A group of about 100 people gathered on the University of Michigan campus to demand accountability and transparency in the case of sexual deviant and predator Dr. Robert Anderson ahead of a meeting of the university’s Board of Regents. The demonstration followed the university’s announcement of a finalized policy for responding to sexual abuse allegations. (Thirty years too late.)
Investigators, including those sanctioned by U of M, found that the university missed multiple opportunities to stop Dr. Anderson, who was director of the university health services and team physician for the athletic department over more than three decades. In a story that is getting as tiring as it is enraging, this man was allowed to retire without incident in 2003 and was given the “what a great person” send-off funeral in 2008.
Anderson is accused of giving prolonged hernia checks, unnecessary prostate exams and engaging in masturbation during exams, among other things. But hey, the university apologized and offered counseling to the accusers who include former football players, other university athletes, patients from his medical practice and pilots who saw Anderson for physicals. Sorry we had a creep on staff and blew off those who tried to speak out about him!
The only thing that changes this kind of sick culture, where a doctor can get away with this, accusers are not believed, and the criminal actions never addressed, is a massively huge monetary settlement. The kind that makes the Board of Regents and the university president have to go begging to their big donors/benefactors to refill their coffers. That’s the only way to make them transparent and accountable. Keep a guy like this on staff and it’s gonna cost you. You can address these issues as they happen, or you can pay a lot more later. With interest.
It doesn’t take a U of M business school grad to do the math here.
Thank you to a reader who found this photo of Frank Shelden–the only one I have ever seen where the guy does not have on a hat. It is dated 1972, and the middle initial is incorrect, but this is the Fox Island Shelden. In his early/mid-forties in this shot:
On Tuesday, Oakland County Judge Jeffrey Matis ruled a man who has spent 15 years in prison for a fire that killed five children was deprived a fair trial and overturned Juwan Deering’s murder and arson convictions.
This is a significant. The prosecutor retained a special prosecutor to investigate the investigation and prosecution of Mr. Deering, to avoid any conflict of interest. The prosecutor herself appeared, rather than an underling, and bluntly explained what was reported by the special prosecutor. This included newly discovered evidence concerning the prosecutor’s use of and the credibility of three jailhouse informants who testified against Deering in 2006, and an interview with one of the children who was in the house when the fire started. The interview, conducted during the investigation, was recorded on video shortly after the fire. Only part of the recorded interview was found in the prosecutor’s file; the second half was missing. The second half was missing.
The report further explained that “The jury was materially misled about all three jailhouse informants’ relationships with the (Oakland County Sheriff’s Office) and (Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office), their motives and their credibility.” A little sunshine, a mea culpa and perhaps hope that Karen McDonald is cleaning house. That will be a big, big job. Let’s hope it can continue.
Judge Matis rejected both the prosecutors and defense attorneys’ arguments that Deering should be freed on bond, as well as the prosecutor’s statement that “[g]iven the current lack of evidence, every additional day Mr. Deering spends in prison furthers that injustice [of being denied his constitutional right to a fair trial].” Deering will remain in prison pending the decision by the prosecutor, expected next week, whether or not to retry him.
The judge’s ruling on bond, in the face of both sides arguing in favor of it, does not diminish the significance of a prosecutor acknowledging and accepting responsibility for the misconduct of her predecessors. That is a good sign.
Fast forward from 1992 and the six month sentence a Mecosta County, MI judge imposed on a pedophile county commissioner to 2021 when a Fairfax, VA judge decried the lame plea agreement the county attorney had reached with a pedophile who victimized a young relative. https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/public-safety/judge-zaldivar-sentence-abuse/2021/09/20/85258424-1a40-11ec-8380-5fbadbc43ef8_story.html.
The judge called the plea deal that the office of Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney Steve Descano had reached with Oscar Zaldivar “woefully inadequate” because it capped the 53-year-old’s sentence at about 17 years. The judge explained that under Virginia law he could find no way to scuttle the plea deal.
The young girl’s parents waged an unusual legal battle to try to challenge the plea agreement. Try as he might, the judge could not find a way around a maximum sentence of 17 years, 2 months. The judge said the following at the sentencing hearing: ““I don’t know how people can listen to your pain and disregard it. I’m offended for you.”
