THE AMERICAN PRETRIAL
some laws and procedure vary state to state, pretrial proceedings
involve a 9-12 month process, during which the plaintiff's attorney and
defense counsel pursue a disposition agreeable to the plaintiff(s),
defendant(s) and counselors. The counselors then present the
disposition to the judge. Fruition of a disposition generally requires
9-12 months, particularly those involving misdemeanor allegations.
The pretrial procedure in the United States justice
system generally follows the following steps: arraignment, discovery,
compliance/election, continuances and status appearances. A trial will
follow if the ADA and defense attorney cannot reason an agreeable
This case, filed
in July of 2011, lasted twenty-two months in pretrial court
proceedings. Significant delays are most often caused by unsuccessful
efforts for a public prosecutor (an assistant district attorney) and
public or private defense attorney to agree on a pretrial disposition.
Awaiting evidence analysis is another common cause for delay.
It is seldom
that prosecutors enter their intent to no longer pursue charges after so
much time has passed since the filing date. Longer time periods are
indicative of the state strengthening their case against the defendant.
Common reasons a
prosecutor/plaintiff may not prosecute include the nature of the
offense, lack of or no valid and reliable evidence, the defendant’s
(lack of) criminal history and (lack of) prior appearances in court. The
defendant’s residence, employment status, and ties to the community are
also contributing variables.
would normally call for a 9-12 month period following the date that the
charges were pressed in court. A trial would not add any more than a
more peculiar is the consent and participation of the affiant in press
coverage of an ongoing investigation for which they identify themselves
as the alleged victim, as was written in a November 2011 university
This article marks the
ten-year anniversary of Susan Dunn's breakthrough report on
multi-international academic mobbing reports among the nations of three
continents: Australia, Europe and North America. Dunn is a prolific
writer for Webpronews.com and marketing coach, consultant and website
reviewer of Webstrategies.cc.
tradition of Dunn's work, the current research mainstreams an
international foray of academic mobbing examples. Among approximately
eight hundred academic mobbing examples since 2003, sixty cases
significantly surpassed the profundity of exploitation, extensiveness
and injurious effect solicited upon higher education faculty by their
In comparison and counterpoint to Appel's case, this
article reports one of the most "heinous" and "obvious" examples of
academic mobbing that experts have considered in recent years, also
involving Vaden-Goad. Research, legal analysis and integration of court
documents, bankruptcy records on affiants involved, police reports and
prior media attention provides a voice to enfranchise the victim of
mobbing, Professor Jeff Johnson of Framingham State University. "Mobbed
faculty" are rarely complicit to offer direct testimony about their
mobbing experience. Exhaustive. Johnson's case is particularly
intriguing due to his tenacity and insistence not to speak publicly
According to Freelance compatriot and legal
journalist Jayne Howarth, "A mobbing campaign commonly begins with a
benign incident provoked and facilitated by an administrator, usually
the Academic Affairs leader: a dean or VP. The target of mobbing is
almost always a non-tenured, middle-class, young and well-liked
professor or a long-standing, tenured and senior faculty member."
incident is benign in order that the administration has access to
control it's narrative. The outcome is almost always imposing
disciplinary action on the unsuspecting non-tenured faculty member, and
exploiting the characteristic emotional instability in the tenured
professor. " Howarth added.
Howarth, "The academic affairs facilitator then acquires the resources
and influence from Human Resources to persuade the tenured faculty
member to pursue recourse with their union. The escalation of paper
purposely trails on a fast track toward internal law enforcement. An HR
director's goal is to massage the tenured employee to report
allegations that require little to no evidence to substantiate and
hardly any power to enforce: harassment. The tenured professor is
usually quieted by direction from HR, as they could sabbatical the
validity of the harassment claim."
Howarth noted that, "Court records in the Framingham
State University case demonstrate the most reliable evidence that
academic mobbing is at play: the 'the victim who readily discloses to
Victims who aggressively reveal their identity with
an on-going investigation of harassment and a harassment order in play
disrespect the resources of the court. Swedish academic mobbing cases
readily treat the alleged victim who pursues public disclosure as
committing tortious interference."
Tortious interference charges are controversial
because they impose a distinction between speech freedom and speech
privilege. When an alleged victim is complicit to engaging in publicity
about an individual who has allegedly harassed them, they harm the
credibility and integrity of the order with every word they convey.
Howarth added that, "'People who obtain a
restraining order out of a genuine need are in fear for their safety,
and do not publicize their their grievances on an alleged defendant in
any way. Publicity has historically provoked undue and avoidable
the United Kingdom. USA and Canada holds that victims who publicly name
their alleged victimizer is just as well perjuring their restraining
order's credibility and civic integrity. Violation of harassment orders
are almost always quashed following an alleged victim's revelation of
the defendant and details in regard to affidavits and police reports
they submitted to police," Howarth added.
stated, "A victim's public behavior may likely be wantonly and
maliciously considered as a revenge tactic for unfulfilled intentions
they had when first obtaining the restraining order. This circumstance
conveys an ex post facto admission that the original order was
fraudulent, and can result in a variety of criminal and civil charges."
