Suggs Restraint Order Granted

Ravens Linebacker, Children's Mother Reach Accord On Terms Of Child Support, Visitation Rights

December 12, 2009|By Justin Fenton | Justin Fenton , justin.fenton@baltsun.com

The mother of Terrell Suggs' two children was granted a restraining order against the Ravens linebacker in a Baltimore District Court hearing that was devoid of abuse allegations and involved both sides working out custody and child support terms as they await the outcome of two civil lawsuits filed by the woman.

Suggs' attorneys stressed that there was mutual agreement about the restraining order and said the 27-year-old football player denies any allegations of abuse involving Candace Williams, 26, who says he assaulted her on two occasions last month.

"You can draw your own conclusions relating to someone's motive when they filed a $70 million lawsuit within 20 days of the alleged incident," attorney Warren S. Alperstein said.

"He's eager to move on and resume his relationship with his children, which he's been deprived of," Alperstein said.

Williams alleged in a petition for a protective order filed Dec. 4 that Suggs struck her and spilled bleach on her and their 1-year-old child on Nov. 29 after an argument over game tickets. She also acknowledged that she had spit on him and kicked his arm. Williams subsequently filed a petition for custody of the children and a $70 million lawsuit, both in Baltimore County Circuit Court, alleging assault and battery. That suit contained additional claims that Suggs broke her nose on Nov. 3.

All of the allegations have been made in civil court, and Suggs has not been charged with a crime.

As part of the agreement, which lasts for a year or until the pending cases are settled, Suggs agreed to stay away from Williams and will pay her $35,000 a month to cover expenses for their children. They agreed to joint custody and worked out an unsupervised visitation schedule, with Suggs' mother, Laverne, acting as an intermediary.

Williams pushed for the use of an $800,000 Windsor Mill home owned by Suggs' mother, where the couple had lived after a flood damaged the player's home, but she settled for use of his 2008 Hummer.

Suggs' attorneys viewed the agreement as a victory.

Kevin Byrne, Ravens vice president, said, "We're pleased he got his chance to tell his side of the story."

Suggs did not attend practice on Friday, though he hopes to play in Sunday's home game against the Detroit Lions after missing three weeks with a knee sprain.

Williams, who appeared visibly upset at several points during her time at the courthouse, did not address reporters, nor did her attorney, Eric Gordon.

Gordon told District Judge Theodore B. Oshrine said that he had witnesses and was ready to proceed with a hearing on the merits of the protective order, as Oshrine considered whether to grant a motion by Suggs' attorney to transfer the hearing to Baltimore County Circuit Court.

"I'm ready," Gordon said several times.

Oshrine said he did not want to pass the responsibility of hearing the case on to a different judge, but he pushed the sides to reach an agreement.

"I'm convinced reasonable people can work this out," Oshrine said.

Both sides huddled, with Williams and Suggs sitting five feet apart but not exchanging glances.

Before reaching an agreement, Alperstein asked Suggs, "Are you sure?" He responded, "Do it."

Suggs' celebrity status didn't go unnoticed. Oshrine had all other cases on his docket moved to a courtroom down the hall, and he spoke directly to reporters several times throughout the hearing to stress that Suggs had not admitted any wrongdoing or guilt. Maryland first lady Catherine O'Malley, who is a District Court judge, was among the spectators who filled the courtroom to observe the proceedings.

Oshrine also sealed a document prepared by Baltimore County Child Protective Services, which according to Suggs' attorneys did not substantiate any claims of abuse involving the young children.

At the conclusion of the hearing, Laverne Suggs approached Williams and asked for a hug. Williams, who appeared upset, backed away from her and shook her head. One of Suggs' associates could be overheard saying, "Cry me a river."

Baltimore Sun reporter Ken Murray contributed to this article.

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