A travesty of justice- the story of Galina Shull: Part 4- Fighting the Restraining Order

On March 7, 2011, Mark Shull went back to court to try and overturn the restraining order against him. He wanted his guns back; he had had to turn them is when the order was issued.

The judge this time was a woman; Judge Kathryn Villa-Smith, whose background was in domestic relations law. Galina was represented by Terry Wright, who offered her services pro bono to victims of domestic violence. Two law students that she supervised, Andrew Weiner and Danielle Shaw, conducted most of the case.

The first witness was Olga Kostenko. She told the court that she had run into Mark Shull (whom she did not know) at the Macy’s at Clackamas Towne Center, while Galina was trying on clothes. Over constant objections from Shull’s lawyer Ken Kissir, she explained how Mark Shull told her how disappointed he was in his Russian wife, but that he would just send her back to Russia in a few weeks, how he made remarks about every woman that passed by and how Galina, when she emerged from the dressing rooms, seemed frightened and lonely.

Galina took the stand next. She described how Mark Shull drank every day, up to an entire bottle of wine, and how he behaved aggressively towards her and her son Andrey- screaming and ordering them around. He also forbade them from speaking in Russian in front of him.

Galina’s legal team then introduced some exhibits- notes that Mark Shull had written and given to Galina. One was a note stating that he was the boss, and Galina said that he insisted that both she and Andrey repeat that note often. Another was a note stating that Galina and Andrey contributed 0% of the support of the household and he contributed 100%, and she said Shull also made them memorize that note and used it as psychological pressure against her.

The discussion then turned to Shull’s relationship with her son. She said that Shull hated Andrey and pressured him constantly, telling him that he needed to go back to Russia. She said that when Andrey got hurt playing soccer, Shull refused to take him to the hospital, stating he had no insurance. Andrey spent days crawling to the bathroom because he could not walk, but Shhull still refused to let him see a doctor. Only after 10 days, when Andrey’s leg became very swollen, did Shull relent and let Andrey receive medical treatment. After the doctor’s visit, Galina stated that Shull screamed at them that the bill had been $300 and they needed to work for their keep. Galina reported that Shull’s treatment of her son made him withdraw into a corner and weep, stating he had done nothing wrong.

The next topic was an incident on December 3, 2010, mentioned in the restraining order, where Galina said that Shull shoved her. Galina said that the assault took place after she went to Shull and asked why he had removed the lock from Andrey’s bedroom door. She stated he was a growing boy and needed his privacy. Shull shouted that he owned the house and could go anywhere anytime he wanted, swore at her, then seized her by the shoulder, dragged her across their bedroom and threw her out their bedroom door, nearly causing her to tumble down the stairs. Andrey came running when he heard her scream, and they fled into the winter night with pouring rain. Shull jumped into his truck and went after them. When he caught up to them, he told them that they had to get into the truck and come home before the neighbors saw them and concluded he was a bad husband. Galina cried, sobbing that she was afraid of him, but she saw little choice other than to return.

They then discussed how Shull had refused to help Galina get a driver’s license or Social Security card so she could work, stating that he first wanted to see if she would be a good wife, then he might think about it. He told her that she must make a plan detailing how she would make his life happier every day, and reiterated that he wanted Andrey sent back to Russia.

I am not your toy, or doll or a slave and I refuse to be treated the way that I am because I am a human being.

Galina Shull

The next topic was the events of December 16, the night when Galina fled for the last time. She said the day started with a fight. Her visa was about to expire, but Shull had failed to submit some of the needed paperwork, and she felt it was deliberate. Galina told Shull to make up his mind as to whether he wanted a family, stating “I am not your toy, or doll or a slave and I refuse to be treated the way that I am because I am a human being.” He responded with his demand that she make a plan of how to keep him happy; Galina replied that she was “sick and tired of this” and went outside. She walked in the woods around the house for a couple of hours, then returned and began fixing supper.

The account that followed matched the account given in detail in Part 1 of this series, with some additional information. Shull drank a bottle of wine, started on a second, then berated Galina about her previous intimate partners. When she called Andrey down to supper, Shull asked what he had for lunch and he replied “Pizza.” Shull replied that that was great, because he had nothing due to his wife. Galina’s testimony continued as described earlier, with her describing Shull throwing the ketchup bottle, breaking Andrey’s plate with his own, displaying a gun, and throwing a teapot filled with boiling water at them as they ran.

In July of 2011, Mark Shull sent testimony to a Senate hearing on the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA.) In it, he claimed that Galina “abandoned” the marriage and that he was a victim of “marriage fraud, false allegations and a tarnished reputation.” His testimony never mentioned the violent acts he had committed against her. Instead, he kept claiming that he “loved” her, and how upset he was that he could not force her to “honor their marriage.”

Shull lied about the contents of the police report, claiming that Galina “was concerned she couldn’t get her passport…so she could stay in the United States.” In reality, the report only mentioned that she wanted to find her passport before leaving the house.

Shull claimed that Galina was “fraudulently taking resources away from US citizens.” He also claimed he had no idea where they were, despite the case against him for violating the restraining order and the documented emails and phone calls that he badgered Galina with.

Shull complained that no one had heard his side of the story, and called for “communication with the American spouse.”

Shull remained true to form. Unable to demonstrate introspection, unable to see his own faults, he would destroy VAWA itself and endanger women fleeing abuses to protect his own interests.

Part 5 details what happened to Galina after the trial, and how Shull’s case illustrates the systematic abuses inherent in the mail-order bride industry.


Audio file of case 1101-60976 provided by Multnomah County Circuit Court Records Department, March 7, 2011

Testimony of Mark K. Shull in “The Violence Against Women Act- Building on 17 years of accomplishments.” Hearing before the Committee on the Judiciary, United States Senate, July 13, 2011, pages 209-210