Profiles in Cowardice, Continued: Quotes from FOIA documents provided by MSP concerning Wayne County’s investigation into the “polygrapher lead.”Posted: February 25, 2013
Larry Wasser’s statements in Las Vegas have serious repercussions, as detailed in the narrative report from 2007. I quote extensively from this part of the report because what Larry Wasser says and does on August 9, 2007 is such a contrast to his position after he retains attorney James Feinberg and decides not only to “not cooperate,” but to fight all the way to the Michigan Court of Appeals in an expedited appeal. Even after losing, he continued to brag in the polygraph community (whatever TF that is) about how he “beat” our family. Sorry, Larry, but you were battling Wayne County, not my family, and they beat you. You were a snake when it came to that agreement you reached minutes before having to testify in court under oath, but you beat no one. It’s hard to see, after reading the FOIA documents, what he, his attorney James Feinberg or attorney Laurence Burgess (on behalf of his wife), have to brag or feel good about.
8-8-07: I met with Rob Moran today at the [Wayne County] Prosecutors Office and we presented our information about this possible lead to Judge Michael Talbot at the [Wayne County] Circuit Court. [If you are asking yourself why Wayne County is doing all of this instead of Oakland County, you are getting tracking very well. For Illinois readers, this would be like Cook County pulling the weight on an investigation involving the abduction and murder of four kids from various towns in Du Page County when one child’s body was found dumped in Cook County.] We discussed the information and Judge Talbot approved an Investigative Subpoena for [Larry Wasser] and his files. I obtained the signed Subpoena for [Wasser], which was an “order to appear” at the Frank Murphy Hall of Justice (Circuit Court) at 2:00 pm on 8-16-07 in front of Judge Michael Talbot.
8-9-07: After going to [Wasser’s] workplace [Wasser] Consulting Services, Inc.) and his home in [ ], I made phone contact with [Wasser], who agreed to come to Livonia Police Department to talk. When [Wasser] arrived, I explained to him the information I had obtained from a witness and showed him a copy of the Subpoena I had from Judge Talbot at the 3rd circuit court. [Wasser] was visibly shaken by this, leaning forward and stating that I did not know how serious this is and he began ranting about case law that prohibits him from releasing this type of information, stating that it is privileged. I explained to [Wasser] that even though I have a subpoena for him to appear and produce his records, if he [Wasser] just simply wanted to cooperate in this case and supply the information, then it would not be necessary to go forward with this investigative subpoena. I reminded [Wasser] how serious and heinous the crimes were involving these children and that the families of these victims have been waiting for 30 years for resolution in this case. [Wasser] stated that I didn’t understand, even if he wanted to help me in this investigation and supply me with the information, he could not, because he is bound by law, under the polygrapher, client privilege. I asked [Wasser] I asked [Wasser] if it was true that the subject in question and his attorney are both now deceased, to which [Wasser]stated, “I guess you know everything.” [Wasser] asked to be excused for a few minutes so he could call his attorney? I took [Wasser] out to the lobby area of the police station so he could talk to his attorney. After a few minutes [Wasser] came back in to the Detective Bureau to talk. I asked [Wasser] if a Judge ordered him to release the information he has, and relieved him of his responsibility under this privilege, or if his attorney told him it was okay, does he want to cooperate in this investigation and would he supply the investigators the information? [Wasser] said he would “absolutely cooperate, 100 percent.” [Yeah, right, Larry. That’s why this bullshit had to go all the way to the Michigan Court of Appeals before you were told to turn over the name of your client and you still were a weasel.] After a lengthy conversation & visit with [Wasser] he then told me, as he was leaving, that he was going to give me a couple of clues. He told me that the person we were talking about was polygraphed by the Michigan State Police, about the Oakland County Child Killings, at the height of the investigation in the 70’s, [Wasser] said that as far as he knew this subject did not have an attorney at the time he was polygraphed by MSP. I asked [Wasser] if he had records the records of this, to which he stated that he does not have the files from the 70’s. [Wasser] also told me that the State Police Examiner that conducted the polygraph, [Ralph Cabot], was not the normal examiner at that time that was doing most of the polygraphs for the Task Force and Wasser stated that this particular examiner had cleared another suspect in a different case after that, that later failed their private polygraphs with him, [Wasser], involving the same type of crime. [Wasser] explained that when this subject’s [Busch’s] attorney brought him in for a private polygraph, it ws about a completely separate crime that the subject had been involved in, after [rest of sentence, two lines, redacted]. [Wasser] stated further that this person made the statements (confessed) about the OCCK