may include charges for intentionally filing a false police report,
slander, defamation, liability for causing law enforcement to
unnecessarily expend public funds to investigate false allegations and
journalistically disclose their alleged harasser's identity is waving a
red flag of false pursuance of the order, to the extent that it is
virtually unheard of on the United Kingdom, The United States and
Canada, for alleged victims to willingly pursue, comply with and
participate in news coverage of their alleged harasser in an ongoing
investigation." Haworth stated.
perjury are not uncommon when an alleged victim shows a zealous
willingness to comment in the news prior to investigation closure.
compatriot journalist Maureen Hunt-Yellick added that, "When an alleged
victim is willing to pursue and offer substantial feedback to the
'published public' on harassment charges and any related criminal
allegations, courts historically call into question the credibility of
added that, "a 'smoking gun' that perjurious and injurious behavior has
been committed by a plaintiff upon a so-called defendant is whether or
not the plaintiff specifies the defendant's motive to the published
public, and then changes that motive to this audience in later
investigation discovered the inconsistency a month prior to
Hunt-Yellick's "smoking gun" contribution. "Poor review, discrepancies
in resume, a grant, pending termination," are just a few incongruous
reasons provided by the "victim" in Johnson's case.
elaborates that, "Victims virtually never make public statements about
open harassment charges they filed. A willingness to disclose
substantial details for journalists denotes that the affiant did not
possess a credible level of emotional distress or alarm warranting the
successful fruition of harassment charges. It is alarming how often and
willingly the alleged "victim" consented to commenting publicly about
her own alleged harassment, and how often she entirely changed the
reasons why it happened."
added that a reasonable affiant essentially forfeits their claim of
emotional distress and alarm by voluntarily and willfully offering an
abundance of published feedback on an open harassment case. They also
disqualify the infliction of a "reasonable person" requirement. Alleged
victims who press harassment charges, or any charges for that matter,
injure their claims and credibility, because the defense can use the
alleged victim's feedback as a vital and intuitive tool that contradicts
the requisite level of distress and alarm. Many precedent cases hold
that an alleged victim voluntarily commenting publicly on their open
case because any sign that they arguably publicized privileged and
personnel related information expresses contempt for the resources they
sought from the court. In other words a violation of this privilege
by the alleged victim has precedently been deemed retaliation by the
alleged victim. It is then admissible for the defendant to submit that
the affiant is exploiting the court's resources and limiting their
potential to protect the alleged victim. The alleged victim injured
their credibility because public disclosure, although legal, will call
into question the veracity and integrity of the distress and alarm they
felt from the defendant.
concluded that, "A legitimate harassment claim does not demonstrate
unreliable testimony from the complainant. A lawful claim of harassment
does not tolerate publication of privileged fact or false statement of
fact. Legal review and precedent holds that an alleged victim of
harassment expels the integrity of their harassment claim by
participating in wanton press coverage with suggestive or overt punitive
editorial of the defendant. In other words, in my personal opinion,
the university and the "victim" "cooked" this complaint. It is textbook
academic mobbing directed at Johnson."
can neither tolerate nor justify legally admissible however voluntary
punitive treatment of defendants. To reiterate, the result is a
corruption of the court's litigious assistance that the alleged victim
requested after the initial harassment claim.
Mr. Johnson could not be reached for comment on the morning of 4/29/13. No phone calls were returned on 4/29/13.
According to former student Aaron Chase, "Jeff [Johnson] is the most docile person I ever met."
Chase stated that since the individual who filed these charges may
still be teaching, he [Johnson] may not want to comment because it was
not in the best interest of former, present or current students.
studied Public Speaking under Johnson in the summer 2009. Chase added,
"When I heard about this matter, it felt like I was kicked in the
stomach. But I always knew Jeff was innocent and these charges were
Alla Stackland added, "Everyone in the loop knew that Jeff [Johnson] was
innocent. Nobody commented on the charges other than students."
and part-time faculty are the most vulnerable targets of academic
mobbing," Strickland added. "There is much less liability for a college
or university to target the non-tenured professor regardless of any
legal or moral dilemma. Conflicts involving the pairing of one tenured
and one non-tenured professor, unions, colleagues and administrators are
well-versed, ahead of time, in the institution's potential liability,
and very often they feel they can move more cost efficiently on the non
-tenured party. Administrations lack of pursuance to rid this problem
and elevate the morale of the academic and collegiate culture is a
testament to the chronic problem of academic mobbing.
"Colleagues are unlikely to openly support the target openly out fear of retaliation, and job loss," Strickland added.
Tigrel added, "The more recent the incidents of academic mobbing are, the more disturbing they reverberate."
After an exhaustive review of public court documents
and affidavits provided by Framingham, Johnson fits almost the entire
criteria according to American expert Joan Friedman's extensive research
on mobbing characteristics both foreign and domestic.
Friedman, "First, mobbing victims are typically productive, inner-
directed individuals who also often act on their principles. Their
productivity in higher education may also include successful grant
procurement (personal observation). They are also often a little
different. You might have noticed that our mobbing victim was
foreign-born, had accented speech, came from a working class background,
and, unlike colleagues, was religiously observant. The results of
several studies in Europe suggest that woman are mobbed more than men
(Meschkutat, Stackelbeck, & Langenhoff...however these results are
controversial and may be influenced by women’s willingness to report
this embarrassing phenomenon more.
