Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Abused Heiress - Anne Scripps Douglas

Secrets and Lies

In a very short time the marriage was troubled and everyone knew it. Curiously, those who lived near Scott's Greenwich office/apartment didn't know the marriage was in trouble. In fact, they didn't know he was married at all. Police said Scott was frequently seen in movie theaters and restaurants with his female clients.

"He used to party a lot," said his friend Tom Linsenmeyer, who furnished paint and supplies to Scott's business. "There was never any mention of his wife."

The lies he told Anne were revealed. He told her he was Jewish and that his mother was dead. Neither was true. He was Episcopalian and his mother was alive and well. The deceptions became so frequent that Anne hired a private investigator to find out the truth about Scott's past. Whatever the investigator found did not prompt her to leave him.

It should be noted that others strongly disputed these claims of Scott's "double life." Anne knew he had the apartment in Greenwich, her lawyer told The New York Times, adding that it was his belief that Scott rarely spent the night there. Others in Greenwich said they never saw Scott with other women in inappropriate venues and that he did not pretend to be a bachelor. A neighbor in Bronxville said Scott told her of his frustration that he was prevented from seeing his 7-year-old daughter from a previous relationship.

He did, however, continue to drive a wedge between Anne and her family and friends. He became suspicious when she was on the phone and when they would take Tory for walks, he was very impatient when Anne stopped to talk with neighbors, friends said. Anne told a few close friends that Scott was paranoid and demeaning, frequently calling her names and accusing her of having affairs.

Scott was becoming increasingly rough as his drinking intensified.

"He used to come home drunk," Alexandra told People magazine, adding her stepfather was a violent drunk. He would throw furniture and smash glasses, and several times pushed Anne into the wall. Many friends and relatives witnessed his violent behavior at a wedding when Anne was dancing with her former brother-in-law. Scott stormed onto the dance floor and pulled the couple apart, calling Anne a "slut."

Gretchen Devlin said things were already so bad by that time, Scott had originally not been invited to the wedding because "there were already too many people who wanted to punch him out."

At a dinner party, Scott slammed Anne's head into a stone driveway wall in full view of other departing guests, authorities said.

Yet again, others who knew the couple were shocked by the allegations of violence, and one person familiar with Anne's plans to leave her husband said he did not become violent until the end of the marriage.

"Their relationship was not a Joel Steinberg-Hedda Nussbaum affair," that person told The New York Times, referring to a notorious New York City abuse case. "As innocent as she may have been, she would not have stayed with a physical threat. She has two grown daughters."

Anne began talking to close friends in coded messages. "Let's do lunch," meant Scott was coming and that she couldn't talk any more on the phone and that she needed to speak to the friend in person. When things were "okey-dokey," the exact opposite was true, but Scott was within earshot and Anne couldn't be truthful on the phone. She told friends she thought Scott had tapped the lines because she found strange wires in the basement.

In the spring of 1991, Anne had had enough and the couple separated, with Anne taking Tory and moving in with Alexandra. She amended her will to give Scott a portion of her trust, but structured it in such a way that he would only receive $6,500 annually, subject to taxes. They did not talk of divorce at the time and for a while, Scott apparently mended his ways.

"He would straighten out for a little while and then go back to his old ways again," said Anne's mother, Anne Scripps, 72.

While she feared the physical violence, Anne stayed with Scott for one reason, her former sister-in-law said.

"Anne was terrified of Scott," said Mary Jane Haggerty, "because he always said that if she tried to leave, he would take Tory and disappear."

 

 

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