innocence blog

A Web log for the Innocence Institute of Point Park University

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Doswell Troubled by Domestic Disputes

Man cleared of rape by DNA back in court in domestic frays

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

By Gabrielle Banks, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Thomas Doswell yesterday was granted a protection-from-abuse order against one former girlfriend, but a judge denied a PFA against a second ex-girlfriend.

The East Hills man was released from prison in August after serving 18 years on a rape conviction. DNA tests cleared him.

In recent months, Mr. Doswell has been involved in two domestic disputes.

Allegheny County Judge Kathleen Mulligan yesterday granted Mr. Doswell's request for a PFA against Zsaneen Sidney of Homewood. He testified that she made threatening calls in June after he ended their relationship. Ms. Sidney was not present at the hearing.

Ms. Sidney, 35, said last night that she didn't attend because a woman came to her door around 11:30 p.m. Monday and cautioned her against appearing at the hearing. She said the woman, whom she could not identify, told her there would be "problems" if she went to court. The woman told her that there would be "more trouble with the Doswell family if you go down there," Ms. Sidney said.

"Whoever she was she got her message across," said Ms. Sidney, who is a single parent of a 16-year-old daughter and 15-year-old son.

She said they had a brief relationship that ended after Mr. Doswell stood her up one evening.
"I weigh 110 pounds. Why would you need a PFA for me?" she asked. "There is no way that if you look at Tommy Doswell and look at me that you would ever need a PFA against me."

The judge denied a permanent PFA against Adrienne Young, a crime victim advocate from Garfield.

Ms. Young and Mr. Doswell had an eight- to 10-month romantic relationship, said attorney John Elash. His client said Ms. Young harassed him after he ended the relationship June 23.

But Ms. Young's lawyer replayed phone messages she said he left on the 24th and 26th declaring he loved her.

She said he choked her June 29 because she wanted to remove him from her insurance policy for a used car he had just purchased.

Last week, Mr. Doswell was held for trial on an assault charge in connection with the June 29 incident.

He told Judge Mulligan he grabbed Ms. Young by the wrists that day because she scratched him and ripped his shirt. Ms. Young said she did this because he was choking her.

The judge said there was not enough evidence to issue an order against Ms. Young, but she strongly suggested the two stay away from each other.

Lawyer Lee Rothman said yesterday's ruling vindicated his client. "She was very upset because she said this was a falsified protection from abuse. He was attempting to use the Family Division of courts as a sword to assist him in his defense of the criminal case."

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