Here are comments from a reader last week:
Thank you for all you and your family have done to get the information out on this investigation and to move it forward. I hope your dad is doing well and is feeling some sense of closure that the people involved in this travesty are being exposed. I sense a major shift in your frame of mind since when you first started this blog. You have gone from being very angry to motivated, educated and empowered. You have been a driving force in accomplishing the progress that has been made. You have brought encouragement to everyone who was affected by what happened to these kids and to the southeastern Michigan community. Thank you! I hope you have personally found some measure of peace.
Thank you, Terri, for these comments. I have spent a lot of time thinking about them. The short answer is I am staying vigilant, but yes, surely, some real measure of peace.
Here is my longer response.
My Dad is not doing well. He’s 89 and has a number of medical issues which I believe are intensified by the stress of losing a child, losing a child to monsters, and being lied to by law enforcement (including his “friends”) for decades. I think he has some sense of relief that Marney Keenan’s book has been published and that Cooper is out of office. Small comfort.
I read Marney Keenan’s book in one sitting. I felt great relief when I closed the book. I slept really well that night. It is all there in black and white. It took a toll on me a few days later. I was deeply disappointed that the book did not receive press coverage in the Detroit area, but not surprised. Even without coverage of Marney’s book and the exposure of how Jessica Cooper operates, Cooper lost the primary and lost hard. Even better. In a few months she will no longer be the gatekeeper of the OCCK case–covering for her friends Jane Burgess and Larry Wasser, controlling the weak Oakland County law enforcement, and by default for pedophiles who operated with impunity in lovely Oakland County. Like it or not, her actions also gave cover to a despicable predecessor in that office–L. Brooks Patterson.
I think most attorneys who read this book would agree that Cooper should be disbarred. But she won’t be. That she is a mean-spirited, anti-child, tyrant is not grounds for being disbarred. What is described in Marney’s book, however, is. My Dad’s grievance against Cooper was not even acknowledged by the Michigan State Bar. Leaving aside the obvious fact that Cooper pulled strings all over the place all the time, most state bar associations are simply a version of the fox guarding the hen house. Unless a bar association has a strong bar counsel with a focus on ethics violations and backing from the board of directors, it is simply a group concerned with the location of the annual meeting and keeping a foot on the hose of new bar applicants/competition. They will let her ride off into the sunset and thank her for her grand public service. Ugh. Michigan.
I don’t live in Michigan, so this is not something I dwell on. I am happy Cooper is gone. If the voters get rid of Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard in November, I will breathe even easier. As I have previously posted, he is the last of the elected game players from law enforcement who still have their fingers in this case. The new prosecutor does not need this guy on the team. You have been warned.
And speaking of elections, I hope no one reading this ever blindly votes to retain a judge just because s/he is running unopposed. When you do that, you could end up a judge like this: https://www.theoaklandpress.com/news/copscourts/rally-draws-dozens-who-want-teen-released-from-juvenile-facility-claiming-racism/article_09ddb310-c7ab-11ea-8b84-17b1197e4655.html. Or like this: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2018/06/06/judge-aaron-persky-who-gave-brock-turners-lenient-sentence-sanford-rape-case-recalled/674551002/. Maybe you like those types, but it is good to do a little research on these judge candidates–especially if you are voting by mail and can do a little online research before you decide to vote to retain someone in such an important office. And don’t put too much stock in the rating by the state bar association (see above). Don’t put an “x” next to someone just because their name is on the ballot. That’s like skimming a ballot proposition and just blindly picking “yes” or “no.”
I have had a great shift in my mindset. People who read about us think we were in a rage and making trouble since 1977. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Oh, we were good little victims. We never asked questions, never asked for help (and we didn’t get any). The fucking prosecutor NEVER called my parents. Never, not once. But I bet he took a few calls from H. Lee Busch. At our house, we were never allowed to talk about the “investigation” or what happened to my brother Tim. The message was loud and clear: Get on with your life. And we did. Eventually it got easier to live a good life to honor Tim–and to rise up above what I believed was a single, deranged man–a faceless monster who was not going to take what was left of my life.
