, Salem, MA

November 17, 2010

Man sues his wife, claims defamation

Husband had been charged with stockpiling weapons

By Julie Manganis
Staff writer

SALEM — The allegations were shocking: a Manchester-by-the-Sea man, consumed by rage toward his wife, preparing for "martial law" with a stockpile of weapons, including grenades, and making threats to shoot "traitors."

Gregory Girard's arrest last February made national headlines, as police displayed an array of guns and other weapons they had pulled from his Bridge Street condo. A judge locked up the computer consultant as a danger to the public and to his wife, Dr. Kristine Girard, the associate director of mental health services at MIT.

But by the time the case went to trial last spring, most of the charges had been dropped by prosecutors. Only three counts remained — discharging a firearm within 500 feet of a dwelling, and possession of two devices police believed were silencers, but which Girard contends were flash suppressors. Those charges were continued without a finding for four years.

The guns were all owned legally by Girard, who was properly licensed, and the "grenades" turned out to be smoke bombs for use on his boat.

Now, a "devastated" Girard has filed a $2.7 million lawsuit against his estranged wife and the university where she worked until shortly after the raid on their home, saying that Dr. Girard, a psychiatrist, misdiagnosed and improperly treated her husband for more than a decade, and then made false claims about him and disclosed private medical information to police and prosecutors.

The suit alleges that Dr. Girard did so simply to gain an advantage, and a bigger share of the couple's assets, in a now-pending divorce.

Bradford Keene, who represents Girard, said his client's life has been "destroyed" by his estranged wife's allegations.

He spent nearly three months in custody, and now his name is irretrievably linked to the case — a Google search of his name turns up thousands of links, his lawyer said.

"He absolutely cannot get a job," said Keene, who filed the suit on Monday in Salem Superior Court. "This is a brilliant, brilliant guy. This has just devastated him."

Since their marriage in 1998, the Girards had not only been husband and wife but patient and doctor, an unusual arrangement that came about when Girard went on the MIT health plan, the suit says.

Girard told his wife he had been diagnosed with depression and anxiety in his teens.

Over the course of their marriage, the suit says, Dr. Girard repeatedly prescribed various medications, including lithium, Luvox, Nardil, Parnate and Nifedipine (a blood pressure medication), all without ever telling him that her diagnosis had changed or filing a treatment plan.

By the time she went to police, Dr. Girard claimed that her husband was suffering from bipolar and obsessive-compulsive disorders and was "delusional."

She also told police and prosecutors that her husband was adjusting his own medications and stopping them, that he had suffered a "gradual decline in ... functioning" and that she had discussed having him involuntarily committed to a hospital.

After his arrest, Girard was sent to Bridgewater State Hospital for an evaluation.

Doctors there came to a very different conclusion: there were "no signs or symptoms of mental illness."

Girard has since started seeing a psychiatrist, one of the conditions of his court case.

That doctor has also concluded that while Girard suffers from mild depression and anxiety, as well as "significant ongoing stress" as a result of the charges, he had none of the symptoms Dr. Girard claimed to have diagnosed in her husband.

Girard, who holds technology patents and had worked as an independent consultant for several years, now lives in a rented apartment described by Keene as a "hovel."

He has physical custody of his son from a prior relationship, but that teenager is now living with friends.

On Friday, he'll be in Salem Probate and Family Court in an attempt to convince a judge to let him move back to the couple's Manchester condominium.

The couple's divorce is heading for trial in March.

Dr. Girard is now living in San Francisco. She obtained a California medical license last month, according to that state's medical registration board. Her number is unpublished and she could not be reached for comment.

Both Dr. Girard and MIT are being sued for malpractice, violation of Girard's patient privacy rights, defamation and violation of the state consumer protection statute.

A spokeswoman for MIT said the university does not comment on pending litigation.