Court Says Dad Must Find Another Way to Keep Daughter Out of Trouble

The Supreme Judicial Court's ruling undid a restraining order taken out by a Massachusetts father.

The Supreme Judicial Court undid a lower court’s restraining order today, issued to prevent a 40-year-old British man from seeing a 16-year-old Massachusetts girl with whom he’d made plans to meet up at a hotel. The Massachusetts girl, who remained anonymous in the decision, met the man on vacation in Europe and kept up contact with him after she returned home. When the girl’s father discovered her plans to meet up with him, he obtained a restraining order against the man under the state’s domestic abuse law. The father’s team argued that because the man had suggested he’d provide the girl with alcohol, his behavior was abusive. The judges disagreed:

The defendant’s passing references in his electronic communications with the daughter implying that he might furnish her with alcohol, while understandably reprehensible to the father, is not evidence suggesting physical abuse or evidence that the defendant planned to give alcohol to her in order to have involuntary sexual relations with her, certainly a form of physical abuse. We conclude that this conduct does not meet the definition of “abuse” under G.L. c. 209A, § 1 (b ), and thus fails to serve as a basis for issuing the extension order. Because the judge had no basis to issue the extension order, it must be vacated.

So that’s settled … unless you’re the father and daughter in which case you presumably have some non-legal issues you need to work out. You can read the full decision here, via Universal Hub.