On Stand, Faulk Denies Beating His Ex-Girlfriend
By William C. Lhotka
May 09, 2003
Football star Marshall Faulk swore Friday that he never battered ex-girlfriend Helen Dunne. He said he still cares for her despite accusations of abuse and even a revelation that she may have lied about whether a child was his.
"I still love her. That will never change. She is the mother of my kids," Faulk, the Rams running back, told the St. Louis County Circuit Court jury that will decide next week whether Dunne is entitled to "substantial" damages.
A week of inquisition about their four-year relationship of high spending and high jealousy led Friday to a former baby sitter's revelation that one of the boys for whom Faulk pays a total of $15,000 a month in child support might have a different father.
Faulk denied each of eight instances of what Dunne had called physical abuse. But he did admit physical contact with her during at least one confrontation, in October 1999.
In that case, Dunne was treated at Barnes-Jewish West Hospital for injuries she said she suffered the day before.
Dunne has testified that Faulk accused her of cheating on him, struck her with his fists on her head, choked her and broke one of her fingers.
He told the court Friday that he had gotten a phone call from a lawyer friend in Chicago who had seen Dunne with another man. Faulk said he confronted her and she denied it but then admitted having dinner with the man.
"I'm out, I'm leaving," he recalled saying. "We talked about it. I turned around and walked out of the room. She jumped on my back." He said he shook her off. "She ran and got in front of the door. I pulled her hands away from the door and pushed her down on the bed.
"If I wanted to hurt Helen and that was my intent, I could have," Faulk said.
"Because she's beautiful"
His attorney, Scott Rosenblum, asked why Faulk would have a sexual encounter with Dunne in May last year at his apartment in Clayton, even though she had already filed the lawsuit against him.
"Why? Because she's beautiful," Faulk replied.
Dunne's attorney, Charles Todt, questioned Faulk about Dunne's allegations of an incident in August 2000, when Dunne was kept overnight at St. Mary's Health Center for stomach injuries.
She said Faulk hit her. He said he was in training camp at the time and got a phone call from her in which she said she had been in an auto accident. Faulk said he had nothing to do with any injury to her stomach.
He also denied hitting her in July of that year and giving her a black eye. The next day, the couple went to her family picnic, and pictures were taken, he said. None of the relatives at the picnic were called as witnesses, and no pictures have surfaced, Faulk said in response to Rosenblum's questions.
Faulk testified that he proposed to Dunne in fall 2000 and gave her an engagement ring. The marriage, he said, was contingent upon both getting counseling from Bayla Meyer, a psychologist.
"We argued about money. We told lies to each other. I felt we needed it. We had issues," Faulk said.
He said he called off the engagement because Dunne stopped seeing Meyer. Afterward, he said, he tried to get her to reduce her household expenses to $15,000 from what had been $20,000 to $25,000 a month.
When that plan failed, he testified, he filed a paternity suit in hopes a judge would set spending limits.
Baby sitter's testimony
Jacqueline Bird, the former baby sitter, testified Friday that Dunne had been in relationships with other men, like professional basketball players Andre Patterson and Shaquille O'Neal, while having a relationship with Faulk. Bird said Dunne sometimes asked her to lie to Faulk for her.
Under cross-examination, Todt asked Bird, who has known Dunne most of Dunne's life: "When did you first start lying for Helen?"
"Probably when she was in high school," Bird replied.
Faulk said he had believed Dunne during a paternity suit last year when she said he was the father of three of her four children. But he told the court his trust was shaken by Bird's testimony.
Vanessa Antoniou, a lawyer in Clayton, told the jury she had prepared an affidavit and a letter to a prosecutor in which Dunne absolved Faulk and took responsibility as the aggressor for the encounter in October 1999.
Antoniou said Rosenblum had called her and told her that Dunne would be contacting her. Antoniou had worked for Rosenblum for four years after getting her law degree.
In Antoniou's notes of her meeting with Dunne, she quoted Dunne as admitting she had pushed Faulk, pulled on his clothes and tried to block his departure. Dunne now contends that she never said those things and signed the affidavit without reading it.
Antoniou said she would never risk losing her law license by making up a false affidavit for Rosenblum's benefit.
The trial will resume Monday in the court of St. Louis County Presiding Judge Barbara Wallace. Jurors may begin deliberating sometime Monday on Dunne's suit and Faulk's counterclaim that seeks a symbolic $1 and says she is lying and abusing the legal process.