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Gay rights lawsuit includes evidence of domestic abuse

  • Clay Greene was prevented from visiting his partner Harold Scull during his final months and shut out of his estate following his death because the two were not married.

The Guerneville man suing Sonoma County for separating him from his partner and selling their possessions had attacked the other man and at one point threatened to kill him, according to the sheriff's department report of the 2008 incident released Wednesday.

But no charges were brought against Clay Greene, 78, accused of attacking Harold Scull, 88, because prosecutors said there was insufficient evidence. Greene has repeatedly denied the allegations of abuse and Scull at the time was unwilling to pursue charges.

"As far as we're concerned, it's a closed matter," Diana Gomez, assistant district attorney, said. "We rejected it two years ago."

That opinion in the criminal case could chip away at the underpinnings of the county's response to a lawsuit filed by Greene that is drawing national and international attention and has become a cause c??re in the gay community.

County officials were flooded Wednesday by e-mails from around the world decrying what has been viewed as discrimination and a trampling of rights because of the men's sexual orientation.

Gregory Spaulding, lawyer for the county, said an Internet letter-writing campaign has filled the in-boxes of elected officials and staff members named in the multi-million dollar suit from Greene. Stories about the case appeared over the weekend on the sites of the National Center for Lesbian Rights and the Bilerico Project. The furor has spilled onto Facebook, with angry supporters calling for political action and boycotts of Sonoma County businesses.

Spaulding said the county on Wednesday was trying to respond to hundreds of e-mails with its own letter that explains the county's position and tries to correct what he called misstatements about the case. He accused advocates of trying to spin the story and of litigating it "through the Internet and the press."

"The county has been inundated with many copies of the exact same e-mail, word for word, from people who have been misinformed," Spaulding said.

The suit accuses county social workers of elder abuse and discrimination for failing to recognize Greene's 25-year relationship with Scull, forcing the men into separate nursing homes and selling their belongings. Before Scull died of natural causes in August 2008, Green said he was denied visitation by officials who considered the men mere roommates.

"I'm sorry the focus has been taken away from the real case," said Greene's attorney, Anne Dennis.

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