The prosecutor who fucked this one up apparently took solace in the fact that the defendant would be over sixty when he gets out of prison. He doesn’t get it. These men NEVER age out of their sex abuse patterns with children. The defendant in the Mecosta County case was 72 by the time he was finally caught. https://catherinebroad.blog/2021/09/20/i-began-by-trying-to-report-it-to-the-michigan-state-police/. And as a reader pointed out, these evil fucks tend to live a long time. But they don’t change their stripes.
It’s not just investigators who need to be specially trained to investigate sex crimes. The prosecutors and judges need to get it, too. Just one part of this chain goes sideways and the result is a miscarriage of justice.
You should be, you freak.
On March 17, 1992, The Detroit Free Press reported that longtime Mecosta County, MI county commissioner Ray Christiansen, age 71, pleaded guilty to molesting children. He was set to stand trial the following month for molesting four young girls. At the time, the charged crimes could have resulted in a sentence of 15 years. A plea agreement provided Christiansen would not be sentenced to more than a year in prison, and remarkably, that he could not be charged with similar crimes should other victims come forward.
A compassionate reader sent me an opinion piece that appeared in the local Mecosta County newpaper, The Pioneer, a little over a month later on April 30, 1992.
The download is difficult to read (photo of a clipping sent to me), so I am going to retype it in full. Some parts are hard to decipher even with a magnifying glass and I note my interpretation with brackets in places. Of course you can’t find this article online; friends of the former commissioner probably saw to that.
OPINION, Pioneer Thursday, April 30, 1994, PAGE 4
There was no one willing to help me prosecute this child molester.
EDITOR’S NOTE: The following two articles were written by the mother and father of a nine-year-old girl who police say was sexually assaulted by Ray Christiansen. The 72-year-old longtime Mecosta County commissioner was sentenced recently to similar charges to one year in jail–six months must be served now and the remaining six months at the court’s discretion. The parents’ names have been suppressed [?] to protect the identity of their daughter. The purpose for publishing the two articles is to show the frailties [?] and frustrations of the two–a male/female perspective.
I was finally here, about to listen to the judge pronounce sentence on our neighbor, the Mecosta County Commissioner Ray Christiansen, for molesting my daughter and several of her friends. I prayed that all of my pushing, pressuring and persuading had been enough.
It began in September 1991, when a mother of one of my daughter’s friends called to say what happened to them, and to have me ask my daughter if Ray had done anything to her. I knew with cold certainty he had before I even asked, before she told me with tears streaming down her face that she thought it was her fault and felt dirty and ashamed because of it.
I began by trying to report it to the state police but they claimed no knowledge of Ray doing anything wrong and wouldn’t listen. Finally I was able to find the right social worker in Big Rapids who could get the state police to believe me.
Then came several phone calls to the Mecosta County prosecuting attorney, and Mecosta County judges to find out what being done, only to discover they had dropped it like a hot potato, because Ray held their purse strings. They knew then something was wrong. After all we don’t send our children to the neighbors to be spanked when they misbehave.
After six weeks of calls to the state attorney general, who misplaced the file, and to Jim Samuels, the Mecosta County prosecuting attorney, who didn’t want to talk about it, they were finally able to come up with a neighbor to spank their naughty child, Larry Burdick, the Isabella County prosecuting attorney. [They handed off the case to a special prosecutor, Burdick, because they wouldn’t go after one of their own.]
However, he had not received the police reports and could not start until he had all the papers. Another series of phone calls produced papers needed, and I was told that my child would have to relive the experience once again for Larry Burdick.
I prayed he was not [erroneous?] as the state troopers had been, reducing my tiny 40 pound daughter to nothing, learned it was much worse. Larry Burdick [ . . . ?] conducted the interview without my being present.
It went against all of my maternal instincts to leave my child alone with a complete stranger who would force her to do something she did not want to do. This all resulted in the original 12 being reduced to six who would be willing to testify and be reduced further still to the four Ray would be charged with.
For months I made phone calls to lawyers who told me to be a “good girl” and sit and wait as politicians who hid behind the law and said they couldn’t intervene on an individual’s behalf and to organizations nationwide that gave me referral numbers, who gave me more referral numbers, which referred me back to the politicians and lawyers.
There was no one willing to help me prosecute this child molester, but several who were willing to help ensure the child molester’s rights were not violated.
The one resource to come through for the children was The Pioneer and its staff, whether because of my pushing or because Ray was a public figure did not matter. But then I had to listen to the judge chastise the newspaper in his opening remarks and trivialize their efforts.
