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NCFM Conference Guest Speaker Vladek Filler wins $1.7M lawsuit against discredited registered nurse who encouraged Vladek’s wife to lie about being raped

March 16, 2019

mary kellettNCFM NOTE: Vladek was a guest speaker at our 40th-anniversary conference in San Diego. You can hear his talk here: . We are thankful to Vladek for letting us help him find justice by filing a companion complaint with the Maine Board of Oversee against the prosecutor, Mary Kellett, who was persecuting Vladek and other men when in fact they were victims, not perpetrators.  Ms. Kellett picked on the wrong many when she went after Vladek.  The Bangor Daily News article below is a well-balanced report on the case.

Former Maine man wins $1.8M after enduring ‘a living nightmare’ in discredited rape case

Nearly 12 years after his then-wife accused him of rape and assault, a former Gouldsboro resident has been awarded nearly $1.77 million in damages against a friend of his ex-wife who testified against him at two trials.

Vladek Filler eventually was exonerated of the allegations after being found innocent of all but one of the charges at two trials. A judge later vacated the simple assault conviction that resulted from his second trial later without objection by current Hancock County District Attorney Matthew Foster.

Filler, who now lives in suburban Atlanta, has maintained throughout the saga that his ex-wife falsely accused him of raping and assaulting her as part of a child custody case that he later won. Filler was granted full custody of their two sons in their 2011 divorce.

In 2015, Filler filed suit against more than a dozen people, most of them former public officials, alleging he was deprived of his rights and due process because of the way his case was handled. That civil lawsuit was settled last year for $375,000 with all but one of the defendants.

On Tuesday, Judge John Woodcock issued an order and judgment in federal court in Bangor awarding Filler $1.7 million in damages against Linda Gleason, the last remaining defendant in the civil lawsuit.

Gleason is a registered nurse who, according to federal court documents, encouraged Filler’s ex-wife to cry during a police interview about the alleged assault to make it “seem real.” Woodcock wrote in his order that Gleason was “extremely culpable” in the way Filler’s case was mishandled in that she helped initiate the accusations of wrongdoing, and supported and encouraged the false allegations throughout the course of two trials.

“She has not come clean even to this day,” the judge wrote. “Ms. Gleason did not merely set a ball in motion and watch it roll. She continued to push it, testifying falsely as a witness, adding to her credibility by calling on her professionalism as a nurse. She must have known that he had been wrongfully convicted on two occasions and yet, she never told the truth.”

Woodcock compared Filler’s “horrendous” experience with the criminal justice system in Maine to Franz Kafka’s book “The Trial,” in which a man is arrested and prosecuted for reasons never made clear. The criminal justice system depends on honesty and objectivity, Woodcock said, but in Filler’s case the system failed.

“Mr. Filler endured a living nightmare,” Woodcock wrote. “Falsely accused by his then-wife and her friend of committing heinous crimes, he was wrongfully charged, tried and convicted of those charges, and it took him eight years to be fully exonerated. Mr. Filler’s experience is no one’s idea of justice in this state or country.”

Woodcock wrote that “a number” of people involved in handling Filler’s criminal case “deliberately chose to do the wrong thing,” but that if Gleason had been truthful “the state of Maine’s case would have fallen of its own weight.”

As part of his calculations, Woodcock determined that Filler is entitled to more than $2 million in damages, but the judge subtracted the $375,000 Filler already has been awarded through his earlier settlement from the amount he ordered Gleason to pay.

Filler said that Woodcock’s decision is “a profound watershed moment for me and my family,” though he is not sure if he ever will find complete closure from the experience.

He said he feels “some sense of vindication,” and is grateful to his attorneys and to Woodcock for helping bring the truth to light.

“I am disappointed, however, that state and county officials have not held their employees accountable for all the egregious and inexcusable civil rights violations that were committed in my case,” he said.

The civil lawsuit was not the only formal complaint Filler filed over the now-discredited criminal case against him. He also filed a complaint against former prosecutor Mary Kellett with the Maine Board of Overseers of the Bar, which resulted in Kellett becoming the first Maine prosecutor in recent memory to be publicly sanctioned by the state over prosecutorial misconduct.

Kellett, who now works in private practice as a defense attorney, prosecuted Filler at his first trial in 2009. Kellett was among other people named as defendants in the civil lawsuit and who reached a settlement with him last year.

Other defendants included:

— Michael Povich and Carletta Bassano, former district attorneys for Hancock and Washington counties.

— Former Hancock County Sheriff and current Hancock County Commissioner William Clark.

— Paul Cavanaugh, an assistant district attorney who prosecuted Filler’s second trial and who now works as a prosecutor in Kennebec County.

— Several former or current law enforcement officers who were involved in the criminal investigation.

— The governmental entities of Hancock County, Washington County, the town of Gouldsboro and the city of Ellsworth, each of which had officers from their law enforcement divisions involved in the investigation against Filler.

Insurance companies for the governmental entities and their former and current employees covered the cost of the $375,000 settlement with Filler.

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NCFM Conference Guest Speaker Vladek Filler wins $1.7M lawsuit against discredited registered nurse who encouraged Vladek’s wife to lie about being raped

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2 Responses to NCFM Conference Guest Speaker Vladek Filler wins $1.7M lawsuit against discredited registered nurse who encouraged Vladek’s wife to lie about being raped

  1. Tom C on March 30, 2020 at 3:43 PM

    Filler held up against enormous odds and with much difficulty received the closest thing the system could finally offer him as fairness.

    It’s too bad that thousands of other men victimized in the same way as Mr. Filler can’t also get fairness.

  2. Dr. Philip Hadlock on March 18, 2019 at 8:36 AM

    Congratulations to Vladek Filler on this important legal victory. Although no amount of money can compensate for the horrors he endured, his perseverance in pursuing his attackers in court will serve as a crucial precedent for other men who have been heinously victimized as he was. We have entered a troubling new age where misandry is ingrained throughout all tiers of the justice system. Perhaps if more men like Filler come forward and hold the legal system accountable for endorsing bigotry and denying men their fundamental human rights, there may come a day where men who decide to engage in relationships with women won’t have to live in fear.

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