case, during the pre-polygraph questioning of this polygraph. I asked [Wasser] if the subject and his attorney are in fact deceased [as Wasser had told Patrick Coffey in Vegas in July 2006], to which he stated that he could not tell me that without consulting his attorney first, nor could he give me their names. I asked [Wasser] if I ran a few names by him would he tell me if it were the right subject. [Wasser] then said that he would have to think a little bit about the name, but that he was sure he could come up with it and that it wouldn’t take too much for him to get it for me, as if indicating that maybe he does have records of this. [Wasser] asked me several times where I got this information, adding that he believed he knew anyways. I told [Wasser] that I was not at liberty to give him that information. [Wasser] asked me questions about confidentiality, if he were to supply me with the information and asked about this getting to the media. I explained that we could keep it confidential and even discussed some type of immunity. [Wasser] at one point expressed concerns he has about the suspect’s family possibly filing a lawsuit against him for releasing the subject’s name. I gave [Wasser] A.P.A. Rob Moran’s name and phone number for his attorney to contact. At no time during this interview did [Wasser] indicate that the information about him taking a pre-polygraph confession from a suspect in the OCCK case 30 years ago , never happened. Actually, [Wasser’s] reaction to what I had learned and the seriousness of how he was treating this, would indicate that this did in fact occur. The interview was terminated. (FOIA documents 01191-92.)
Keep in mind that Wasser will early and often claim to be unable to remember the name of this client, yet he expresses direct concern about the suspect’s family filing a lawsuit against him for releasing the subject’s name. Who could afford to mess with such a lawsuit–after 35 years–and who has attorneys on retainer for any number of reasons? People who have more money than God with some alleged reputation to uphold that goes along with the cash. And Chris Busch’s family fell into that category—or close enough. I told the detective working on this lead back in 2007–before any of us knew this guy was the son of a bigwig at GM back when that meant a hell of a lot in the Motor City and its suburbs–that there is no way Wasser doesn’t remember this guy’s name or the entire pre-polygraph interview. I remember telling the detective that Wasser probably remembers to this day what the guy was wearing and what his breath smelled like. He was sitting next to someone completely evil. And once I learned that this guy was in fact the son of the GM’s CFO for European and North America Divisions, and saw his very distinctive mug shot, I knew for sure that not only did Wasser remember this animal’s name, as well as who his father was, but that every cop in the Birmingham/Bloomfied area knew who this freak was, even if people were too afraid to press charges for the criminal sexual conduct incidents that fell short of abduction and murder. I’m not saying these PDs knew he might have had any involvement in the OCCK cases. I am saying this freak got plenty of free passes back in the day, including that botched polygraph by Ralph Cabot at the MSP, and he felt invincible.
And, unsurprisingly, Wasser’s back-and-forth about wanting to help and be cooperative turns out to be total bullshit. I think it’s safe to say that the position he was in after being retained by Jane Burgess to polygraph Chris Busch was one that none of us would have wanted to be in back in 1977-78. But Wasser and Jane Burgess decided to do things one way and would have to live with it for the rest of their lives. I contend that Larry Wasser based the rest of his career and his involvement at high levels in polygraph associations subconsciously or consciously defending what he did that day. It became part of who he was. He has been on governor-appointed committees influencing the drafting of legislation governing polygraphers. Think about that. There is no way he is going to let some piece-of-shit victims’ family members or independent polygraph examiner undermine the cred he thinks he built over 35 years of defending what he did. I would really like to meet this guy, look him in the eye, and ask him why he still maintains Patrick Coffey was lying about their discussion in July 2006.
“Now therefore, and be it known henceforth, it shall be the primary goal of the National Polygraph Association to foster and perpetuate an accurate, reliable, and scientific means for the protection of the truthful and innocent individual.”—Preamble to the NPA ConstitutionPosted: February 23, 2013
The following is quoted from documents provided by the MSP in response to my Dad’s FOIA lawsuit. The almost 4,000 pages were “Bates stamped” upon receipt to identify and automatically consecutively number the documents as received from the MSP. Page references refer to the Bates numbering. Names and other sections are redacted, but it you read my earlier posts, you know I can fill in many of the blanks quite easily. Specifically, this is an incredibly detailed narrative report prepared by the Livonia PD detective I called in July 2007. As you recall, there was no way I was going to call this information in to any of the other agencies that had already made it plain they were playing a shell game.