I had sat behind Ray as he spoke to the judge, and watched him cross his fingers behind his back and say he was sorry and had tried to tell us so but we rebuffed him, remembering the only words Ray had ever spoken to me being “It never happened.”
I listened to Ray tell the judge that whoever thought a proper punishment was to disfigure him to make him frightening to all children was barbaric. That person was my nine year old daughter. I listened as he told the judge a more fitting punishment would be to work on the Commission for Aging and give him a small fine.
I listened with silent rage as he said with self-righteous conviction that he had “never been on welfare.” As if to say he was allowed to do as he pleased with any child who was on welfare.
I then listened to the judge give Ray a 6 to 12-month jail sentence, five years on probation and $25,000 in ordered payments. It was not enough! I made a vow that I would not let it end here. I am now doing everything I can to form an organization to fill in a terrible gap. I want to be there to help children and their parents go through the cold, insensitive legal system, so that child molesters and rapists won’t feel, like Ray does, that they don’t hurt anyone.
Crimes of a sexual nature: The laws are for men only
When I discovered that Raymond Christiansen had molested my daughter, I was very angry. The anger turned into a soul destroying fear. A fear that I could not protect my child. I cried a lot that day.
I told my daughter we should call the police about the incident with Ray. I told her it was illegal for any man to fondle young children. She didn’t want to tell about what happened anymore, to anyone. I managed to convince her to report Ray, so we could stop him from fondling other children. She agreed to talk to the State Police with us. When she did, the policemen said there had been 11 reports so far, and they expected more.
I assumed that the police would arrest Ray, that he would go to jail, and that would be the end of it. Boy was I wrong!
Raymond Christiansen knew the law and procedure very well. Well enough to deny all 12 of the different girls claims of his misconduct. Ray would not confess like a man, he would rather drag the victims through court.
I have come to realize the loophole that exists in sexual assault cases, rape cases, and sexual misconduct cases. This loophole is called intimidation. The molesters use this loophole in hopes of the victims dropping their charges against them.
It was when I convinced Ray my daughter would face him in court , we were able to turn the tables and intimidate him. He finally plead guilty. Only in sex crimes is it necessary to sacrifice oneself to do justice. The law should not be this way especially when children are involved. The sacrifice comes in the form of reliving a humiliating, degrading experience of a very personal nature. Not only once, but many times to several different strangers.
As in my daughter’s instance, she had to tell the police, the prosecuting attorney and if Ray had not of plea bargained, she would have had to tell the judge, jury, court reporter, and an entire room full of people.
The laws pertaining to crimes of a sexual nature must have been [legislated] by men for men. For there is a great deal of insensitivity in regards to the feelings of children and women.
Father of a Victim
Maybe if law enforcement in Michigan started playing by the rules–on the streets and in FOIA cases, tax payers wouldn’t have to pay as much for your fuck ups when you do get caught and you could stop complaining about having your unfair protections, exceptions and exemptions examined.
In law enforcement, as in life, those that cheat and lie about the “little things” (hiding FOIA documents for the prosecutor, destroying records, making exceptions for criminals who are public officials) probably cheat on the big things, too. No wonder they want to keep their qualified immunity and keep their police misconduct files secret.
“Charlevoix 10 Year Old Has Quite a Trip.”
With family friends like this . . .
Thank you to a reader for sending the link.
Instead of the deafening silence vacuum that usually follows revelations of the impact of sex crimes, there is continued discussion of the testimony this week by some of the many victims of Larry Nassar before the Senate Judiciary Committee. In the national press, articles are followed by the types of comments and questions I have come to expect, but am still sickened by. Why was the FBI even involved in this case? Where were the parents? Weren’t parents present in the exam room? And wasn’t the great osteopathic doctor using a legitimate pelvic floor manipulation treatment?
The FBI is involved because USA Gymnastics eventually contacted the Indianapolis FBI to relay complaints about Nassar’s sexual abuse in 2015. The abuse happened in multiple states. It involved abuse that occurred while Nassar was the team doctor for not only the national women’s gymnastic team, but also with the United States Olympics women’s gymnastics team. As in national and international crimes. As laughable as it seems in the context of this case, the FBI actually has a Crimes Against Children unit/program. “Why was the FBI even involved” is code for “WTF were these girls, parents and women doing bothering the FBI with such complaints?”
