Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thorpe v Moulton

Those involved in DC life have long known of Leroy Thorpe.  He served for nearly two decades as an Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner on ANC 2C, even when it extended to Logan Circle.  Some credit his crime patrol, COPE, with doing good, while others express skepticism.  There's a long history here and I'm not going to delve too far into the past.  Let's just say there have been complaints filed against police officers and neighborhood activists, a complaint against a successor ANC Commissioner, public officials called derogatory names and some astonishingly offensive statements.  There were also allegations of intimidation of witnesses and of misallocation of public resources.  Aside from Thorpe ultimately losing his long-held seat on the ANC, not much came of it all.

But on to today.

After leaving the ANC, Thorpe immediately became president of the East Central Civil Association, an organization that has represented Shaw residents for about fifty years.  Some feel that the organization is not open and welcoming to all residents and viewpoints.  Indeed, some residents have been literally barred from the meetings and escorted out by police.

In response, a group of residents started a separate neighborhood organization, the Convention Center Community Association, to provide another option to residents.  Martin Moultin was one of the founders of that organization and serves as its current president.

Moulton takes his responsibilities seriously.  He is often seen going door-to-door speaking with residents, publishes and distributes a newsletter and maintains a blog, organizes a full meeting agenda to discuss issues of vital importance to his community, plans neighborhood events, volunteers significant time at the local elementary school, and publicizes neighborhood businesses. 

Some may view Moulton's outreach and advocacy as a threat.

On September 30, Thorpe filed a complaint in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia seeking a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) against Moulton.  In his handwritten complaint, Thorpe alleges harassment and that Moulton has been "stalking" him for four years. More specifically, Thorpe claims that:
  • "He has e-mailed me at home ignoring my request for him to stop." 
  • "He was barred from my civic [East Central Civic Association, ECCA) meeting via the DC Third District Police in 2008 for harassing me."
  • "He has come to my home in 2009 leaving flyers."
  • "He continues to come up to me at neighborhood public events in 2009 wanting to speak shake hands and take my picture without my consent -- while he laughs at me."
Thorpe requested that the court require Moulton to pay his $160 filing fee with interest and costs and that the court "grant me a stay away order regarding the defendant harassing me at my home and in the community. Also not to harass me on the internet."

And so began the latest abuse of the legal process.

Of course, entering a "stay away" order would have the targeted effect of placing Moulton at risk of arrest for contempt of court should he participate in a community meeting or event at which Thorpe is also present or even when he walks down the street.  (Moulton and Thorpe live a mere two blocks from each other).

Moulton hired a lawyer and filed an opposition.  On October 6, the court denied Thorpe's requested TRO.  Moulton filed a motion to dismiss the case.  Thorpe's opposition to the dismissal included several outrageous (and some strangely mundane) new allegations.  These include that Moulton:
  • is "obsessed" with Thorpe, adding that "Plaintiff Thorpe is a heterosexual married man."
  • is "mentally unstable and may cause harm to Plaintiff Thorpe, his wife, daughter, and mother."
  • helped set up a defamatory website, http://www.leroythorpe.com/leroy.htmle.com, against him.
  • e-mailed Thorpe asking for a turkey in 2007.
  • "pulled up along side of plaintiff Thorpe on a bike smiling at plaintiff Thorpe and wanting to talk" in June 2009.
  • approached Thorpe at a community picnic, greeted him, and extended his hand to him for a handshake to which Thorpe reacted by "cursing" Moulton.
  • included Thorpe on an e-mail related to the Advisory Neighborhood Commission.
  • approached Thorpe at a ribbon cutting ceremony (I believe this was for a new park at 6th and N) and extended his hand for a handshake to which Thorpe responded by telling him to stay away.
  • continues to pass out fliers to Thorpe's home/block.
On November 16, the court issued an order denying Thorpe's request for a preliminary injunction, but it also refused to dismiss the case.  Instead, the court provided Thorpe with a "do over," allowing him to attempt to amend his complaint to state a claim by December 11.  A status conference is set for February 19, 2010.  Meanwhile, Moulton has incurred thousands in legal fees.

But it doesn't end there.  On October 19, Thorpe apparently noticed Moulton delivering fliers on his block (this is, in fact, noted in Thorpe's opposition to the motion to dismiss his complaint) and called 911.  According to Moulton, he specifically avoided Thorpe's house and delivered community newsletters to every other house on the block.  MPD reacted swiftly, sending two cars within moments of the call to tail Moulton, and, after watching him and briefly speaking with him, let him continue on.  According to a chronology of the call released by MPD, the complainant identified and described Moulton and invoked a "civil protection order."  Of course, that order didn't exist, as the court had very clearly denied the requested TRO on October 6.

