Mark Marohn says his two daughters became targets of threats and insults after he was accused of animal abuse.
In an exclusive interview with The Times, the Langley veterinarian described the fallout from his Dec 10, 2008 arrest for allegedly using an emaciated former racehorse to tow a car from a ditch.
Marohn agreed to be interviewed with the explicit condition that he would not discuss the court proceedings against him, which are still underway.
He says that even though his trial has yet to reach a verdict, he has been convicted many times over in the court of public opinion.
And so have his daughters, who are now 19 and 21.
“I don’t really care about me, really,” Marohn says.
“I’ve been through so much crap in my life, I can take this. It’s my kids. It’s changed their life, too.”
After the news broke, people began sending threatening messages to both daughters.
“My kids were getting texts saying they would be killed.”
His youngest daughter was ostracized by the Langley pony club she belonged to.
“She lost all her friends,” Marohn says. “She has not been on a horse since.”
And she stopped going to watch equestrian events after she was confronted during one show.
“They said, oh, your dad is a vet who tortures animals,” Marohn says.
“Kids can be cruel.”
His oldest daughter ended up dropping out of college and moving east.
She gave up a promising athletic career, but has since managed to re-enter her chosen sport and win a scholarship.
Marohn says he doesn’t care if people have sympathy for him or not, but his daughters should be off-limits.
“I don’t think it’s fair to dump it on them.”
Marohn says the “zealots” who want his daughters punished are going after the wrong person.
“Leave my kids out and deal with me directly.”
The publicity about the case has also cost Marohn relationships.
“All my friends were either horse people or they were colleagues.”
But a few friends have refused to give up on him, he adds.
“[And] I’m closer now than I’ve ever been to my immediate family.”
He says he wants to clear his name for himself, but also for his daughters.
“I’m determined to see this thing through,” he says. “I want my life back. And my career.”
Marohn says he was offered a teaching job before his trial began.
But when the search committee at the educational institution ran a Google search of his name, the result was a torrent of negative news stories about him.
He pointed out to his prospective employer that he has denied the claims and his trial had not even begun, but they withdrew the offer anyway.
“They didn’t want the controversy.”
It was, he says, “trial by Google.”
Even after stories are taken offline by news organizations, he says the giant search engine will continue to post links that have just enough negative details in the online “stub” to blacken a person’s name.
“You’ll never get your name back from Google,” he says.
He admits to getting depressed at times, but adds he is feeling more optimistic than he has in a long while.
This Christmas was the first Marohn has celebrated since the 2008 incident.
He spent it quietly at home with his youngest daughter.
“I still get noticed. I don’t go out in public much.”
Marohn and his former wife Carol Schoyen-Marohn are each charged with causing an animal to be in distress and failing to provide “necessaries” for an animal.
Her trial was postponed for health reasons until October.
Marohn’s trial is now set to resume on Feb. 13, when the judge will hear arguments over the prosecutor’s plan to call two veterinarians to testify as expert witnesses.