Where were the parents and weren’t some of them in the exam room when Nassar was getting his rocks off in his well-oiled “massage” routine? Nassar landed on “pelvic floor manipulation/massage” as part of his “treatment.” Pretty soon he used it on most of his patients. The problem is:
Nassar groomed his victims as well as the parents. You want the best medical care for a gymnast? You want to stay on the team? Do as we say. That he was “nicer” than the coaches in this cruel sport only worked to his advantage. Nassar would position his body between the parent and the patient. He was practiced and efficient. We are taught early and often to respect and defer to people like doctors and police officers. Deference that can be dangerous and respect that is unearned. This POS had his clients take off their underwear and wear a gown. That you or I would not expect a doctor or physical therapist to have us strip down and stick their fingers inside our bodies for a shoulder or heel injury is beside the point. The team doctor knows all, right? He’s the expert. You and I aren’t going to lose a scholarship or a place in the team line up if we ask questions about procedures. We don’t have someone like John Geddert or Bo Schembechler telling us or our parents to get in line and shut the hell up about pulling down our pants and just get back to practice.
Nassar escalated his sexual abuse well beyond unnecessary pelvic floor manipulation. Full on rape in some cases, including at his “home office.” A male victim came forward as well. And of course Nassar was found to have massive amounts of child pornography on his computer. This goes well beyond some legitimate osteopathic/physical therapy use of pelvic floor massage. Nice try.
If you are one of those “minimizers” who thinks all this talk of sexual abuse by doctors is overblown and that the FBI shouldn’t have even had to bother with this “bullshit,” take a listen to this episode of Real Crime Profile (The FBI’s Handling of the Larry Nassar Case): https://podcasts.google.com/feed/aHR0cHM6Ly9yc3MuYXJ0MTkuY29tL3JlYWwtY3JpbWUtcHJvZmlsZS13b25kZXJ5/episode/Z2lkOi8vYXJ0MTktZXBpc29kZS1sb2NhdG9yL1YwL1lSNHJocE9BbGhYQndoZGFRb0M5UGkxSlRMZW9LdmlWdkZobGU2QXQtZ3M?hl=en&ved=2ahUKEwilv6y37IjzAhUfkWoFHfR2ATYQjrkEegQIAhAF&ep=6. One of the podcast hosts, Jim Clemente, is a former FBI profiler. I think you will find his observations and commentary enlightening.
Yesterday, Senator Chuck Grassley (Iowa) called for a federal prosecutor or special counsel to further investigate the decision by the Department of Justice not to bring any prosecutions related to the FBI’s mishandling of the Larry Nassar investigation. https://www.cnn.com/2021/09/17/politics/grassley-garland-nassar-fbi-prosecutor/index.html. How I wish L. Brooks Patterson were still alive to consider the following testimony:
Wait, I take that back. Of course the man would not have given a second thought to any of this or correlate it to what he pulled in the OCCK case. I wonder if any of his still-living enablers ever do, beyond thinking “thank god this #metoo shit wasn’t around back in the day!” Pour yourself another drink and forget about it. Fuck it, you can’t bring back the dead, right? All you can do is make sure no one can sue over it and keep telling anyone who asks that “the case is unsolveable.” So sad.
The Senate hearing also prompted this reflection about the importance of local journalism: https://www.fox19.com/story/37352591/dr-larry-nassar-case-another-reminder-of-the-importance-of-local-journalism/. Investigative journalists at the Indianapolis Star newspaper exposed Nassar and sexual abuse in the sport of gymnastics. As Jim Clemente observed in the RCP podcast, it was not until the Star began publishing stories on these crimes that the FBI SA in Charge got off his ass and filed a CYA report in the Nassar case. A report constructed 17 months after the fact, without the benefit of an FBI investigator working the file, and which contained statements a victim denied having made in a poorly conducted interview. A report authored by a man allowed by the FBI to retire after not only failing to file a timely report, but who was trying to finagle a job with USA Gymnastics in the interim. Nothing like a second career after getting that FBI pension.
