What is abusive litigation? Abusive litigation is when someone uses the legal system to take power and control over another. Abusive litigation is more common in cases of domestic assault, but can pertain to any action where someone uses the legal system as a weapon against another individual in order to control their actions or movement.
Yesterday, I stood in court stunned as Marqueta Tyson, Dr. Richard Mason’s attorney, used a legal maneuver to attempt to absolve him from responsibility for perjuring himself in the affidavit he filed in order to obtain an emergency and preliminary protective order against me — one that was subsequently denied by a judge in good standing in the Commonwealth who said “Dr. Mason, you have not proven that Mrs. Miller EVER posed ANY threat to you.” She used the “So what?” defense — basically stating that he can affirm that he lied off of his face in order to obtain a protective order, but because he made the statement IN COURT, he can’t be held accountable. I’ve processed over this for close to 24 hours and I still don’t understand. It’s probably because I’m not a lawyer, but from what I understand about the law, when you lie in court or on a court document, that’s called perjury. Perjury, however, requires a criminal charge and when the lying-assed chairman of the School Board and the unethical Hampton Commonwealth Attorney run in the same circles, hide behind the same scriptural anecdotes and make it clear that they could care less about the people, justice is not served. You can’t expect Anton Bell to file a perjury charge against Richard Mason because….they’re friends. As Anton Bell had no interest in taking my daughter Celeste’s rapist to court, he had equal or more further interest in not prosecuting Richard Mason for perjury. It’s alarming and sad — elected officials find a way to hide behind the veils of friendship and need for each other and regular, everyday citizens are left in the lurch behind people who are more interested in railroading the truth than being representatives of the moral character that they play in a real-life version of charades.
The past two years have been a battle between anger, frustration and hurt. I realize that the view I had of these people that are supposed to be pillars of my community was a warped assessment masked in perception versus fact. The Criminal Complaint Dr. Mason filled out in order to enact the emergency and preliminary protective order reads:
“Under penalty of perjury, I, the undersigned Complainant swear or affirm that I have reason to believe that the Accused committed a criminal offense…”
That’s the thing: HE DIDN’T. The things he stated in the Criminal Complaint were a BULLSHIT LIE that NO ONE could testify to. The only person who was willing to stand with him was Ann Stephens Cherry, who was NOT at the event he affirmed and whose only purpose in attending was to take revenge on me for calling her a “fucking bitch” at a school board meeting. Nothing more. On November 9, the day the protective order was thrown out, he affirmed that his LAWYER told him to file. Marqueta Tyson INSTRUCTED HIM TO LIE per his OWN STATEMENT. What message does that send? The Chair of the Hampton School Board, who BY LAW had the ability to plead the Fifth Amendment rather than perjure himself in court was absolved of responsibility because he ADMITTED HE LIED in COURT rather than in front of a 7-Eleven and THAT’S OKAY? I will never understand how that can be. I will never understand how people who are in a position of public trust can VIOLATE the ethics of the profession that they serve in (as a licensed mental health professional and as an attorney, respectively) and misuse and abuse the court system for their own gain.
I think what has affected me the most is that the same disregard and ambivalence that Richard Mason has shown towards me in attempting to tarnish my name, restricting my movement, and being an overall douche is the same response that the Hampton School Board has had to my family as a whole.
My daughter was repeatedly raped in a Hampton City elementary school.
My daughter was raped for TWO SCHOOL YEARS.
My daughter deserves to be protected.
HCS should keep her and her rapist out of the same schools.
HCS should pay for her therapy costs.
Hampton City Schools refuses to keep her safe.
If HCS can’t keep her safe, they should finance where she can be safe.
We have a nine-year-old rape survivor who was VIOLATED on HCS’s watch.
The School Board needs to be held accountable.
The City Council and the Mayor should respond.
The Hampton Commonwealth Attorney should care about Celeste with the equivalent concern he has shown to her rapist.
The Chair of the School Board LIED on a parent.
He weaponized the court system against a parent so that she would not be able to tell other elected officials that they dropped the ball and let a CHILD BE REPEATEDLY RAPED.
The Chair of the School Board ADMITTED HE LIED.
WHAT DO YOU MEAN SO WHAT?!?!?!?
This experience has been a litany of lessons. I’ve learned that people of the same racial group can do each other the most harm. At one point in my life, I wanted to be a member of a sorority, but especially in this situation, the bonds of university alumni and sorority and fraternity bonds have made people who might have been ethical at one point, turn into unapologetic liars. This statement is not all-encompassing. There are people who have drawn their lines in the sand because they refuse to compromise who they are even for organizations that they love. For that, I can only offer my sincere appreciation. But Maqueta Tyson and Kellie Mason are both Deltas and Richard Mason is a Que. There is no doubt in my mind that this probably shaded some bricks that used to cement their moral compasses.
The intense emotions that I feel at this moment are palpable. I wrestle with internal struggle, wanting to yell at the top of my lungs, but realize that immoral and unethical people love to partner with each other to develop a narrative that makes it so they can sleep at night. Richard Mason is the Chair of the School Board, has a mental health practice in Downtown Hampton and is a prominent member of a large local church. His wife, Kellie Mason is a school principal in Newport News. Marqueta Tyson has a practice in Downtown Hampton. Nanci Reaves is the School Board General Counsel. Ann Stephens Cherry is the Vice-Chair of the School Board and retired as the talking head for Hampton City Schools. Dr. Jeffrey Smith is the Superintendent of Hampton City Schools. Anton Bell is the Hampton Commonwealth Attorney and CALLS himself a pastor at a large local church. ALL are liars, rape sympathizers, and unethical trashcans. I would NEVER condone doxing because I truly think that it’s wrong, but I do, however, condone addressing these people on the positions they have taken against children, especially since EACH ONE OF THEM makes their professions on the backs of our most vulnerable. Kellie Mason seems to think that her husband should not be addressed in his positions in public places. I beg to differ. When he chooses to run for elected office, he CHOSE the ability to be called to task — ANYWHERE. That does not mean that people can put their hands on him. That does not mean they can commit ANY illegal action. What that DOES MEAN is that the public — his constituents — can call him to task and voice approval or disapproval. That does mean that he doesn’t get to choose to be a talking head and not be responded to. Richard Mason LOVES to hear himself talk, but he does NOT like to listen. He does NOT like to give others the same reception that he DEMANDS. If public redress is something he cannot accommodate, November 8th is the day to retire him to his echo chamber. VOTE. HIM., OUT. While he is still on the school board, ATTEND EVERY MEETING. Sign up for the public comment period. Demand censure. Let him know that he DOES NOT get to weaponize the courts against a parent and get away with it. He serves the parents and students of Hampton City Schools. If he can not do that with morals, ethics, and legal methods, he does NOT deserve that role. He needs to get out of the way of people actually trying to do right by our kids.
I would have been okay if I would have had the opportunity to present my case and lost. But to not even be able to articulate my position and be heard. I’m not going to quit. I’m appealing and I will fight not only for Celeste but for my own name and reputation. The saddest thing about all of this is that Richard Mason and Ann Stephens Cherry and all of the other people mentioned above have done the one thing that I NEVER wanted in all of this — they have made this about me versus being about a child who was irreparably harmed. They care more about their own egos than they do about the children they serve…and because of that, I might be bloody, but I’m not defeated.
Blessed be the fight.
For more on my family’s plight, please visit www.8forCeleste.org