Tracy Thurman was married to a man who abused her. But he continues to harass her after she gets a restraining order...
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Police, Law, Marital Abuse, Courtroom, Based On True Story
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A Cry for Help: The Tracey Thurman Story is a 1989 NBC TV-movie based on the 1985 ruling Thurman v. City of Torrington. The film stars Nancy McKeon as Tracey; Dale Midkiff as Buck; and Bruce Weitz as Tracey's lawyer, Burton Weinstein.
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The movie opens with Tracey Thurman being rushed to the hospital after being physically assaulted by her estranged husband, Buck.
An extended flashback shows how Tracey and Buck met. Tracey was working in a hotel in Florida and came across Buck and his fellow construction workers. At first, Buck was a charming person, until, over time, he started to display raging tempers. He took them out on Tracey, telling her all about how Buck's mother used to abuse him when he was a child. Despite the violent outbursts, she agreed not to leave him. When she told him that she was pregnant with his child, he punched her in the face and stomach. She then returned to Torrington, Connecticut to be with her friends, Judy and Rick. Buck found her and seemingly humbly apologized for his behavior. He asked to marry her and promised to settle down in Connecticut. Tracey was hesitant, but when Buck promised never to hit her again, she agreed. After they got married, she gave birth to a boy,C.J.
Buck's attempts to find work proved futile, so the family had no choice but to return to Florida. Over the next year, Buck managed to gamble away all their money, and continued to beat her in front of C.J. Tracey left him and returned to Torrington. Buck showed up and told her that he found a job at a diner but she didn't care. However, after he then proceeded to kidnap C.J., Tracey called the police and have Buck arrested. The police said that she could have her son back if she and Buck got back together! Tracey decided to divorce Buck, and was given custody of her son without Buck seeing him for the time being. As she left, Buck attacked her in her own car. Buck was arrested, and Tracey issued a restraining order against him, but he continued to harass and threatened to kill her. When she went to the police, they did very little to help.
When the divorce was final, he showed up again, causing Tracey to call the police hoping that when they saw him threatening her, they would arrest him. Buck demanded Tracey to come out immediately, when he stated that he wanted them back together, she refused to stop the divorce. When the police showed up, Buck pulled out a knife and stabbed her numerous times. He then went into the house and grabbed C.J.,showing him his injured mother lying on the ground in a pool of blood. Many neighbors witnessed Buck still assaulting Tracey, and yet the police did nothing to stop it. It wasn't until after Tracey was loaded in the ambulance that police finally apprehended Buck.
In the hospital, Tracey's lawyer, Burton Weinstein, together with Tracey's sister, discussed filing a civil lawsuit against the Torrington police department for not protecting Tracey. Tracey spent months recuperating, and Buck was sentenced to 20 years in prison with the possibility of parole in 1991. Tracey was apprehensive about the possibility of his parole; knowing that, upon his release, he would be coming after her! However, her attorney, Weinstein, was able to keep Tracey focused on the lawsuit. Following the civil suit trial, the jury voted in favor of Tracey, in that her rights were violated,and was awarded $2,300,000 dollars. Happy with the decision, she hugged Weinstein.
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Lee Miller (producer), Beth Sullivan (associate producer)
A Cry for Help: The Tracey Thurman Story Picture Gallery
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