A couple of things to note– (1) This detective returns my phone call on July 31, 2007. As I have stated previously, less than five months later we would learn July 31 was the birth date of Christopher Busch. Kind of like the Universe was sending a little “Happy Birthday” message to someone in one of the front row seats in Hell. (2) The narrative report I am quoting from contains contemporaneous notes—this is what was recorded when it happened, as it happened. (3) After I finish quoting from the log entries for this aspect of the investigation (it will take a while), you will see how efficiently and directly the Livonia PD and Wayne County handled this lead. When the MSP and the FBI had to be consulted to continue the investigation into this lead, things slowed to a near standstill. The foot-dragging was inexplicable and excruciating. But here’s a view into a part of the investigation that proceeded at a very respectable clip.
7-31-2007: I returned a phone message today from Cathy Broad (King), Timothy King’s older sister who is an attorney living in the Chicago area. Cathy told me that she received some information from a friend of hers that she wanted to relay to me that may be a good lead in her brother’s case. She told me that she has been in contact with her brother Chris, who resides in the Detroit area, about this information and advised her to call Sgt. Williams at the Livonia police Department. I have had the opportunity to meet Chris King a couple times during the past couple of years, while investigating the Ted Lamborgine lead, in the Oakland County Child Killing (OCCK) case.
Cathy began by telling me that a close friend of hers, that she grew up with named [Patrick Coffey] is a private Polygraph Examiner in the State of California and attended a Polygraph Examiners Convention in Las Vegas approximately a year ago. While at this convention, [Coffey] struck up a conversation with another examiner attending the conference, after noticing the other examiner was from Southfield, Michigan. This other examiner [Coffey] spoke with is named [Laurence Wasser] who] runs a private polygraph business in Southfield, Michigan and has been a licensed examiner in Michigan since 1975. During this conversation, [Coffey] told [Wasser] that he became an examiner because of a close friend & neighbor of his while growing up in Birmingham, MI., that was abducted and killed in 1977 named Timothy King. Cathy King stated that [Coffey] told her that [Wasser] was visibly stunned & shaken when [Coffey] talked about his close friend being Timothy King. According to [ ], body language and overall reaction and mood change indicated to [Coffey] that he had “struck a nerve” with [Wasser] when saying the name Timothy King. Cathy told me that [Coffey] stated to her that [Wasser] then reminded [Coffey] of their obligation to the Polygraph Examiner/Client confidentiality privilege, telling [Coffey] that he polygraphed a guy 30 years ago to being involved in the Oakland County Child Killings. [Wasser] told [Coffey] that the suspect was brought into his office by the suspect’s attorney for a polygraph unrelated to the child killings, at which time the suspect confessed to killing Timothy King. Cathy related to me that [Coffey] told her [Wasser] stated that the suspect is now deceased and so is his attorney. Cathy also relayed to me that [Wasser] is supposed to be approximately 60 years old.
7-31-2007: I performed a computer check through Lexis-Nexis in an attempt to locate [Larry Wasser]. This check showed a [ ] with an active Polygraph Examiners license since 1975, located at [ ]. This license type showed him to be a private polygraph examiner. I performed a check on [ ] though the LEIN and Secretary of State, which showed [ ] to be born [ ] and to reside at [ ]. This check also revealed [rest of sentence redacted].
7-31-2007 I called Rob Moran (Chief of the Homicide Unit at the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office) about this information. Moran stated that he wanted to have a couple of days to research the law on the attorney/client & polygraph examiner/ client privilege in Michigan.
8-8-2007: I talked to Moran today who stated that he believed we could obtain the information from [Wasser] we needed for an investigation, through an investigative subpoena served on [Wasser] that would compel him to appear in Circuit Court and supply us with the information about this suspect and the possible confession, and also to provide any files/records he has relating to this polygraph interview.
(FOIA document pages 01190-91.)