Thorpe was arrested on November 20 and charged with filing a false police report.  As the Superior Court docket shows, he was assigned a court-appointed attorney and released on the condition that he "shall not assault, threaten, stalk, harass or physically abuse M. Moulton. Stay away at least 10ft from M. Moulton."

The irony.

A court date on the criminal matter is set for January 13, 2010.


Anonymous said...

thanks for this report.


Anonymous said...

How can someone who is employed full-time with the DC govt (DYRS) qualify for a CJA lawyer?

Also, how did he end up with someone from Schertler and Ontorio, which is one of the best criminal defense firms in DC?

IMGoph said...

in the end, i really hope that martin can get the courts to make leroy pay for all of this.

Anonymous said...

Mr Thorpe wanted to use MPD to harass/arrest Mr Moulton, but got arrested himself and basically charged with his own complaint.

That's karma for ya.

Brian said...


I agree with you...Martin has stepped up to make Shaw a better place and I have given him a small check (he will get a second check from me when/if the bill finally comes from his attorney). To answer the question about the attorney...my guess is that this was the "wink wink nudge nudge" from a few of the friends "on high" that LT has left. Judgiung by the foot dragging by the MPD there was someone intervening on LT's behalf...slowly LT has eroded what little credibility he had and now comes his "kicking and screaming" attempt to stay relevant in Shaw.

Martin is the true hero in this neighborhood...a guy who will not back down and has grown into the best advocate for Shaw that we have. This LT thing will pass but one must wonder how much longer this will go on.


Anonymous said...

All of this began awhile ago when Martin Moulton wrote on his now shut down ANC & You blog that "Leroy Thorpe and others advocated and promoted the illegal activities happening on Scott Elementary playground". That was so far from the truth. While Martin went about his rights to ask questions about the so-called'computer - gate, he was very disrespectful towards MPD Sgt Penn. It seems some people did not know of this.
If it were up to me, I would put the both of them in a room and let the best person win.

The 5th St. Observer

Anonymous said...

Neighbors and friends have offered their support and Mr Moulton is very appreciative.

Anonymous said...

This legal matter is thankfully not up to thuggish observers and is being settled by sophisticated just and fair minded judges and attorneys focussed on the facts of this case.

So far, the facts aren't looking good for Thorpe and even his close friends are backing away from him this time. The most expensive lawyer in the world can't change the facts.

— Justice

Anonymous said...

Who have been Leroy Thorpe's enablers over the years? This did not happen in a vacuum.

Anonymous said...

A very nice write up, Cary.
Thank you,

Anonymous said...


ARREST# : 030906548
DT-TM: 20-NOV-09 - 0451
LOCATION: 1600 b/o V ST NW - PSA: 303

— Justice

Brian said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

There are a number of people that have moved into the Shaw Community that have no respect for any institution or individual that they cannot control. If you are not white or gay, you are seen as intolerant and/or a problem. Martin, Brian and others have been obessed with trying to destroy Leroy Thorpe and some others that have sacrificed and contributed to the positive health and well being of Shaw. They have not tried to work with "everyone" in the Shaw community. I say again, if you are not white or gay they have little interest in your thoughts or concernts. I have worked to uplift Shaw for nearly 20 years. I have developed job training programs, programs for seniors and youth, AIDS awareness and support for the homeless. I never saw Brian, Martin, Richard or many of these other "community advocates" patrolling the streets and working to end the plight of drugs and crimes. I know that these comments are not popular and will probably be blocked. Lots of "cyber bravery" but where are they when it really counts?

IMGoph said...

it's hard to claim "cyber bravery" when you post anonymously...think about it.

Anonymous said...

Neither Martin, Brian or anyone else could have accomplished getting Leroy arrested or getting Leroy to make a big fool of himself in court proceedings. Maybe "Anonymous November 26, 2009 11:30 AM" should give more credit to Leroy for "destroying Leroy." Leroy apparently paid $160 for the opportunity to publicly piss on himself.

- Law Abiding Citizen

Brian said...

IMGOPH...thanks for sticking up for me but after 5 years I have gotten a very thick skin. The person posting is someone new (because they can actually write) and while I disagree with their contention that we have never "patrolled a street" I am not going to get in a cyber pissing match. Anon...you know where I live come by and let's talk about the threats and other bullshit handed out by your boy Leroy. The beauty of living here for awhile I also know all of the stories and the funny thing is I have not threatened a soul...I have not called a soul a derrogatory name...I have not attempted to throw my sad "sway" around like some sad banana republic dictator and I have not lied to the people I supposedly "represent". Do I hide behind a computer...maybe? But working a full-time job and having a child on the way precludes me from doing all that I can in my neighborhood.

