How to Ruin a Woman

The system so reluctant to hold Greg Haidl responsible will likely punish his victim

The truly evil delight in the misfortune of others.

So it was on Nov. 10 that normally dour attorney Joe Cavallo rejoiced. Infamous for his successful defense of accused gang rapist Gregory Scott Haidl, Cavallo had just learned that San Bernardino County authorities twice recently arrested on drug charges Jane Doe, Haidl's 2002 alleged victim.

Cavallo tipped the media, spun the arrests to his client's advantage and won such daily newspaper headlines as the Los Angeles Times' "Alleged Rape Victim Arrested."

"[The arrest] goes to everything I've been telling everyone: she can't be trusted," said Cavallo, who helped win a deadlocked jury for Haidl, Kyle Nachreiner and Keith Spann in June. "This is just one more problem, but not for us."

Doe's arrests are certainly newsworthy, and Cavallo is right about one thing: if admitted in Haidl's upcoming gang-rape retrial, the arrests could damage Doe's credibility with the jury. Orange County jurors aren't usually warm to drug users—unless, apparently, the drug user is Greg Haidl, the 19-year-old son of Don Haidl, a wealthy ex-assistant sheriff.

Setting aside the alleged separate rapes of two minor girls, drugs and alcohol are elements in at least four of Haidl's run-ins with cops. Numerous police reports include the words "glassy-eyed" and "incoherent" to describe young Haidl. Yet he's not only managed to avoid a single night in jail, but also even a citation (see "That Boy," which details Haidl's long criminal record).

Doe may not be so fortunate. The system so reluctant to hold Haidl responsible for his conduct will likely punish her. Her father isn't a buddy of the local sheriff and a big political contributor. Friends won't lie on her behalf because she's rich. Her family doesn't have $90 million to hire nine defense lawyers. No one is going to pretend her drug incidents aren't serious.

In sharp contrast to Cavallo—who strenuously maintains Haidl is a victim of a "political persecution"--Doe lawyer Sheldon Lodmer didn't fabricate a ridiculous tale about the drug busts. Speaking to the Times, he frankly acknowledged his client has a problem. Doe "was not a drug addict or user before this rape occurred," Lodmer told the Times. "This all started after the rape."

The Haidl clan will view Lodmer's statement as a weakness. They know only one tactic: deny and attack. On July 5, 2002, Haidl invited Doe, then a 16-year-old, to his Newport Beach home, gave her pot and alcohol, and—as she lapsed into unconsciousness in the family garage—videotaped sex and the insertion of a juice can, lit cigarette, Snapple bottle and pool stick into her vagina and anus. Haidl later bragged to his friends about the feat, and then, perhaps when he was glassy-eyed, lost the tape.

Since the moment the tape was recovered by police, there's been an effort to destroy Doe. An army of Haidl lawyers and private detectives have continually hounded her and her family; posted inflammatory fliers in her neighborhood; called her a "slut" who tricked "an innocent boy" into making a "sex film" because she wanted to be a "porn star"; spread defamatory rumors about each member of her family; persuaded her high school friends to betray her in court; tailed her to her new high school and informed her new, unsuspecting friends about the rape case; and released her private medical and psychological records to the media.

In court, the attacks were merciless. Cavallo and his colleagues repeatedly aired video close-ups of Doe's vagina and anus during rape exams, as well as a tape made of Doe engaged in consensual intercourse with Spann, her then-boyfriend, weeks before the alleged gang rape. Over and over, Cavallo froze the graphic images on numerous courtroom television monitors facing jurors.

If that wasn't bad enough, imagine Doe's fear knowing that some high-ranking officials in law enforcement were against her. Orange County Sheriff's Department officials typically express sympathy for alleged victims—especially a female or a minor. But not in this case. Six days into the gang-rape investigation, department officials publicly sided with their colleague Don Haidl, who said his boy didn't deserve jail. Sheriff's spokesman Jim Amormino told The Orange County Register, "Our hearts go out to him."

My heart goes out to Jane Doe. Like Haidl, she's self-destructive. But Doe isn't a cocky rich kid who believes she's above the law; she's a girl who doesn't realize her own gifts. I know of no adult who could have better withstood two years of horrific publicity and a courtroom assault by a team of powerful defense lawyers. For more than three days during the first gang-rape trial, Doe was articulate, composed and even self-deprecating on the witness stand.

It's now clear that Doe, 18, is struggling under the pressure. She isn't a lost cause: in his Halloween automobile collision, Haidl tested positive for alcohol consumption and quickly fell into his familiar habit of denying responsibility; he blamed his intoxicated appearance on "spicy Indian food." Later, Cavallo blamed the collision on prosecutors. Still another Haidl attorney, Pete Scalisi, noted that it wouldn't be proper to hold his client responsible for the crash because he was "suicidal."

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