As a preface to tomorrow’s post, let me just say that the MSP and Jessica Cooper’s office (Oakland County Prosector–OCP) will not take any of this lying down. They don’t take well to any questioning of their authority. Retaliation and punitive measures earn more far more effort from them than advancing the investigation.
Furthermore, the state police will apply any retaliatory and punitive pressure they can to anyone with any remote connection to all of this pot-stirrring. And I can assure you that while Jessica Cooper would not take or return my phone call or the numerous phone calls from my Dad about this case, she took numerous phone calls from Larry Wasser, his attorney James Feinberg, and Lawrence Burgess, the husband and law partner of now deceased Jane Burgess, who represented Chris Busch back in the day, about the situation they find themselves in post-July 2006.
Jessica Cooper has known Larry Burgess for 40-some years. Jane Burgess was a criminal defense attorney back in the day. Cooper handled criminal appeals for a brief time before she was elected to, and spent most of her career, as a judge. Cooper has insulted my intelligence on more than one occasion in front of my Dad. I have never met this woman. Nor do I want to. My Dad told me “Wow, Jessica Cooper does not like you.” WTF?? Like I said–never met the woman, never spoke to her. So someone I have no respect for doesn’t like me? Good. Although she does not have children of her own, all of us who are parents know that it is far worse to have your child insulted than to be insulted yourself.
This woman, who spent most of her career on the bench, where judicial demeanor is kind of important, has recently called my Dad a “senile old man,” and said in a t.v. interview that “King has problems with memory.” Really, Jessica? Let’s take a detailed look at that McCarthy-esque document you held up on t.v. allegedly detailing the 27 times “you or someone from your office met” with my Dad. That will be the subject of another post. Here’s the deal: I know you and your #2 Paul Walton will say or do anything you can to disparage me and anyone in my family, the family members of any other victims who dare to speak up or ask questions, anyone who comes forward with information. Why is that? What do you possibly have to gain by fucking over victims’ family members? What do you have to hide that makes you behave this way? And why did the voters in Oakland County reelect you in spite of your obvious biases and deficiencies? You get what you pay for, residents of Jokeland County.
A corollary to “you can’t fight City Hall” (Birmingham City Hall, Bloomfield Township City Hall, Oakland County City Hall, the MSP, the OCP) is that you can’t argue with the documents provided from the MSP in response to the FOIA lawsuit. Documents I plan to quote from extensively. I think the public should know about all of this. And keep in mind that anything truly significant was no doubt withheld by the MSP or so heavily redacted that it is worthless. So what little they gave up is certainly fair game.
I think sometimes the Universe just decides enough is enough and it’s time for a crime to be solved. Stuff bubbles to the surface and then it continues to ooze out in spite of every roadblock—files lost over the years, missing evidence, budget problems, lack of team work, liars, corruption and ass-covering. There are signs along the way that keep saying “this won’t go away” and eventually they will not be ignored. And because I believe multiple people were involved in committing the crimes against these four kids and that a fair number of people who are still alive know or should have known what the deal is, that this stuff is going to ooze out with increasing intensity.
When you read the rest of this you will realize why even as of 3 years ago, it was impossible to describe what we knew had gone on in my brother’s case since 2006 in less than 90 minutes. And I mean 90 minutes of nonstop talking, with no questions. The few people I talked to about this had many questions—it is just so hard to tell this story because it has so many twists and turns.
Here’s something that still boggles my mind about what led up to that polygraph business I described in the previous entry. Cops don’t like these kind of extraneous details and the story is complicated enough to tell in the media without these details leading up to Patrick Coffey’s phone calls to my brother and me about what Larry Wasser told him at the 2006 polygraph conference in Las Vegas. But it’s details like this that are the signs I am talking about.
In early March 2006, two people contacted me with questions and information about my brother’s case. The common theme (which has been repeated many times since then) was that the cops blew them off repeatedly. The information bothered me and I searched online for any information about the case. I found a number of Internet forums discussing this case and the information was very disturbing.
A few days later I went to my Dad’s house in Birmingham to help him deal with my Mom’s remaining belongings. She had passed away many months earlier. While cleaning out a hall closet, I found three large boxes. One contained many newspapers and magazines covering my brother’s case and the OCCK crimes. The other two boxes contained hundreds and hundreds of sympathy cards sent after Tim was found murdered. My Mom had clearly saved those for us to read when we were ready. It was also clear that she didn’t want anybody reading or discussing any of it before she was gone. I was afraid these would get tossed in the garbage. I put them in the trunk of my car and read all of it over the course of the next few weeks.
