Court of Appeals of Missouri, Eastern District, Third Division
from the Circuit Court of the City of St. Louis Honorable
Lynne R. Perkins
B. SULLIVAN, P.J.
an appeal from the motion court's denial of N.J.D.'s
(Appellant) petition seeking a protective order against
R.O.D. (Respondent). We reverse the judgment of the motion
court and remand with instructions to grant Appellant's
petition and enter a full protective order on her behalf
and Procedural Background
and Respondent were coworkers. In April 2017, a sexual
encounter occurred in Appellant's home between her and
Respondent that Appellant characterized as a sexual assault.
At the hearing on Appellant's petition seeking a
protective order against Respondent, Appellant declined to
provide details of the occurrence other than stating it was a
"sexual assault," and she was
"intoxicated" and "coerced."
Respondent began harassing Appellant both at and outside of
their work, making unwanted sexual advances, and repeatedly
asking Appellant to be his "side chick." Respondent
asked several times to see Appellant outside of work, but
November 2017, Respondent invited Appellant to what she
believed was a meeting of coworkers at a bar. When she
arrived, she discovered she and Respondent were the only ones
there. Respondent engaged Appellant in conversation, pulling
out his cell phone to show Appellant pictures of himself
posing with guns. Respondent claimed he was going on a
hunting trip, but Appellant did not recognize the guns as
being types used for hunting. At the hearing on
Appellant's petition, Appellant testified that she felt
Respondent intended to threaten her by isolating her and
showing her pictures of himself with guns, and so she had
reported the incident to her supervisor at work.
December 2017, Appellant and Respondent attended a goodbye
party for two of their coworkers. This party took place at a
restaurant. Appellant testified she did not know Respondent
would be attending, and if she had known she would not have
Appellant sat at a table, Respondent approached and sat
opposite her. He asked why she was being cold towards him.
Appellant replied she and Respondent were not friends, and
she wanted nothing to do with him. Respondent replied loudly,
within earshot of other coworkers, "You've been
pissed off ever since you sucked my dick." Appellant
asked what he meant, and Respondent shouted, "You've
been exposed. Exposed. Exposed. Exposed." With this,
Appellant picked up a beer from the table and dumped it on
Respondent's head. A coworker intervened and escorted
Respondent out of the restaurant.
Respondent left the restaurant, Appellant asked for her bill.
As she was paying, Respondent came back into the restaurant,
having removed his beer-soaked shirt. Respondent rushed
towards Appellant, grabbed her by the neck, and began
strangling her. He did not release his grip on
Appellant's neck until coworkers pulled him off and
escorted him back out of the restaurant. Appellant testified
she was terrified as Respondent strangled her. The next day
Appellant sought medical attention for her throat, as it
still hurt and made a clicking sound when she swallowed. A
doctor diagnosed Appellant with a possible fractured larynx.
There were also marks on her neck made by Respondent's
January 3, 2018, Appellant filed for an order of protection,
alleging Respondent had caused or attempted to cause her
physical harm, coerced her, stalked her, harassed her, and
sexually assaulted her. At the hearing, Appellant testified
as to what had occurred between her and Respondent.
Respondent was present but offered no evidence on his own
behalf. When asked by the motion court if Respondent intended
to testify, counsel for Respondent replied he intended to
invoke his Fifth Amendment rights. Respondent cross-examined
Appellant, mainly about the incident in the restaurant during
which Respondent choked Appellant. Through cross-examination,
Respondent attempted to show Appellant had provoked
Respondent into strangling her.
the hearing, the motion court denied Appellant's petition
for a full order of protection. The motion court found there
was insufficient evidence presented by Appellant to justify
such an order. The motion court did not make findings of fact
or conclusions of law. This appeal follows.