The husband of Cindy Sheehan has filed for divorce, citing “irreconcilable differences” with his anti-war wife.
Patrick Sheehan, 52, filed for divorce Friday in Solano County District Court in California. He had been separated for two months from his 48-year-old wife, who has camped out near President Bush’s ranch at Crawford, Texas, since Aug. 6 to protest the death of their oldest son in the Iraq war.
Mr. Sheehan has been silent about the separation and his wife’s anti-war activism. His lawyer, Glen Andrew DeRonde of Fairfield, Calif., yesterday declined to comment on the divorce filing.
The couple, who were high school sweethearts and wed on April 30, 1977, had four children. Their oldest son, Army Spc. Casey Sheehan, 24, of Vacaville, Calif., was killed in April 2004 while serving in Iraq. He died in a Baghdad ambush less than a month after he arrived in Iraq as a member of the 82nd Field Artillery Regiment.
The Sheehans separated in June. Mrs. Sheehan acknowledged the split publicly in interviews, saying the breakup resulted from differences in how the two handled the grief over their son’s death.
She told Time magazine that Mr. Sheehan couldn’t stand having Casey’s belongings at home and put them in storage. “We grieved in totally different ways. He wanted to grieve by distracting himself. I wanted to immerse myself,” she said.
In court papers, Mr. Sheehan seeks dissolution of the marriage because of “irreconcilable differences.” Child support is not an issue in the case, as there are no minor children. Along with a home in Vacaville, Mr. Sheehan listed other “community assets” as “any and all benefits payable as a result of son’s death.”
Protesting in Texas, Mrs. Sheehan has demanded a meeting with Mr. Bush, who she says “killed” her son. She has demanded an immediate U.S. withdrawal from Iraq and denounced the president for calling the war a “noble cause.”
While Mrs. Sheehan has gained worldwide press attention, she says her husband sought refuge in tinkering with two 1969 Volkswagens. Mrs. Sheehan has told reporters that her husband and her three surviving children all supported her position, but suggested her husband’s views on the war and Mr. Bush were not as extreme.
Members of her husband’s family have criticized her. Last week, Casey’s aunt and godmother, Cherie Quararolo of Kelseyville, Calif., and others in the family sent e-mail to a California radio station that challenged Mrs. Sheehan’s motives.
“We do not agree with the political motivations and publicity tactics of Cindy Sheehan. She appears to be promoting her own personal agenda at the expense of her son’s good name and reputation,” the family members said. “The rest of the Sheehan Family supports the troops, our country, and our president, silently with prayer and respect.”
People who call the phone number listed for Patrick Sheehan in Vacaville reach a recording of a male voice: “Please be advised Cindy is not available at this number.”