a classmate who later became a facilitator,
else entirely?).                                                    remembers Ramirez as quiet and mellow. He didn't seem
     Sinclair is a hard-liner on the latter subject - he insists    very engaged, he said. Ramirez didn't mention his run-in
that because gender superiority is a social category, like          with the law in class. (Instructors do not automatically
racism, there's no place for practices such as therapy in the       have access to this information; as a matter of course, they
classroom.                                                          only receive such updates from Probation when a
     "If you rob a bank, do you get a therapist?" he said.          participant is called back into court, according to
"It's akin to going to a gas station with a tailpipe broken."       McAllister.)
    The arrest didn't surface in court either. In one of the         The police and the FBI (which is involved in the
many tragic mistakes later uncovered, the judge trying           investigation) suspect that Ramirez fled to his native
Ramirez for the unrelated peeping charge never saw the           Mexico, said Maureen D'Amico, the police inspector
domestic violence reports from the two incidents that had        investigating the case. The award for tips leading to his
just occurred.                                                   arrest was recently raised to $35,000. Pushed by
    Consequently, Ramirez's sentence was light: 30 days          advocates, the police department tried to persuade
in a work program. The commission later found that the           "America's Most Wanted" to air a segment about Ramirez,
police reports mysteriously had never made it to Probation       D'Amico said, to no avail.
or to the district attorney. Furthermore, Ramirez had not            "It's a sad state of affairs to say it happens all the time.
reported to a probation officer in months - his officer,         There was nothing in his background that made him more
Jorge Perez, had left the job in June and no one had taken       interesting or stand-outish than any other case," she said.
over his caseload.                                               "After a writer came out and took all the notes and
     Ramirez showed up to class for the final time on Oct.       background and everything, the producers just said there's
10, 2000. That was about when Luis Medina, the old               really nothing here. "
acquaintance from A. Sabella's, ran into Ramirez in the              After Claire Joyce died, her children were separated.
Tenderloin district.                                             The little girl went to live with Clara, and her brother
     The relationship with Tempongko was over, Ramirez           moved in with his biological father, who lives in the
said. They'd split for good. He told Medina he was living        suburbs. Her granddaughter, now 8, is doing well in
with some friends in the neighborhood and had found a            school, Clara said. But she worries about her grandson,
new job.                                                         who's 13. Sometimes, she catches him sitting still as clay
    "He said he wanted to go on with his life," Medina           and staring far away, she said. When he cries, he always
said. "He seemed like he'd decided to make a final               calls for his mother.
decision to leave her alone."                                        "I cry whenever he's crying," Clara said, her big eyes
    It was all for the best, said Medina, who had been           welling up. "Because he's suffering."
through a difficult breakup himself. He suggested that               Though more than two years have passed since the
Ramirez travel to Mexico, "find a nice young lady and            murder, the domestic violence community and others
bring her here."                                                 touched by Claire Joyce's murder still seem almost shell-
    "Because the girls here are used to freedom," Medina         shocked. More than a dozen people spoke of being
said, "and he didn't like that."                                 haunted by the case.
    Twelve days later, Ramirez allegedly killed                      "I'll never be the same," Upton said, tearing up.
Tempongko while her children watched. Then he fled the           "Because it's everyone's worst nightmare that that's what's
house for the last time. A warrant is out for his arrest, but    going to happen."
he has not been found.                                               Both Scott Schell and Moskowitz often bring up
    Clara Tempongko is a petite, grandmotherly woman             Ramirez in their classes. "I use him as an example all the
with eyes like moons. Her daughter's murder has turned           time, when I talk about how this program doesn't work
her into an activist of sorts. Shortly after Claire Joyce        unless you work it," Moskowitz said. "All I have is some
died, she attended a rally at the Hall of Justice. Police told   tools that I use every day. For Tari - at the time when he
Claire Joyce they couldn't give her protection unless it was     needed to use them, he didn't."
a matter of life or death, she told the crowd. "How will             Christy Maldonado, a neighbor of Tempongko's, says
you give protection now?" she demanded tearfully.                when she's traveling for work, she often imagines she sees
    She is suing the city and county for violation of civil      Ramirez in crowds at the airport. Jorge Perez, Ramirez's
rights on behalf of her grandchildren and daughter's estate.     onetime probation officer, wonders if he'll spot his former
"Claire Joyce Tempongko was deprived of her right to             probationer when he's vacationing in Cancun. Luis
equal protection under the laws designed to protect              Medina grows stony at work when the subject comes up or
domestic violence victims," said Khaldoun Baghdadi,              other waiters tease him about his acquaintance with a
Clara's attorney. The case came before a magistrate judge        murder suspect. Schell sometimes comes across the old
in May but the two sides were unable to reach a                  wanted posters and reflects: "Could that have been me?"
settlement. A court date has been set for late 2004.                 Upton said she frequently thinks about where Ramirez
    Clara has not been happy with the police search for          is hiding and who else is with him.
Ramirez. "I'm sick and tired of hearing, 'Oh, we're doing            "These guys don't go celibate," she said. "I would like
our best. Don't worry, don't worry,' " she said. "Of course I    to see them make a break in this case, because he's out
worry every day."                                                there.
    When Ramirez's mother died around two years ago,                 "And by now, he has a new partner."
Clara had hoped police would send someone to the funeral
in Mexico, but no one went.

				
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