By M.William Phelps with Donna Palomba
A woman on a crusade for justice – raped by a masked assailant, Donna Palomba's long struggle was not only to see her assailant arrested, but to defeat authorities bent on discrediting her, to reclaim her identity, to become an advocate for victims of sexual violence, and even to change thelaws in her home state.
Lyons Press, an imprint of Globe Pequot Press by M. William Phelps and Donna Palomba September 2012 – a story that follows one woman's hunt for justice.
About the authors
Donna Palomba is the face and founder of Jane Doe No More, a national non-profit established in 2007 to improve the way society responds to victims of sexual assault. She regularly collaborates with law enforcement, and successfully advocated for a Connecticut law removing the statute of limitations on sexual assault cases involving DNA evidence. She lives in Woodbury, Connecticut.
M. William Phelps, investigative journalist and star of the hit Investigation Discovery series Dark Minds, is the bestselling, award - winning author ofmore than twenty nonfiction books. Winner of the 2008 New England Book Festival Award for I'll Be Watching You, Phelps is also the author of The Devil's Rooming House; The Devil's Right Hand; and Murder, New England (all from Lyons Press). He lives in a small Connecticut farming community near the Massachusetts border.
In 1993, Donna Palomba was raped by a masked assailant in her own home. Yet, her story is more than a victim's tale of physical and emotional recovery. It is a story of one woman's hunt for justice while fending off attacks by institutions designed to defend and protect her – the police department, the local government, and a community clinging to an outrageous claim that Donna had invented the crime to cover up a sexual affair.
From the night of the attack, the botched crime scene investigation, and the abuse as authorities attempted to close the case by discrediting her, Donna was left as a victim with no name and no identity. Meanwhile, there was one courageous detective, later to become chief of police, who broke a cops' code of silence in the name of justice. As they fought on, a legal battle ensued after the Waterbury Police Department – now with media support – refused to let go of its allegations against her and admit wrongdoing. Finally, after eleven years of struggle, Donna learned the identity of her attacker from the chief of police, who explained that the DNA from the rape kit taken a decade ago had turned up a shocking match.
In 2007, Donna Palomba was the subject of a special two-hour Dateline episode about her case. Suddenly, she was Jane Doe no more, launching the Jane Doe No More organization and becoming a promoter of the rights of women and victims of sexual assault. Donna's journey from victim to survivor is detailed in the book with the help of crime investigator and author M. William Phelps.
"This book is an evocative and compellingtrip into the real experience of a heroic victim of crime – a woman who fought to survive without anonymity in our society and who fought for redemption within our system of justice. Not only is it well written, but it also provides us theknowledge and courage we need to challenge the system and be Jane Doe No More. This bookwill be required reading for all victims of crime and for detectives around the world. We can alllearn from Donna's story.”
– Dr. Henry C. Lee, Distinguished Chair Professor of Forensic Sciences, University of New Haven; Founder, Henry C. Lee Institute of Forensic Science
"Donna Palomba's book, Jane Doe No More, is a brave and painful tale of her experience as a victim turned into survivor and now a thriver. She is another voice in the struggle for victims'rights in the US, as we still live in a country where evil predators have far more rights than thevictims they beat, abuse, rape and sometimes murder. She is a hopeful voice and a beacon tomany who struggle to survive the horrible US "justice system.” In truth, in the US we have a legal system – not a justice system – that occasionally, though not always, leads to justice for victims and their families. Donna's story will give hope to those who have suffered and then attemptto wade through that legal system. It is a scary but very brave and hopeful tale that will help others go forward and tell their stories. Please read her book Jane Doe No More, and share it withyour friends and loved ones.”
- William A. Petit, Jr. MD, President of the Petit Family Foundation
"Jane Doe No More is the story of a true hero. Through her struggle for justice as the victim of one of the most personal and devastating kinds of violence, and her advocacy for improving the law in cases of sexual assault, Donna Palomba has given other survivors a voice of courage and hope.”
– The Honorable Jodi Rell, former Governor of Connecticut
"Suspense builds as seasoned investigative journalist Phelps works through police reports, trial transcripts, depositions, diaries, e-mails, and extensive interviews, inserting Palomba's first – person accounts throughout until the chilling truth about her assailant is finally discovered.”
– Published Weeky
"After a forty - five - year career as a Detective in the NYPD and later as a Director in Global Security at a Fortune 500 company, I served in 2011 as the President of the FBI National Academy
Associates (graduates) for New York State and the Eastern Provinces of Canada. Recently, I hadthe distinct pleasure of speaking with the hero pilot of USAir Flight 1549, Captain Chesley B."Sully” Sullenberger. This is the man who showed the world that you can land an Airbus A320on the Hudson River without the loss of a single life. Captain Sullenberger's recent book is abouthis heroes, all of whom rose above severe adversity, displayed great leadership, and contributedto our society using "in the truest sense... moral courage and leadership by personal example.”Since no one fits that depiction better, I gave him the name of my hero, Donna Palomba, and her website address janedoenomore.org.”
– Joseph J Gannon, Tappan, New York
Quotes/Inserts from the book
"After the initial blow of that report and the way that the "brethren” of the WPD was sticking together, I wanted to make sure, more than ever now, that this would never happen to another victim put in my position. These guys were bullies… [And] if it happened to me, it happened to others. I could not allow it to continue.”
– Donna Palomba from the book, "Jane Doe No More”
"I wanted to be present at the time of the arrest because I had to know why. Why would he do this to me? I wanted to look him in the eyes and let him know that I was okay and the attack was not going to beat me – that I was a survivor, not a victim.”
– Donna Palomba, from the book, "Jane Doe No More”
"The treatment Donna received by the police was more damaging to her emotional/mental state than the rape itself. It completely turned her upside down. The sense of betrayal went very deep.”
– Dr. David Johnson, an expert in PTSD, from the book, "Jane Doe No More”
"Strange as it sounds, I wouldn't trade anything. I believe you learn most from your greatest challenges. These events, as I went through them, made me stretch and reach further inside of mysoul then I ever thought possible.”
– Donna Palomba from the book, "Jane Doe No More”
"Donna lived as "Jane Doe” for nearly fifteen years. Her identity was stolen from her. If you area rape victim (or know someone who is), or if you have been sexually assaulted and have not reported it (or know somebody who was), please read Donna's story and visit the Jane Doe No More website. The information there can help you recover your identity and take back your life.”
– M. William Phelps, from the book "Jane Doe No More”
"Every Jane Doe is a person with hopes and dreams and talents. I want to let everyone know that he or she is not alone, and invite them to become part of what is a vocal, vibrant and visible survivor's community."
– Donna Palomba, from the book, "Jane Doe No More"