There was one unavoidable conclusion after reading those articles spanning from 1977 to the early 1980’s. The case had been botched, in spite of the many hardworking and committed cops who broke their backs working on these four murders. I know forensic science has changed drastically since 1977, that the various suburban police departments were scrambling under the pressure of an unprecedented crime, that the MSP took over the case and started calling the shots, and that mistakes were unfortunately unavoidable in all the chaos. We all get that.
The post-1978 articles containing comments from task force officials on the unsolved status of the case are especially interesting. I thought about what I had read online and those news articles and I felt ill.
It prompted my call to a cop I know who worked on the case back in the day and who knows me well. He blew me off. Big time. He wasn’t rude—but his reaction was very off. The people who had come forward with information in the recent past were crazy and I shouldn’t listen to a word of it. This did nothing to reassure me.
I read the sympathy cards, which were amazingly poignant and kind. I don’t know how people found the words. Many were from people who did not know us, but who were obviously profoundly affected by Tim’s murder.
I struggled with what to do and who to consult. I ended up calling an old friend from Boise, Steve Wolf. Steve had been a police officer, police chief, private investigator and polygrapher, as well as a member of the Idaho Board of Corrections. His wife worked with my ex-husband. We were all in a wine tasting group and socialized together many times over the years. Steve had also helped me with a mock trial some of us were conducting at our kids’ school. The guy is kind, blunt and very smart. I trusted his judgment. I knew he would tell me if he thought I was nuts or if I was spinning my wheels.
I told him about my brother’s murder, my view of the current MSP cold case team, my reading of the mountain of press material, and some of the Internet chatter I had come across. He listened carefully and then said “Cathy, some of these people on the Internet may be crazy, but they may also be right.” He agreed to read the many articles, the Internet chatter, and my notes. Toward the end of the call he told me he was going to the national polygraph conference in July and that the MSP always sent representatives. Steve said he would chat them up and see if the MSP was following anything solid in this case.
I then told Steve that my old neighbor, Patrick Coffey, a polygrapher in California might be there and that he could give some additional perspective on the case as he was a friend of my brothers’ and had lived across the street from us in Birmingham. Steve was silent for a minute and then he said he had just spent two weeks teaching a polygraph course in Idaho with Pat Coffey. The man who was originally supposed to teach with Steve could not make it, and Pat filled in at the last minute.
I copied all of the articles, shipped them off to Steve, and expected we might talk in two months or so, after the conference.
Here’s what happened at the conference. As I have described, Patrick gave a presentation to the group. Larry Wasser, a 60-something polygrapher from Southfield, MI, was intrigued by the presentation and asked if Pat would be willing to come to Michigan to speak to a local group of polygraphers. This is where the world stops for a minute, Pat explains he became a polygrapher in part because his neighbor in Birmingham, Tim King, was murdered in 1977. Larry Wasser freaks because at some point after my brother was murdered, he had been retained to polygraph a pedophile who, during the prepolygraph interview revealed that he “had not done this one” (the rape of a girl), but that he had been involved in the OCCK murders. During the prepolygraph interview, the polygrapher has to get everything out on the table because other criminal activity not related to the current crime in question can cause the person’s answers to be read as deceptive. In other words, if you are on the line for a sex crime polygraph, all of the kinky stuff has to be out in the open with the examiner so the questions can be worded to avoid triggering a response to an unrelated incident.
Wasser, of course, denies all of this now, but I have read the FOIA documents detailing his interview by police in 2007, as well as a transcript of one of the interviews. More on that later. (Not to mention that little defamation case, right Larry?)
Later Steve Wolf arrived at the conference and called Patrick. He said they had a friend in common and that he wanted to talk about a murder case. This happened within less than two hours of the exchange with Larry Wasser. What are the odds of that? Steve didn’t know before I called him that I knew Patrick and Patrick didn’t know until that phone call that I knew Steve. As Patrick explained in an email to his family “I tried to imagine how Cathy must be feeling in hearing from such people [psychics and others] over the years all claiming to have the answer to Timmy’s death, when I in fact DID and had been carrying the same for hours in my heart. I determined that at that moment I was morally compelled to act,” and Patrick confided to Steve what had taken place with Wasser and then called his cousin to get my phone number as well as my brother’s number. He called my brother that night.
