A Toronto TV reporter, who was harassed by her former broadcaster and comedian boyfriend, shared a powerful victim impact statement in court.
"Harassment is an ugly thing, It seeps into your mind and destroys your sense of peace and security," said Cynthia Mulligan on Friday. "I'm going to call it what it is — it is abuse."
Mike Bullard, who hosted CTV's late-night talk show "Open Mike" in the late '90s, pleaded guilty to one count of making harassing phone calls, as well as failing to comply with bail conditions, reported The Toronto Star.
I'm told a friend of his defended him by saying 'all he did was love her.' That wasn't love. It was abuse.Cynthia Mulligan
He and Mulligan, a reporter for CityNews, had broken up after dating for eight months. In 2016, Mulligan went to the Toronto police after receiving a flood of text messages and anonymous phone calls from a pay phone.
Three other charges of criminal harassment, obstruction of justice, and breaching a court order against Bullard were dropped on June 1.
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"And you were abusive in so many ways, driving by my work, endless texts and phone calls, often while I was on air, despite the fact I clearly told you to stop," wrote Mulligan, in an original, unedited draft of her victim impact statement, which was posted in its entirety by her friend and fellow TV reporter Avery Haines on Facebook.
A different version read by Mulligan in court included amendments required by the judge to remove claims that are not supposed to be in a victim impact statement, including unproven allegations.
"You abused your power as a radio host as well, threatening to talk about me on your show if I didn't do as you ordered," Mulligan said in court.
"No woman should ever have to go through this simply because she ended a relationship."
"He fell in love and dealt with it inappropriately," Bullard's lawyer, Calvin Barry, told the court, according to the Star.
Police warned Bullard three times to stay away from Mulligan. The harassment trickled down to an impact on Mulligan's daughters.
"Your irrational behaviour was escalating. I was scared," she said in her statement.
"The hardest part, other than the growing pervasive fear, was when I had to tell my two daughters that police were concerned for our safety and we had to move out of our house."
She also noted that Bullard has not taken responsibility for his actions.
On Friday, Bullard told reporters that Mulligan's victim impact statement was "the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard in my life," according to CBC News.
"I've never stalked or abused a woman in my life. I've never made an obscene phone call in my life, and I never will," said Bullard, who received a conditional sentence and six months probation. He must also attend a domestic violence program.
His response underscored the message in Mulligan's statement.
"If anything, I hope people will listen to this and realize that if they turn a blind eye they too are part of the problem and they are enablers. Women go through this far too often — they need people to stand up and call out this destructive behaviour. It is a crime.
"I'm told a friend of his defended him by saying 'all he did was love her.' That wasn't love. It was abuse."
UPDATE - Aug. 16, 2018: The story has been updated to clarify that the statement read in court by Cynthia Mulligan is different from the statement posted on Facebook by Avery Haines
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