The famous singer-songwriter Don McLean has pleaded not guilty to a misdemeanor charge of domestic violence. Mclean, best known for his 1971 song “American Pie,” made the plea in response to a Jan. 18 incident in which Camden, Maine, police responded to an early morning telephone call from McLean’s wife seeking help.
Patrisha McLean said that her husband has physically and verbally abused her for three decades and has “a violent temper,” according to the Rockland District Court order obtained by ABC News.
“For the first 10 years or so his rage was unfathomably deep and very scary,” she wrote in a statement attached to the protection order, ABC reported. “On Jan. 17, Don terrorized me for 4 hours until the 911 call that I think might have saved my life.”
During the incident, Patrisha wrote that her husband “pressed the palms of his hands against my temples and squeezed as though my head were in a vice.” She says that she has suffered from headaches since the incident.
She requested an order of protection. But the order was later dismissed, and the couple reported through their lawyer they had “agreed to go forward.”
McLean defended himself on Twitter. “This last year and especially now have been hard emotional times for my wife my children and me. What is occurring is the very painful breakdown of an almost 30 year relationship,” he tweeted. “Our hearts are broken and we must carry on. There are no winners or losers but I am not a villain.”
After McLean’s arrest became public, Francis Marion University in South Carolina canceled an April 2 fundraising gala and concert featuring the performer. American singer-songwriter Don McLean. “We support gender equity issues and all the provisions of Title IX,” a university official said in explaining the cancellation.
“The entire town was shocked” by McLean’s arrest, a town of Camden Select Board member told the Associated Press. “They are both really special people,” the local official said. “He’s done wonderful things for the community.”
It is shocking to learn these accusations about a singer many feel we know because his songs have been part of our life’s soundtrack. But here’s the thing – even “really special people” are capable of doing really bad things. The arrest of celebrities reminds us of that. In this case at least, unlike some we’ve cited involving domestic violence charges against NFL players, McLean’s alleged actions have cost him a concert. We’ll see if future gigs are canceled.
Of course, we don’t know all the details, and people are innocent until proven guilty. But Patrisha’s chilling words in her written statement ring true, and they suggest a pattern of abuse. If so, odds are that the Jan. 18 incident won’t be the last.