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Domestic violence survivor: Protection order 'didn't do anything at all'

Sandy Goulet narrowly escaped her abuser's wrath when he violated a protection order and went on a shooting rampage - aiming for her. That's why she says court ordered protection isn't as strong as it should be.

PORTLAND (NEWS CENTER Maine) - A woman who narrowly escaped her ex-boyfriend's rage is speaking out against Protection From Abuse orders.

In 2012, more than 6,000 people in Maine requested such orders. Homicide victim Renee Clark had applied for a Protection From Abuse (PFA) order in February against her accused killer, but was denied.

Domestic abuse survivor Sandy Goulet from Casco says a PFA wouldn't have mattered. "The abuser," she said, "if they’ve got a will, they'll find a way."

Goulet was the target of a drunken rampage by her ex-boyfriend Normal Strobel in November 2016, police say. While looking for Sandy, Strobel shot and wounded her daughter's fiance, shot and killed his own roommate, and was ultimately shot and killed by police.

Norman Strobel, 59 WANTED 

Goulet was signed up for a shooting class the next day, and planned to buy her first gun for protection - but that protection was too late.

Prior to the shooting, Goulet had filed a PFA against Strobel, one that police say he had violated multiple times. That's why Goulet says her court-ordered protection was useless. "Things were escalating," she said. "[Strobel] was out of control."

Francine Garland Stark, the Executive Director for the Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence, said PFAs are useful because they give police an option to stop domestic violence before criminal actions occur.

When the statute around PFAs was created in the 1970s, Stark said it was in direct response to victims of abuse saying, “Listen. I don’t really want to have to have the police arrest my partner. I just want my partner to stop abusing me.“

Still, Sandy Goulet says a piece of paper is not enough. She says she doesn't know the appropriate solution, but she's suggested ankle bracelets for domestic abusers. She's testified in Augusta in support of stronger domestic violence policy.