May 03, 2005

Victim's advocate one day, villain the next

An Idaho woman once held up as a crusader against domestic violence has been indicted in a case that involves "meth, death and many unanswered questions".

Barbara Dehl, 49, was held Friday in the Ada County Jail. This past week, a grand jury indicted her on two felony counts of kidnapping and one count of trafficking methamphetamine....in stark contrast to Dehl's life five years ago, when she stood with teary eyes next to Republican Gov. Dirk Kempthorne as he signed a law named after Dehl's deceased daughter, Cassandra Dehl.

Dehl helped persuade the Legislature in 2000 to pass "Cassie's Law"...which extends domestic abuse protections to teenagers trapped in violent relationships. She testified in front of the U.S. Congress on issues of dating violence and served on the National Advisory Committee on Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Stalking. In 2003, her role on the panel brought her face to face with President Bush as he announced a new initiative to combat abuse.

According to court records, Dehl talked to an undercover officer at length about her involvement in "Cassie's Law" while negotiating a price for a ounce of meth...

In a small-world detail, Barbara Dehl's court-appointed attorney is a law school and First Communion classmate of mine, Joe Ellsworth.

Keeping their own counsel for five years, the family of Cassandra Dehl's ex-boyfriend now write that the arrest reveals the true Barbara Dehl.

What a wicked web. Better to hesitate a bit before draping the mantle of moral superiority over one party or another in any story of crime.

(link via Professor Chin at Crim Prof Blog)

1 Comment:

Appalled said...

Firstly, the "what a wicked web quote?" It's about deception. Are you suggesting the BD set out to decieve anyone. You can't imagine that the death of her daughter drove her in a direction she might not had gone if not for this tragedy? And, using meth is not nearly the same as causing the death of another through indifference or worse