A Jefferson County mother is facing assault charges in a case where she allegedly struck a man she says was supplying her son with heroin. Sherrie Gavan says she felt threatened during a conversation with the man.
Gavan’s son Clayton is a teenager who got hooked on the drug while still attending high school. He tells the story so many do about trying to get clean.
“The first couple of times all you think about is it’s the greatest thing in the world,” he said in an interview. “There’s nothing better. And everybody thinks, ‘it’s not gonna happen to me. I can stop when I want.’ It starts with the good feeling, but then it gets to the point you’re sick when you’re not doing it. You’re throwing up constantly.”
His family got involved and tried to help him stop. He was sent to live with a relative for a while, and when he was at home he was kept under close watch by his parents. The family says a twenty year old man who lives nearby was providing him with heroin. They say he continually kept trying to bring Clayton back to the drug, in some cases, right under his parents nose.
“They came to my house,” Sherrie Gavan says. “They came to my work looking for him. Trying to get him to buy again when he was clean.”
Clayton says it made the already mountainous task of getting clean all the more difficult.
“With somebody that got you started on it and just won’t leave you alone. I mean it’s always there. I mean your brain just instantly goes back to how it was when you were using. Just thinking oh I can do it one more time. What’s it gonna hurt? Let’s just do it one more time. And he’s in there talking you into it. “
Sherrie Gavan claims the man aided Clayton in relapsing several times. She finally says she had enough in December and went to try and talk to him.
“I just wanted him to leave my son alone, and stay away from where I work and stay away from where we live,” she said.
In her statement to police she says during the conversation the man reached for something in his car.
“I felt extremely threatened,” the four foot eleven Gavan told us. “As you can tell I’m not a young person and I’m not a tall person so I’m not a strong person. “
In the statement she says she hit the man with a baseball bat, telling him to get away. When he approached her again, she says she hit him a second time.
After that she left, and nine hours later, she says sheriff’s deputies arrived to question her. Deputies confirm they filed a report, but no arrest was made.
About a month later, prosecutors filed a bill of information, charging Gavan with third degree assault for striking the alleged drug dealer. She says she nearly laughed at first, then realized how serious this is.
“It is the state prosecuting me for trying to protect my son. And I’m just at this point I don’t know what to do. I could lose my job. I could lose everything I own because I was trying to protect my son.”
Asked if she has any regrets, she said through tears, “No. No. My children are my life, and they’re wanting to take his life away and I can’t let that happen. And other kids’ lives. I’ve watched kids that I work with. I see kids that he knows, and it’s killing them. And nothing is being done.”
Asked why they chose to file charges, Jefferson Count y Prosecutor’s spokesman Mike Ravetta offered little detail.
“Our reasons for charging a case are not public information,” he said by phone.
He went on to say the circumstances surrounding Gavan’s case may be part of a defense, but he wouldn’t comment on that. In the end, he said, someone saw enough evidence to file charges and that’s what they did.
Gavan is due in court on March 12.