Long before Gregory Tyson Below was charged with a string of brutal sexual assaults in Milwaukee, a woman he was dating accused him of raping and choking her. Even though eight other women made similar complaints against him over 15 years, Below was convicted of just two misdemeanors, says the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. That’s because the women detailed the alleged abuse in applications for restraining orders, which are filed in civil or family court. It’s not in a judge’s job description to keep track of trends.
“This guy had a career of violence against women. He was racking up a history of horrible, horrible crimes,” said Carmen Pitre of a group running a courthouse clinic that helps women apply for restraining orders. “Would I want us to be catching that sooner? Absolutely.” Below, 36, was charged last week with 32 crimes starting in 2004. There are 15 applications for restraining orders on file against Below dating from 1992 through 2009. The details in them mirror those in the criminal complaint. Judges tend to focus on one case at a time, said Beth Bishop Perrigo, deputy district court administrator for Milwaukee County.