It was the brave journalism of Marney Keenan (“Finding Timmy’s Killer,” The Detroit News, October 26, 2009) and David Ashenfelter (“Decades of Despair” and “Did Top Suspects Get Away With It?,” Detroit Free Press, June 17 and 18, 2012) that got the story out about failures in the OCCK case that became clear after the names Christopher Brian Busch and Gregory Woodard Greene came to light. Names that rose to the dirty surface despite the best efforts of the Oakland County Prosecutor’s office and the Michigan State Police to lock that info down for all time. I’ve told you before that after Marney’s article was published, someone from the MSP called the News and asked why their old friend and crime beat reporter, Mike Martindale, wasn’t given the assignment. Because we knew he would fuck us, that’s why. You wanted us to explain what happened in 2006 and beyond to your whitewashing drinking buddy, the man who gave a people like Garry Gray and Brooks Patterson the benefit of the doubt? I don’t think so.
David Ashenfelter’s two-part series made trouble for him and the Free Press, too. Investigative journalists ask the hard questions and know that some digging has to happen beyond what these agencies deign to release in FOIA responses. If an agency has the taint of corruption, why would anyone expect a legal, honest FOIA response/production? But raising the hard questions in this dirty investigation results in punishment, not answers.
I get it, it’s a fine line for most reporters because they can’t afford to piss off the Jessica Cooper and Paul Waltons of the world. They need those on air comments for all kinds of cases and manipulative and petty people in power tend to have long memories and are better at holding grudges than filing charges. But how about this–just say the prosecutor’s office was asked to comment and did not respond, and when election time rolls around don’t cover the manufactured horse shit they toss to help them get out the vote. It is a two-way street.
Two major investigative journalism works, books, podcasts, an internationally-aired documentary and blogs, all covering the OCCK case and investigation, including issues and names well beyond Busch and Greene. Yet no traction. And no help from the Oakland County prosector or the Michigan AG. Let dead kids lie.
Secrecy makes us more ignorant and the truth matters. “The case is unsolvable.” Right. And a dentist should use pelvic floor manipulation to cure a toothache.
Today victims of Larry Nassar again had to again speak about their abuse at the hands of this former USA Gymnastics and MSU “Dr.” Larry Nassar, this time in front of the U.S. Senate. The testimony was heartbreaking and gut-wrenching and addressed the very real, coast-to-coast, systemic failures of the FBI in this case. These agents should be trained to listen to victims the first time and to do their goddamn jobs. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EdPa8gRvA0o.
“It should not be a survivor’s burden to continually seek justice and demand an end to their nightmares; that’s the job of our law enforcement agencies,” said Senator Diane Feinstein, D-Cal. You could have fooled me. As another senator noted, the failures of the FBI in this case–ignoring victims’ reports for some 18 months, resulting in continued assaults by Nassar–had real, human consequences, as did the subsequent cover ups and lies by the FBI about what survivors told them. By the Federal. Bureau. Of. Investigation.
The Department of Justice declined to appear to explain why none of the agents involved are facing criminal charges. These agencies not only fail to charge, but let their POS employees resign or retire with benefits instead of being terminated. Just like pigs from USA Gymnastics and MSU President (“I can’t make this about me/but I certainly will”) Lou Anna K. Simon. https://www.sbnation.com/2018/1/19/16900674/larry-nassar-abuse-timeline-usa-gymnastics-michigan-state. (In fact, for an insightful timeline/overview of people associated with MSU who should be ashamed of their handling of the Nassar allegations, see this link. Appalling.)
“On no planet is what happened in this case acceptable,” said FBI Director Christopher Wray. https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/gymnasts-nassar-fbi-investigation-hearing/2021/09/14/de4832cc-159f-11ec-9589-31ac3173c2e5_story.html?utm_campaign=ext_rweb&utm_medium=referral&utm_source=extension. Imagine the planet everyone was on when the FBI was getting information about Frank Shelden and the OCCK crimes back in the 1970s, and taking orders from a local hack like L. Brooks Patterson.
Here’s the good news. These brave women have continued to tell this story and seem capable of doing so until such time that the FBI gets it shit together and starts investigating sex crimes like professionals. It could be a while, but it looks like they are up to the task. Much more so than the agents who touched the Nassar case, that’s for damn sure.
In other news, former Speaker of the House and pedophile (you really can never use the word “former” there) Dennis Hastert has reached a tentative settlement with his accuser in the hush money payment case. https://chicago.suntimes.com/crime/2021/9/15/22676351/dennis-hastert-settles-accuser-lawsuit-over-hush-money-payments. Imagine what a slow news day it could have been if men would stop sexually abusing and raping minors.