When Steve and then Patrick called me the next morning to tell me what had happened, the hair stood up on my arms. We strategized about how to proceed. Much later, after the Livonia detective had fully investigated this lead and the Wayne County prosecutor’s office had won the court battle with Wasser to get the name of the person in question, the other cops totally downplayed all of it. Not one of the current crop of Oakland County cops or the MSP would have acted on this lead—or gotten back with me one-way or the other. I have no respect for any of them.
Mistakes are a part of life and until October 2005, we fully believed that all of the police and officials were doing everything they could to solve the serial murders of these four kids. Some cases just don’t get solved. Others cannot be prosecuted. Again, we all get it. I actually felt sorry for the police. I cringe when I think of this now. When all of this was going on, my parents constantly said they couldn’t have asked for any better response. The police we came in contact with during the week my brother was missing and for many months after, all clearly felt terrible that Tim was not found alive and that there had not been an arrest. Police were working around the clock on the case and news articles talked about the level of exhaustion and frustration at these police departments. Why would I question what was going on at the MSP task force or at the Oakland County Prosecutor’s office? I trusted them completely.
It is the response—decades later!–to the inevitable mistakes that are made in large and chaotic investigations like this that I take issue with. There is no good reason why, at this incredibly late date, when no one had really done jack squat in this case in years other than keep the file cabinets locked, that the MSP, the OCP and others in Oakland County responded to victims’ family members’ inquiries the way they have. There are reasons—but they are utterly indefensible in the face of what was done to those four kids. I don’t know when this became a matter of which agency gets credit for “solving” the case, instead of being a voice for these four kids, but I suspect it was decades ago. Shame on all of you.
There have been other signs since this “coincidence” that I call Steve, who knows Pat, who runs into Wasser and then gets a call from Steve saying he needs to talk about a mutual friend’s case. What happened in Las Vegas didn’t stay in Las Vegas, as untold others have learned the hard way. Just like what happened in this investigation is not going to stay in those files. It’s going to keep oozing out.
I think this proverb is particularly fitting in a case where four children were suffocated by a monster. There is so much bursting out here, despite the doubling-down of almost every agency that has touched this case. The Livonia PD and the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office are the only exceptions. And keep in mind that the only connection Wayne County has with this case is that my brother’s body was found in a ditch just outside Oakland County, in neighboring Livonia which is in Wayne County. All four kids lived in Oakland County and were abducted in Oakland County. Three of the four were left dead on roadsides in Oakland County. Beginning in March 2006 I had a good idea what the MSP and Oakland County were doing on this case. And that’s why I didn’t even consider going to them with information I received in July 2006. It would have never seen the light of day.
The following is a link to a letter I wrote to the editor of Downtown Publications in October 2010. It concerns the lead that surfaced in July 2006 at a national polygraph conference. My letter was prompted by the distortions and lies by a private polygrapher and his attorney (the “unnamed source”) in the article I was responding to. Attorney Jane Burgess retained Larry Wasser to polygraph serial child molester Chris Busch at some point between March 1977 and November 1978 (when he allegedly offed himself). Busch was concerned he was going to be charged with yet another CSC (criminal sexual conduct). Burgess was on retainer–how great is a rich pedophile client?!–the cases just keep cropping up. I presume the thought was that if this private polygraph went well, it could be used to send the prosecutor packing. Busch’s streak of probation-only sentences could be continued and he could stay on the streets. Wasser wisely decided not to polygraph Busch that day. This letter gives the background, although there is plenty more to the story.
This part of the tangled story started in July 2006. It is now February 2013. No answers. Not one. And, although there was much gnashing of teeth over attorney-client privilege as Wasser fought all the way to the Michigan Court of Appeals in 2007 to try to avoid revealing Chris Busch’s name—or, as it turns out, some version of touching the Busch file and saying “this looks familiar,” you can bet others besides Jane Burgess, Larry Wasser and Chris Busch knew what went down at that little Come-To-Jesus prepolygraph interview session back in the day. Sometimes I feel like we will be the last people to know who was involved in these murders. I’m telling you–people knew and people know now. And probably more than just a few.
