Discovering the story of the accused

Recently Maren Chaloupka (TLC ’99 Grad & Faculty Member) represented a man, a religious man, a pastor of the church against the allegations of “rape” brought against him by his wife of 30 years.

The accusation that the accuser in this case made against her husband was that they were amidst a bitter divorce despite not separating and instead keeping the battle hot by continuing to live together in the same house. Her claim was simple enough, that he had violently raped her a total of 3 times over the course of 4 hours in their home. When asked why, she claimed that he had been emotionally and physically abusive, and had serially cheated on her, for 30 years and the rape was a natural progression of that pattern. One of the rapes she claimed was when after some 30 years of conventional sex he decided that it was time to introduce anal sex into the relationship.

Maren is very good at finding out dirty little facts and everything else there is on her cases. She will spend an incredible amount of time through conventional and TLC methods to discover the story. The real story. The back story. In this case the back story actually revealed that this woman was absolutely nuts and had been so for well over 30 years. Now the problem, how to get that story into evidence. Maren made that story a legal defense in the case. She did so by claiming that the dispute was whether the wife/accuser’s craziness was relevant to show that she would make up a false rape story, or whether it was relevant to show the Pastor’s motive to rape her, which was the prosecution’s case. The Prosecution was cagey enough to turn her craziness into part of their theory by arguing that he raped her to punish her for making his life a living hell, and that the anal to oral sex was proof that he was deliberately punishing and humiliating her.

For Maren, she believed that the fight in the case would be in voir dire and this is where she would wage her war. She made a commitment to herself that every time that she would open her mouth it was to illustrate the story that this woman was a horrible combination of mendacious, vindictive and crazy. She had to give a lot of thought to voir dire. This was a high-publicity case in her town – – “pastor charged with rape” was a very sexy headline and everyone on the panel had heard about it. She had to ask a lot of uncomfortable questions about rape, false accusations of rape, toxic relationships, infidelity and religion. Knowing that the wife would claim that her especially crazy behaviors were the result of God speaking to her, and knowing that this trial was in a conservative and religious community, voir dire had to include all of these difficult topics. In addition, she knew that her client was going to testify and admit to cheating on his wife in the past as well as having consensual sex with her on the night of the alleged rape when he really couldn’t stand her. That is right, Maren’s client was going to testify and she told everyone including the prosecutor right up front. So she felt that it would be very important to ask the jurors for their thoughts about why a couple would be having sex when they can barely stand to be in the same room with each other.

The resultant voir dire was so open and honest that Maren trusted to leave on the panel, much to the prosecutor’s delight, an actual rape victim, and a S.A.N.E. nurse (conducts rape analysis exams), and a man whose daughter was molested whose rapist was never being brought to justice. The prosecutor must have thought that Maren was crazy and that the case was over. Clearly he was not listening to what she was hearing.

During Maren’s closing argument she essentially shared with the jury that this case was really about the rights of victims, rape victims to have those accusations, the legitimate ones go to trial because this type of accusation, by this type of person with this lack of credibility was not only devastating to the Pastor, who had lost his job because of the wife’s crazy behaviors in the months leading up to the rape accusation, but was equally if not more devastating to the legitimate rape victims everywhere. This is why she left jurors with true experience dealing with rape on the jury.

The result was a resounding and quick “NOT GUILTY” on all counts. This was an incredible result. Maren would tell you that the TLC process and her commitment to combine TLC methods with conventional tactics and TLC methods produced to this incredible result. However, in my opinion, her trust in herself and her intuition, that came as a result of hard work, is what won this case.

It will come as no surprise to you that the only words a jury has ever spoken to Maren and her clients accused of rape are “Not Guilty”. Maren is one of our most dedicated, creative and hard working lawyers. I strongly encourage you to contact her as she is very approachable and incredibly willing to share her thoughts, ideas and experience so that you too can find a way to trust your intuition and return similar results for your clients.

Joseph H. Low IV

2017-12-27T11:21:11-07:00 October 17, 2012|TLC Blog|
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