I am going to do what I can to change the topic of debate from the sad little boy to actual issues like crime and redevelopment of our neighborhood and I welcome you to come by any time to discuss any and all issues that you think I am so wrong on...

Brian said...

Law Abiding Citizen you nailed it but the "Leroy spin" will be that this is Martin's fault and he will look for others to sue and blame for his sad way of doing things...

Until this latest little flare-up it has been almost an entire year since I thought about Leroy...you never see him at meetings and for the most part the "public official eye rolls" have gone with him. We are no longer the embarrassment of Ward 2 and even we are trying to work with Jack Evans...slowly the divisive element of Shaw has been pushed out and while there are bumps we are moving forward...

Anonymous said...

Leroy's got a wife and child of his own and --unbelievably -- a DC gubbament job advisin the youf on how to keep outta trouble with the po'leece — when he can't seem to stay out of trouble wif the law hisself.

He's a long slow train wreck in progress and it's perverse to even watch it, frankly. If he had any real friends, they'd stop him — if only for the sake of his wife, child and keeping his job.

- Prayin for peace

Anonymous said...

Enough already. Both parties are wrong and are furthering the divide in Shaw. This post is adding to the problem as well. What's sad is that I have not seen one post trying to bridge the gap.

Long Time Rez said...

Thanks for the update on the predictably embarrassing antics of Mr. Thorpe. It is no vote of confidence in DC government that this individual continues on as an employee.

IMGoph said...

dec 29th anon: leroy is welcome to post something to try to bridge the "divide." we'll make sure to let you know the second he does so...

Anonymous said...

As one of those who has taken the time to read the court docs, it seems clear that Moulton's legal team has been tirelessly trying in vain to bridge "the divide" and minimize the spectacle by motioning the court to dismiss the case, it seems Mr Thorpe seems to be the only one pushing this case forward ad nauseum — and apparently to his own detriment.
Thanks for keeping the community informed. Ignorance is bliss for some.

- Bart

Anonymous said...

I and countless others have tried to reach out to Mr Thorpe.
My experience is that he bats away hands which would otherwise lend themselves to help.

Denise said...

Denise Murray-Morgan (former President of the Board of Directors (Board) of 2nd NW Cooperative Homes)
I normally don't read blogs. However, since my mother, Dorothy Carracedo, sent me an e-mail regarding the event in support of Martin Moulton, I decided I needed to know more, so I read this blog. Since I stepped down from the Board I haven't had the time to put into the community that I would like to put in (#1 reason why I left the Board). However, just because I am no longer as visable as I used to be does not lesson my concerns about SHAW. As a second generation Washingtonian, I have a vested interest in the city and especially SHAW since this is where I live. Personally, I, who was an avid supporter of Leroy at one time, think that he's all about Leroy. I will not blindly follow anybody. I take into account all the facts, my own account of things going on, and my principles. The only motive for my participation in the community is to see all of us progress, not just a few. I'm not power hungry, I just want to see positive growth happen for everybody. It seems to me if Leroy can't "be in charge" he doesn't want to cooperate with who is in charge. I don't have to be "in charge" to participate in activities for our neighborhood. I stopped supporting Leroy when I saw that he was bound and determined to keep division in the 2C neighborhood advisory community and when I felt he wanted to maniputlate me and my intentions. Yes, he has done a lot for the neighborhood in the past, but I see nothing he is doing for the betterment of the neighborhood now. The drug dealers and gangs are bolder now than I've seen in a while. And yes, I do remember the days when everybody was afraid to walk down the streets day or night (I've lived in 2nd NW for almost 31 years). I stayed when I could have left to make it a better community for the newest neighbors to live in, and I don't want to feel like I'm being pushed out of my home. Yes, 2nd NW is home to a lot of us for 30+ years and we want to be respected as home owners and not just "those people over there". I also would like to say to my white and gay neighbors, try speaking to your neighbors on a daily basis and not just when you want their support, and that means all of your neighbors, not just the ones that live in your block or right next door. I don't see a lot of you now because of the hours I work, but when I do I always give a pleasant, genuine greeting. I do want us all to be better in 2010.

si said...

Well said Denise:) & I would totally agree that greeting your neighbors is SO important and enjoyable! A warm hello to you & your mother.