Saying her "life has been hell" since being declared a legal adult a month ago, Olympic gold medal gymnast Dominique Moceanu returned to court Monday to get a protective order against her father, whom she accuses of stalking her and hiring a man to kill two of her friends.
" He's known every step and move I've made, everywhere I've been," Moceanu, 17, said Monday evening from an undisclosed location. The protective order, which is temporary until a hearing on a permanent order is heard Dec. 9, prohibits Dumitru
Moceanu, 44, from going to his daughter's school, apartment or training facility or in any way trying to contact her.
Moceanu said two Houston police officers came to her Houston apartment Nov. 13 and told her that her father was negotiating to pay a hit man $10,000 to kill two of her friends. The friends, Brian Huggins, 32, and coach Luminita Miscenco, 26, helped Dominique run away from her parents on Oct. 17 and helped her hide after she filed her lawsuit Oct. 19 to be declared a legal adult.
HPD spokesman Robert Hurst confirmed Monday that there was an investigation of alleged threats made by one of the "parties" in Moceanu's adult-status lawsuit, but said there is not enough evidence to pursue criminal charges. He said the case is closed and declined to give more details.
An attorney for Huggins said he will go to court today to keep both Dumitru and wife Camelia Moceanu from contacting his client. Miscenco was in Las Vegas and not available for comment. Dumitru Moceanu, who learned about the protective order from a reporter because he had not been served with court papers, said he had no knowledge of a murder-for-hire scheme or an HPD investigation. He denied he was part of a plot to kill anyone.
His attorney, Katherine Scardino, said earlier in the day that she has had conversations with Dumitru Moceanu about the investigation. She said the allegations were baseless. The lawyer theorized police felt the need to warn the young gymnast so the department would not be liable should anything come of the threats.
Dominique Moceanu said that after all the recent turmoil between her and her father, she has no doubt he intended to carry out his threats.
"It shows what he's capable of," she said. "For the past 17 years I've suffered mental and physical abuse and stress, and I haven't been able to speak about it till now."
After running away from home, Dominique has repeatedly said her parents squandered her money and her childhood. She said a trust fund established for her since she turned professional at age 10 is all but gone and that her parents -- immigrants who competed for the Romanian national gymnastics team -- constantly pressured her to train and compete.
The parents deny the charges, saying all of Dominique's money was used to build a 70,000-square-foot gym at 6120 Louetta that she wanted. Scardino has said her clients told her the gym cost about $2 million.
Dominique said the two HPD detectives told her, "Dumitru knows everything you've done, and basically hired a hit man to kill two of my friends."
She said the detectives told her that her father had discussed the possible death threat with a private investigator whom the father had hired to watch his daughter. According to Dominique and her attorney Ellen Yarrell, the private investigator told police about the plot, and HPD enlisted him in an undercover investigation.
The private detective secretly recorded a conversation with the father on the matter, Yarrell said. She said she will subpoena the tape recording that she believes exists. The attorney said the investigation ended before any money changed hands after the father found out he was under surveillance.
Scardino said it was her understanding "someone taped a conversation that turned out to be nothing."
She declined to speculate on what Dumitru Moceanu might have said on the recording, and blamed Dominique for the family friction.
"Her whole entire actions in this episode have been incredible," Scardino said. "She has turned her back on her parents, who've done nothing but devote their lives to her."
Dominique, who was declared a legal adult in court on Oct. 28, said she has been in hiding since police came to her apartment to warn her.
She said before that incident, her father would wait outside Northland Christian School and follow her home to try to see where she lived.
"My dad was changing cars on and off. He was trying to sneak up on me," she said.
She said the only face-to-face encounter she has had with her father was when he pulled up next to her car after school and started yelling at her about breaking up the family.
Dumitru Moceanu denied following Dominique after school or hiring any private investigators to follow her.
Dominique said her father has not cooperated in providing financial documents so she can figure out where her money has gone. She said she may take further court action to get an accounting of her money. Dumitru Moceanu and his lawyer said they have not been asked for any documents.
The young gymnast said she will work to persuade the Legislature to pass laws to ensure that all trust funds set up for children are controlled by a court. In Texas, trust funds for minors can either be controlled by a court or trustee. Often, and in the case of Dominique, the parents are the trustee of their children's funds.
She said she is not currently training and has to put these events behind her before she can think about her gymnastic goals. Dominique was part of the American gold medal team at the 1996 Olympics and won the all-around competition at the Goodwill Games in August.
"Deep down, there is a love (for her father), but I can't forgive him. I've gone through so much," Dominique said.