The letter is long, but pretty self-explanatory.
A friend told me about a HBO documentary that is available On Demand until March 4. It is called Mea Maxima Culpa and it will be in theaters on Friday. The documentary is about sex abuse in the Catholic Church, explored through the case of a pedophile priest and the four men who set out to expose him. These men were boys at St. John’s School for the Deaf in Milwaukee in the 1960’s and 1970’s. The movie is very difficult to watch.
The response of the Church was concern for its own reputation and the reputations of these “men of God,” not for the many, many victims. The voices of victims were repeatedly drowned out by the powerful. The four men who have never given up on exposing what happened to them and thousands of others are truly courageous. They never gave up.
Attorney Jeffrey Anderson has represented thousands of victims of pedophile priests. He described the reaction of the Church—“Deny, minimize and blame.” Blame the media, blame the lawyers, and now even blame the survivors. It is a sadly familiar refrain. You should watch this documentary.
Twenty-one years ago today, I gave birth to my first child, a son. It was one of the two happiest days of my life, the second being the birth of my second, a daughter. I don’t know what I did to deserve these two kids, but know that I am grateful.
My son was born sixteen years to the day Mark Stebbins, the first victim of the OCCKs was abducted. I would not put this together this for decades. I do know I didn’t save the newspaper from the day he was born, because the huge headline was something having to do with Jeffrey Dahmer. When I realized my son was born on the day Mark Stebbins was abducted—after I moved back to the Midwest in 2005 and started taking another look at these murders–I was humbled.
When my firstborn was young, on occasion, my Dad would refer to my son as Tim. It broke my heart. Once, when my little family visited my parents, my young son saw the paintings of Tim (I never hid what happened from my kids) and he said something along the lines of “I don’t know what I would do if someone did that to my little sister.”
On a much happier note, my best friend from college just posted on my FB page and said “Do you remember being pregnant with [your son] when we vacationed at Red Fish Lake Lodge?” We hiked to 10,000 feet, had a lot of laughs, there was an amazing view, and a few short months later we all welcomed my son to the world. So in spite of all of the sadness and horror of 1976-1977, lots of good prevailed. So there.
WordPress is a free blogging tool and obviously the platform for my blog. It has some cool web software. As I mentioned, it shows number of views by country. It also shows “referrers,” such as FaceBook and search engines used to access the blog. Most of the views are via FaceBook, because I simultaneously post blog entries to my FB newsfeed. Thirty-four people have subscribed to this blog via email.
When a viewer is referred to my blog via a search engine such as Google or Yahoo, WordPress software shows the words and phrases users find me with when they search. A handful of readers accessed my blog via search terms as opposed to a direct link. The five search phrases used so far are:
catherine broad word press (Makes sense someone would find my blog this way.) (1 search)
catherine broad oakland county child killer blog (Same deal.) (3 searches)
oakland county child killer barry king favorite memories of Tim (What the hell?) (1 search)
occk chris flynn (earlier this week) (4 searches)
christopher flynn berkley pd suicide 1978 (this afternoon) (1 search)
The last two search phrases kind of stand out, especially if you reread my blog entry called Predatory Crime. Weird, huh?
WordPress stats show a blogger what countries readers are in. Yesterday and today my little map showed me I have a viewer in the Netherlands. Around the time of the OCCK murders, the FBI and the Michigan State Police were investigating a child-sex ring run by Ann Arbor multi-millionaire Francis D. Shelden. Shelden fled to Amsterdam after Gerald Richards, who ran a boys “nature camp” on North Fox Island, MI, for Shelden was arrested for child sex abuse. Shelden was never extradited and died in the Netherlands in 1996. Authorities never found Shelden’s wealthy partner, Dyer Grossman of New York. I’m sure authorities didn’t get much out of Shelden’s attorney, L.Bennett Young of Bloomfield Hills, MI.
When the Netherlands passed a bill outlawing child pornography in 1985, it was the only country in Western Europe that had not outlawed child pornography. In addition, it had a strict law on postal privacy, making it perfect clearing house for child porn. There was no extradition treaty with the US when Shelden fled there in 1976.
So, I have a viewer in the Netherlands, despite the fact that I have done very little to publicize my blog. I guess it makes sense. But if I get readers from Thailand, I am going to be seriously bummed.