Fear of retaliation was both warranted and
precedented. According to public court documents, this is not the first
time a member(s) of Framingham State University's administration
allegedly used tactics to injure the professional fitness of a faculty
Vice President of Academic Affairs Linda Vaden-Goad
was concurrently one of several defendants in a civil litigation matter
Rosalie Appel, a tenured Art Professor of nearly 40 years at Western
State Connecticut University (herein referred to as WCSU) experienced
discrimination and professional misconduct at the hands of
Court documents show WCSU administrators violated
legal and civil rights of Ms. Appel. According to court records, among
these administrators was Ms. Linda Vaden-Goad (herein referred to as
Vaden-Goad), the now current Vice President of Academic Affairs at
Framingham State University.
Three other administrators at WCSU were also found
to have violated Ms. Appel's rights. The egregious way Appel was
treated also violated union and even legal standards. According to
court documents, the civil infractions against Appel were initiated by
Vaden-Goad et al. began an alleged mobbing campaign
by making Appel the target of an unsanctioned petition against Appel..
Vaden-Goad approached the WCSU Art faculty to mobilize a
department-wide petition in protest Appel's alleged behavior.
Following the petition, Vaden-Goad et al. founded a
special assessment committee to examine Appel‟s conduct and develop an
action plan to address any problems the Committee identified, ultimately
calling for Appel to undergo a neuropsychological and projectives
indicate that Ms. Appel's confidential medical records were accessed by
administrators. By law, access to medical records is prohibited by any
subject unless permitted otherwise. However Ms. Appel gave no such
Ms. Appel was not successfully contacted for comment.
most unbecoming factor was Vaden-Goad et al.'s due process violation
clause of the 14th Amendment in ordering Appel to submit to a
psychiatric exam while intending to access Appel's mental health record
and the results of the exam.
The recent Framingham State University matter sounds
an alarm that continued arrogant, unethical, union-violating and
illegal behavior was not quelled by this WCSU case. Reports of grant
investigations, teaching quality and adviser competence against Johnson
and countless others are common publication items that university
administrations use to "attack the target".
These target strategies are meant to suggest
suspicion because investigations took place. University officials,
especially those in the public sector, do not publish any counterfactual
or meretricious proceedings on current or former employees, and jargon
such as "investigation" functions in school press to transfer guilt and
defamatory suggestion onto the "target".
By law, receipt or provision of monies exceeding
$5,000 are always subject to investigation. Even more, banks are
required to report funds transacted in excess of $4999.99 to the IRS.
According to tax consultants Ernst & Young, financial
advisers for the Oslo Atrium, Christian Frederiks Plass, and financial
consultants in the United States, "An investigation of Johnson's grant
is an article that could be written about anyone who receives grant
money in excess of $5,000."
Court records show that Mr. Johnson solely informed a
former university advancement director of applying for the funds and
receipt of a pledge. The Assistant District Attorney corroborated this
fact on the record in pretrial proceedings.
A representative for the NFIE, an organization
through which the monies were pledged to Johnson, confirmed that, "We
maintain a strong climate of privacy and anonymity about our grant
activity. Our mission is to grant funds directly to recipient without
administrative sifting of funds."
They added, "Many universities and institutions have
delayed the progress of grants by presuming they have a right to a
portion of the funds. It is not uncommon for this misunderstanding to
lead to trumped up disciplinary action."
The NFIE strongly encourages institutions to observe
that there is no guarantee of administrative entitlement to the funds.
They urge institutions to study [their] philosophy about grant privacy.
They stress that privacy and anonymity is a means to help prospective
recipients use their affiliates' funding as they see fit.
The NFIE corroborate that the grant was at their
pledge stage. They noted a receipt of a copy of an email sent to
Campus Currents, in which Johnson solely reported his application and
pledge status with the grant.
After lengthy court proceedings, Appel‟s due
process claim was deemed to have merit to proceed against Rinker,
Spiridon and Vaden-Goad. Appel‟s 2006 claim of First Amendment
retaliation claim was also deemed substantive and having merit. Also,
Appel's claim of First Amendment retaliation arising out of a claim
filed a year earlier will proceed against Spiridon and Vaden-Goad.
established a substantive case to proceed against Vaden-Goad et al. in
their official and individual capacities. See the following court
documents which outline the case.
Note: Charles Dusman is a
freelance journalist for the London Times. This article's intent ls to
report the sizable that international/sc o academic mobbing.
Note the following selected public documents:
Bibliography of Spiridon v. Appel Records
(concurrent with Framingham State University matter.
As of 2012
Friedman, Joan. "The Anatomy of Academic Mobbibg." Academic Mobbing (2009): 64. Print.
Tigrel and O. Kokalan, "Academic Mobbing in Turkey," International
Journal of Behavioral, Cognitivex Cxx, Educational and Psychological
Sciences (1:2 2009), pp. 91-99. CThis a
About the Author & Contributors
Charles Dusman, author, is a freelance reporter on London, UK.