THIS IS LISAB'S STORY
I was married to Donald Scott Brunstetter from August 2000 to August 2002. I don't feel the need to go into all the details about what made him a terrible husband, but, in a nutshell:
Initially, he seemed mysterious and exciting. He was rarely available to talk, and was always heading some place fun and interesting. It was months before we finally met in person, because it seemed he was always headed off on some sort of adventure.
He completely misrepresented his financial situation when we met. He claimed that he was a partner in a real estate investment company, which he was not, and claimed to own developed real estate in both Maryland and West Virginia, when he did not own any property in any state. He indicated that he owned the 4 vehicles parked in front of “his” (rented - as I later learned) house. While 2 of the 4 vehicles were titled in his name when we met, he had bought them with money borrowed from friends and family which he had never repaid. The other two vehicles were not his at all. He was, in fact, on the verge of bankruptcy
He had fabricated a "history" for himself, minimizing any mention of disciplinary schools, mental institutions, drug addiction or legal troubles. He did not disclose his first marriage until we were filling out the marriage license application, and he had to answer truthfully. I still don’t know how many children he has, although there are at least 2, neither of whom he has provided for financially. He mischaracterized the circumstances of the conception of those children, although the truth eventually came out as I came to know more about him.
At the time we met, searching the internet for information on someone was more difficult, less information was available, and it not something most people even considered, although it is almost standard procedure to “Google” a blind date these days. In fact, until recently, it was considered RUDE to "Google" a potential date, and more than one man I met objected to it enough to end a potential relationship immediately when I told them I had looked them up (and they came back "clean").
When Donnie and I met, I had a daughter, Lauren, who was 8 years old, and his youngest (known) son was 7. Lauren was a tiny little thing, and my absolute greatest accomplishment. She was smart, funny, and brave. I adored her and would never have put her in harm's way if I had known about Donnie's past.
He wasn't winning any "Husband of the Year" awards, but seemed to be a wonderful stepfather and I was glad to see someone taking a genuine interest in Lauren. That is the only reason I did not leave him within weeks of the wedding, since he dropped the facade of being kind to me almost immediately. I have since had occasion to speak with his several of his “exes” and we all seem to have had the same experiences with Donnie, from the perspective of being his "wife" or "girlfriend." More than anything, we were "meal tickets".
Early on, he had included his 7 year old son in trips to the beach, pool, four-wheeling, or out to run errands, which made me more accepting of the idea of allowing him to take her along on adventures without me. When his son went back to his Mom's after a month or so, Lauren begged me to let her hang out with Donnie while I worked, instead of attending a day camp over the summer.
My daughter never told me when things changed between her and Donnie, and there were no outward signs that she was anything but happy. Her teachers often told me she was a standout among their students, with a bright future in any field she should choose to pursue. She didn't tell anyone what Donnie was doing to her until she was in 10th grade. I still do not fully understand why, since she and I had often discussed inappropriate touching, but she didn't. I suspect that at 8 or 9 years of age, she did not understand it, but once she entered her teens, she not only understood that these acts were sexual in nature, and began to blame herself.
It was several years after the divorce was final, when he was long out of our lives, when I learned my daughter had begun cutting herself. She was 13. I got her into counseling immediately, and when she was 15, she admitted that he had molested her, pretty much from the first time he was alone with her, and on a regular basis until she was 10.
He was arrested, denied wrongdoing, and the case went to trial. He entered a "Not Guilty" plea, was found guilty, and had three character witnesses at his sentencing hearing, none of whom had attended any part of the trial. One of them falsely identified himself as his father (he is a Junior), a respected local businessman, one a woman I had never met, and one his mother. All of them called my daughter and me liars, although we had no reason on earth to put ourselves through a trial when he had been out of our lives for YEARS by then and we did not anticipate ever seeing him again.
In August 2008, he was sentenced to 45 years, which was restructured so that part of it was suspended, and several sentences for different acts were set to run concurrently instead of consecutively. In the end, he had a 15 year sentence, with one day off for every 2 days he served. He became eligible for parole in 2011, but his first parole hearing was not until July 2012.
In the intervening time, he had written a letter to the judge admitting to what he had done. That was a huge relief to my daughter who wasn't sure that people believed her. She took a real beating in court, as they tried to make her appear to be unreliable as a witness based on things that had happened LONG AFTER he had abused her, and may even have been their cause.
Lauren and I attended his 2012 parole hearing. We also got friends and acquaintances to write letters to the parole commission asking that they NOT release him at that time, in part because he has had no substantial therapy to deal with his attraction to children, and would pose a threat to others if released, but also because she and I are both still in counseling trying to figure out how to process what happened and move forward in our lives.
Obviously, this is especially hard for my daughter, but it impacts me as well. If she is in pain, I am in pain. I feel very betrayed by Donnie, and although I am not technically considered a "victim" I feel like one. I was lied to, manipulated, and financially taken advantage of, however these issues pale in comparison to his abuse of Lauren.
This is Donnie's second and last parole hearing. If he is granted early release, he will be out by the end of the summer. If denied, he will be released in 2018, when the 10 years he is required to serve ends. Had he committed these crimes later in time, the laws would have required a much stiffer sentence, without any portion being suspended and without parole. I hope the Parole Board will consider this in determining whether to release him at this time.
Based on statistics alone, I have reason to believe that Lauren was not Donnie’s first victim, and believe strongly that Donnie poses a continued threat to children upon his release, and ask that he NOT be released early, considering that he got a very light sentence to begin with for a crime that will affect my daughter and me for the rest of our lives.
If you agree and want to help keep him behind bars for the last 3 years of his sentence, please consider writing to the Parole Commission:
MARYLAND PAROLE COMMISSION
6776 Reisterstown Road, Suite 307,
Baltimore, MD 21215 - 2341
Ruth Ann Ogle, Administrator
300 East Joppa Road,
Towson, MD 21286 - 3020
FAX: (410) 339-5000
THANK YOU ALL!