- Category : 1954-births
- Type : GE
- Profile : 5/1 - Heretical / Investigator
- Definition : Triple Split
- Incarnation Cross : LAX Migration 2
American battered wife whose history of abuse began nine weeks before her wedding. When the toilet was not cleaned to Tom's satisfaction, he would grab Carla by the hair and shove her head into it, then throw her into the shower and slam her against the wall. If she cried, the abuse got worse. For beatings, he used a baseball bat or a table leg. Karla had head wounds, a fractured ankle. He threw her down stairs frequently, fractured her finger and cut her with kitchen knives. When the case broke, police said they had never seen so severe a case of spousal abuse.
One of six kids in a devoutly Catholic home, Carla remembers her dad as a gentle man who treated his family with love and respect. At school, she played on the varsity team and graduated with a nursing degree. Three years later she met good-looking Thomas Flanagan, a salesman who was quiet, polite and charming. They made a beautiful and happy bride and groom. Three years later, Thomas John Jr was born. Fatherhood did not ease Tom's fury; while Carla was nursing he'd grab her by the hair and drag her to the floor.
When Tom's company went bankrupt in 1986, things got worse. He was home full-time with nothing to do but vent his anger and frustration on Carla. Daughter Kelly was born in 1988 and in 1991, daughter Kara.
Though there were quiet periods, Tom's behavior began to spill over into public displays. He was banned from the local youth baseball grounds because of fighting with another parent. An anonymous neighbor filed a child-abuse report, and social services interviewed the family. Tom threatened Carla with severe retribution if she did not say that he was a great dad. She did as she was told. Neighbors suspected Tom of malicious vandalism, such as scraping his keys down the side of their cars, or spray-painting graffiti, but no-one could prove anything and whenever the police or anyone else called at the house, Carla answered through a few inches of open door.
By the mid-'90s, home was a prison for both Carla and the kids. When Tom watched TV, the kids were made to spend the day in their one bedroom - and they'd better be quiet if they knew what was good for them.
In 1997 after a stomping that drew blood from her kidneys, Carla called the police to say her husband was "acting strangely." She hoped that he'd be put on medication that would soothe him. She did not mention the abuse. After three days observation, Tom was released, and the beatings became worse.
For the kids, Tom plucked out their nose hairs daily. He made them stand with their noses at the wall for hours and allowed them to go to the bathroom only with permission, after which he would allocate how much toilet paper they could use. They were told that if they said anything about what was happening at home, he'd kill their mother.
In 1999, Tom almost killed Carla, twice choking her to unconsciousness. Between January and June, she and the kids secretly began to plan how they could escape. They finally decided they had to all four tell the police everything. On August 1, Tom commanded the family to go get him the autographs of the Yankees, who were playing in Boston. Carla drove straight to her sister's house and told the whole story for the first time to her weeping sister. They went to the police where Tom Jr.'s journal was invaluable with it's shocking story. Tom Flanagan was picked up on two charges of attempted spousal murder.
With Tom in jail, the neighbors, church and community rallied around Carla and the kids, with food, clothes, theater tickets, coupons, help with the bills and house payments and a Christmas without fear. The house was painted and repaired, windows washed and fixtures polished, the yard trimmed and replanted and for the first time in their lives, the kids had pets; a dog, two hamsters, four cats and a bunny. For the first time, there was laughter in the house and the noise of family activities. Carla still limps and the kids are learning not to wince but they still have nightmares and are all in counseling.
Tom was sentenced to nine to eleven years prison and Carla has divorced him. In court, he snarled at her, "You'll be sorry."
Many women call Carla and she tries to help them leave untenable situations. She is working on a book to help other women recognize and reject the victim syndrome.