The Gaithersburg man held in Aruba as part of a high-profile missing-persons case has been accused by two Montgomery County women of domestic abuse or threats, according to requests for restraining orders filed in Rockville courthouses.
In one case, a former girlfriend alleged that the man, Gary Giordano, stalked her, secretly videotaped them having sex and then posted pornographic images of her on the Internet, according to files in Montgomery County District Court. The woman sought and was granted a restraining order, court records show. No criminal charges were filed.
“She was scared to death of the man,” said the woman’s attorney, Gail Landau. “She thought he was capable of great anger and violence.”
Giordano, 50, is being held in Aruba as authorities investigate the disappearance of 35-year-old Robyn Gardner, a Frederick County woman he was vacationing with on the island. Giordano reported that Gardner failed to return when the two went snorkeling, and a judge has ordered him held for questioning.
Giordano has not been charged with a crime in Aruba. Aruban authorities have identified him only by his initials. But his lawyer there, Michael Lopez, identified the detained man as Giordano, according to the Associated Press.
Lopez said that Giordano “emphatically denies being involved in any malicious act concerning his friend and consequently does not consider himself a suspect,” the Associated Press reported. Lopez did not return calls for comment.
Aruban Solicitor General Taco Stein said that by early next week, authorities in Aruba will have to decide whether to start the process of bringing charges in the case.
“At this point in time, there’s discrepancies in his story, and we need to address them with him,” Stein said.
Giordano was not criminally charged in the Montgomery County matters, according to court records, and the allegations made by the two women were made in civil and family-law cases. In each case, Giordano filed allegations of his own, asserting that a former girlfriend harassed him by distributing slanderous letters and that his then-wife hit him in the upper back with a 14-inch steel cooking spoon.
The most recent allegation of abuse against Giordano was filed Feb. 4 last year. The woman had met Giordano on the Internet about six months earlier, said Landau, the attorney.
Then the woman found out that Giordano had secretly filmed the two having sex and posted intimate images of her on the Internet, Landau said in court filings in connection with the woman’s restraining order. The woman confronted Giordano, who responded by placing indecent photos of her inside the mailboxes of about five of her neighbors, Landau said.
The woman, who requested through her attorney that she not be named, swore to a similar account in court papers. She said Giordano once told her that “the world would be better off without” her and that “he could help,” according to filings.
She also began speaking to Montgomery law enforcement, who searched Giordano’s house in May last year, according to officials. But the case was ultimately halted.
“We investigated Ms. Landau’s client’s matter and met with her multiple times,” said Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy, the county’s top prosecutor. “She ultimately did not wish to pursue it, and we honored her wishes.”
Landau said her client was afraid to pursue the case.
Steven Kupferberg, a Rockville lawyer who has represented Giordano in recent matters in Maryland, said that the allegations of secret sex videos were likely exaggerated.
“Everything concluded about a year ago,” Kupferberg said, adding that it was resolved in Giordano’s favor. “I suspect that there wasn’t anything to the allegations in terms of illegality.”
In the same case, Giordano alleged the woman had sent slanderous e-mails and letters to others about him. His application for a restraining order was denied by a judge on Feb. 4, 2010, according to court records.
The judge granted the woman’s request, and Giordano agreed to stay away from her and not contact her for six months, according to court records.
Ten years ago, Giordano’s wife at the time accused him of twice throwing their son on the ground, destroying a computer and throwing telephones. “He can’t control his anger,” she wrote.
Giordano accused her of hitting him with the kitchen spoon and slapping him. He and his wife ultimately agreed to drop their requests for protective orders, according to court papers. They eventually divorced.
Another woman who dated Giordano, Jeanette Farago, said in an interview with The Washington Post that Giordano stalked and harassed her while they both lived in Montgomery County. At one point, Farago said, Giordano offered to take her on a two-week cruise and bought her a ticket, but she refused to go. Giordano also showed up outside her window wearing a deer mask and illuminated his face with a cigarette lighter, she said. “He was just really creepy and scary,” Farago said. “He scared the bejesus out of me.”