Sexual Assault Free Speech Legal Defense Fund
Thanks for taking the time to visit this funding page!
After enduring unending lawsuit threats for the past year, my lawyer and I have decided to fight back against the person who assaulted me. As of November 1st, I have commenced legal action in federal court to preserve my constitutional rights. If you are interested in reading more about the background of the case, the Daily Mail covered the story in November here .
I have published a couple of pieces about this issue in the past couple of months. You can access the articles here.
My perpetrator has been using legal threats to strong arm me into signing a nondisclosure agreement. What is in this NDA that the perpetrator is attempting to coerce me to sign? Among other things, the NDA asks that I:
-Falsely admit to committing slander
-Parrot the lies of my abuser to anyone who asks
-Deny that I had been the subject of abuse
-Remain silent even if other victims come forward
-Pretend that a plethora of criminal activity never happened
Simply put, I'm not going to sign it. And I'm going to fight for my voice. So... why do I need your support?
Not all cases qualify for the Time's Up Fund, which focuses exclusively on workplace assault and harassment. This leaves many victims like myself (I was assaulted as a student on a college campus) in a vulnerable position where we must fully fund our own legal cases. But make no mistake-- cases like mine are just as important for all victims.
This funding page was originally created for me by a friend to cover my attorney's original retainer. Now that we have embarked on litigation, my attorney's fees are steadily increasing and we have increased our funding ask to reflect this. As we prepare for our court date, my attorney has advised me that his fees may very well reach 50-75k, and so our funding ask has been increased. As of writing this, I have spent well over 15K on attorneys' legal bills out of my own pocket.
A case like this which seeks to preserve the civil liberty and the freedom of expression of a victim is an important step forward. This legal action has the potential to help other victims preserve their rights in the future. If we succeed, it will create a pathway for those who seek similar free speech protections.
Thank you again from the bottom of my heart for taking the time to read about my case, to share this with your friends, and to donate. Your support means the world to me during this trying time.
- Monica Morrison
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all of the support you have shown thus far. As I cross this new threshold into litigation, it means the world to know I have the support of you all during this trying time.
As of yesterday, my lawyer has started to receive press inquiries about this matter. We have issued a press statement to a couple of outlets who have indicated that they may be writing about the story.
We are not yet conducting interviews, but we have issued a statement. I want to share that statement with you all, before news breaks (if it breaks) about the lawsuit.
"STATEMENT OF MONICA MORRISON
New York, NY, November 6, 2018: I am the Plaintiff in an action filed on November 1 in the US District Court for the Eastern District of New York (Brooklyn). Civil Action No. 1:18-cv-06127.
The complaint my attorney has filed reviews the factual background of my case in detail that need not be repeated here.
Suffice to say that, as a student at Dartmouth College in 2005, I had reported to College authorities, and the Hanover Police Department, a charge of sexual assault against the man who is now the Defendant in my new action. The police declined to prosecute Defendant criminally for the assault in 2005, but made findings consistent with my complaints regarding various aspects of Defendant’s assaultive behavior.
After the dust settled on the original event, I largely stopped discussing those disturbing events publicly for the next ten years.
In 2016, inspired by other brave survivors who were confronting their assailants, I for the first time attempted to make contact with the Defendant. I left him a voicemail message, which he never returned. Then, in early 2018, I made a very brief telephone call to the human resources department of his employer.
After that, the Defendant initiated what I refer to in my complaint as his “second assault” on me. He threatened to sue me for slander, which my attorney had advised me would not be a legally valid claim. He has also demanded that I enter into an onerous – my complaint alleges that Defendant’s proposal is unconscionable and legally unenforceable – “non-disclosure agreement” that would prevent me from telling the truth – or even ever talking – about the 2005 incident or the Defendant, with a penalty of $500,000(!) every time I might be alleged to have violated the NDA.
Finally, in my complaint, I have also asked the Court to expressly recognize – and to protect – my future First Amendment rights to speak my truth about the 2005 incident. Needless to say, this is an incident which has had a devastating long-term effect on me, personally and financially. I believe it is vital for me to be able to speak, write, and otherwise communicate about what happened without fear of retaliation.
I am hopeful that the procedures we are invoking in my new case will give many victims of sexual harassment or assault a weapon that will protect their free speech. I also hope actions like mine will deter the threat of a “second assault” – actions intended to bully those who have already been victimized into continued silence about the original assault.
Finally, I also hope my experience will inspire the current generation never to remain silent if they have been the subject of sexual harassment or assault.
[Rev’d 11/6/18 PM]
My legal fees have increased considerably, and will go up even more once litigation commences. We will be increasing the GoFundMe amount to reflect this, and I will also be providing much more frequent updates and specifics about what is going on (especially since I no longer have to worry as much about my silence, since the lawsuit has been filed).
We must all be brave during these tough times and fight the tyranny of sexual abusers. Thank you all for your donations thus far. We still have a long way to go, but your support has been instrumental in facilitating my fight to restore my constitutional right to freely speak about my trauma.
Henry is a highly esteemed attorney who specializes in First Amendment and defamation defense. Like Elizabeth, he is also a cum laude graduate of Harvard Law. He has been practicing law in New York City for over 45 years. He is happy provide representation to stop this gag order as well as vet and defend future publication. The other good news is that since he has his own boutique firm, his retainer was half of what Elizabeth Saylor's firm required. We have lowered the GoFundMe "ask" to reflect this.
Henry is already hard at work and has formulated an aggressive strategy. Henry also has contacts at the top law firm in New Hampshire (Orr and Reno), and they are providing assistance with records requests and getting through the collegiate and police red tape.
You can read about Henry here: http://www.hrkaufman.com/attorneys/henry-r-kaufman/