In 1993, Donna Palomba was raped by a masked assailant in her own home. Yet, her story is more than a victim’s tale of physical and emotional recovery. It is a story of one woman’s hunt for justice while fending off attacks by institutions designed to defend and protect her—the police department, the local government, and a community clinging to an outrageous claim that Donna had invented the crime to cover up a sexual affair.
From the night of the attack, the botched crime scene investigation, and the abuse as authorities attempted to close the case by discrediting her, Donna was left as a victim with no name and no identity. Meanwhile, there was one courageous detective, later to become chief of police, who broke a cops’ code of silence in the name of justice. As they fought on, a legal battle ensued after the Waterbury Police Department—now with media support—refused to let go of its allegations against her and admit wrongdoing. Finally, after eleven years of struggle, Donna learned the identity of her attacker from the chief of police, who explained that the DNA from the rape kit taken a decade ago had turned up a shocking match.
In 2007, Donna Palomba was the subject of a special two-hour Dateline episode about her case. Suddenly, she was Jane Doe no more, launching the Jane Doe No More organization and becoming a promoter of the rights of women and victims of sexual assault. With the help of crime investigator and author M. William Phelps, this is her story.
Donna Palomba is the face and founder of Jane Doe No More, a national non-profit established in 2007 to improve the way society responds to victims of sexual assault. She regularly collaborates with law enforcement, and successfully advocated for a Connecticut law removing the statute of limitations on sexual assault cases involving DNA evidence. Donna’s professional experience as co-founder and managing member of a marketing agency helped establish Jane Doe No More as a nationally recognized organization. She lives in Woodbury, Connecticut. M. William Phelps, investigative journalist and star of the hit Investigation Discovery series Dark Minds, is the New York Times bestselling, award-winning author of more than twenty nonfiction books. Winner of 2008 New England Book Festival Award for I’ll Be Watching You, Phelps is also the author of The Devil’s Rooming House; The Devil’s Right Hand;and Murder, New England (all from Lyons Press). He lives in a small Connecticut farming community near the Massachusetts border.
“This book is an evocative and compelling trip into the real experience of a heroic victim of crime—a woman who fought to survive without anonymity in our society and who fought for redemption within our system of justice. Not only is it well written, but it also provides us the knowledge and courage we need to challenge the system and be Jane Doe No More. This book will be required reading for all victims of crime and for detectives around the world. We can all learn from Donna’s story.”
—Dr. Henry C. Lee, Distinguished Chair Professor of Forensic Sciences, University of New Haven; Founder, Henry C. Lee Institute of Forensic Science
—The Honorable Jodi Rell, former Governor of Connecticut
A woman on a crusade for justice—raped by a masked assailant, Donna Palomba’s long struggle was not only to see her assailant arrested, but to defeat authorities bent on discrediting her, to reclaim her identity, to become an advocate for victims of sexual assault, and even to change the laws in her home state