Mark Rypien faces abuse charges in longtime partner’s trial


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Mark Rypien’s longtime domestic partner has filed a lawsuit against the former NFL quarterback, accusing him of years of physical and mental abuse.

In the lawsuit, filed in mid-May in a state courthouse in Spokane, Wash., Rypien’s partner was identified as Danielle Wade. She sometimes used her last name and Rypien, 59, publicly referred to her as his wife, but they never married.

In 2019, after being charged with domestic violence, the couple signed a joint letter as “Mark & ​​Danielle Rypien” and said “he had committed no crime”. In the letter, they said: “Mark is suffering from what we suspect to be [chronic traumatic encephalopathy] and that leaves us with difficult situations to manage. Rypien pleaded not guilty to the fourth-degree assault charge, in which he was accused of hitting Wade while driving a car they were in, and the case was dismissed.

Wade’s trial revisited this episode as one example on a list of alleged acts of abuse, but also as an example of the “media power” wielded by the Super Bowl-winning quarterback, particularly in eastern Washington, where he was raised and played in college. This local celebrity status also factored into Wade’s inability to break off their relationship, according to the court filing, which claimed she was indeed bound to him by “fear, by public marital duty, loyalty and by the caregiver role assigned to her, even while being traumatized”. himself.”

The 2019 letter was referred to in the quote-unquote lawsuit as a “joint” statement written by Rypien’s defense attorney suggesting that Wade was not an active participant. Rypien was charged with violence against him in 2020 and resisting Wade’s efforts to “end the public ‘husband and wife’ relationship” between February 2021 and February 2022.

According to the court filing, the two met in 2002 and were living together the following year. After Wade realized that Rypien had been diagnosed with brain damage and was “probably” suffering from CTE, according to the lawsuit, he “began to say [Wade] of his desire to hurt others, which [she] perceived as warnings for her.

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2008 marked the “first time [Wade] felt significant pain and fear for his life” due to an alleged act of violence by Rypien, according to the lawsuit, which went on to detail other violent episodes as part of a “pattern of violence physical [that] developed alongside psychological abuse.

“Danielle Wade has been with Mark Rypien for over 18 years. She continues to have empathy for him,” Wade’s attorney, Mary Schultz, said in a statement Tuesday. “But his past trauma does not give him the right to inflict trauma on him. Injuries have resulted, and those injuries need to be healed. … The NFL and the media focus on one player’s trauma, but behind that player is a well-known wake of traumatized companions and family members who don’t and can’t talk, but suffer injuries very real because of the conditions of the players.

A lawyer for Rypien said in a statement (via The Associated Press) that the former quarterback “categorically and unequivocally condemns domestic violence.”

“He had a relationship with Danielle Wade which ended recently,” the statement read. “During this relationship, Mr. Rypien has acknowledged and apologized for actions that were detrimental to Ms. Wade for which he is truly sorry. He has complete faith in the justice system and hopes the parties can come to a just resolution so they can move on with their separate lives.

Wade was described in the lawsuit as remaining “fearful of threats from [Rypien]as well as fans and supporters seeking favor with [him].”

His legal team said in the filing that Wade had to sue for damages because the “remedies available for the dissolution of an intimate relationship are not suitable for repairing damages in this type of partnership.” The lawsuit wants Rypien’s alleged years of abuse to be treated as a “continuing unit tort of domestic violence against [Wade]as opposed to separate acts for which, in many cases, the state statute of limitations has expired.

A sixth-round pick by Washington in the 1986 draft, Rypien became the team’s full-time starter in 1989 and led it to the NFL championship following the 1991 season. Selected twice to the Pro Bowl with Washington, Rypien was waived in 1994 after refusing to take a pay cut. He stuck with Cleveland and played for three other teams before his career ended in 2002.

In 2018, Rypien went public with his mental health issues, which included at least one attempted suicide. He credited Wade with saving him in this episode by forcing him to vomit over 100 sleeping pills which he swallowed and chased with a bottle of wine.

At the time, Rypien also acknowledged a 2017 incident that led to police filing a domestic violence report.

“Part of this thing is getting the right drugs. When you use something that doesn’t meet this? This impulse control? You go from zero to 60 very quickly,” Rypien said of the incident, for which charges were eventually dropped. “I don’t remember that night. I remember losing control.


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