In 2005, when the task force was resuscitated the shit show that unfolded–not in 300 pages of a book, but in real life, over the course of years–took my breath away. It made me realize how many cops were dirty, how many people knew what happened here, how many people didn’t come forward, the disgusting, duplicitous actions by people I consider to have blood on their hands–whose actions spit on Mark, Jill, Kris and Tim. These people watched the families of these kids feel their way through the dark and hoped to god this stuff would just go away. You’re damn right I was angry. Anger is an understatement. This anger was fueled by the gaslighting by law enforcement.
When I started this blog, I felt like I was screaming into the wind. This case has always attracted the freaks, and they were always right there like bugs under a rock. There were a few exceptional solid citizens who helped me out early and greatly and have always helped out–you know who you are. People came to me with their theories, their suspects, their justifiable frustration after being blown off by the cops. Others constantly asked me for information, confirmation and agreement. They got pissed at ME when I couldn’t make the police listen to them. I know the state police hacked my computer and phone. I lost my sense of safety and my faith in humanity. I felt used and felt despair for my dead brother who didn’t stand a chance with these clowns and despair for a community–indeed, a state–that protected predators instead of children.
It was hard not to be filled with rage. You know how we are supposed to assume most people are doing the best they can? I couldn’t do it here. I can say in hindsight that Jessica Cooper, Retired MSP Det. Garry Gray, Ret. MSP Det. Dave Robertson (son of original task force commander and dirty cop Robert Robertson) enjoyed fucking people over in this case and spent more time being vindictive assholes than doing their jobs. I believe FBI SA Sean Callaghan (previously an OC assistant prosecutor, surprise, surprise) is cut from the same cloth. He is another person who needs to be removed from the OCCK case. Read Marney’s book. Even if you have to wait until October for it to be delivered. (Sigh.)
These are not people who should have the level of power they did. It was intentional infliction of emotional distress and they enjoyed it. They fucked with us because we dared to question them and we went public. Marney’s book covers most of it, including Gray telling my Dad and brother, who were offering to help his lowlife office, to back off because he was on the OBD program–”One Bad Day and I’m out of there.” Here’s what she missed. In the MSP’s FOIA response, they tucked in four photos of Tim’s dead body dumped on Gill Road. Close ups. We had never seen those photos. The inclusion and placement of these shocking photos in the response made no sense whatsoever. Those photos were in no way responsive to the FOIA request; that was gratuitous, evil infliction of emotional distress. When someone, especially a cop (Garry Gray), tries to tell you he is a “good Christian man,” run like hell. Anger? You bet.
I was beginning to think Marney’s book would never be published. That’s when I decided to post all of the FOIA documents on my blog. That seemed to be the last thing I could do. If you took the time to read the close to 4,000 pages, you had some sense of what went on here. Fatally flawed initial investigation, many fuck ups, cover ups, liars at every turn. “I don’t recall.” The fuck you don’t. But it was, in that crude format, out there for all to see. That was a relief.
As time went on, I got support from readers and this support outweighed the freaks. This made a difference in my life. Many of these emails and letters were from people I have never met and probably never will. A handful of my friends check in with me on the regular to make sure I am ok, don’t ignore the elephant in the living room, and don’t expect me to console them for bringing it up. I am deeply grateful for them.
I also began to hear from a lot of people who were victimized as children. I began to feel a sense of responsibility for their stories and to validate their experience and the fact that no one helped them. It is impossible not to get a sense of how big the problem of child sexual abuse, child pornography and sexual assault it is. When I read online that pedophile and child pornographer Frank Shelden’s death was faked in the 1990s and that he lives on–now in his late 80s or early 90s, in his world of grooming and victimizing boys, it still makes me want to break windows with a baseball bat. Society needs to look at this and all of the other ugliness in the world, all of it. It’s why we are so fucked right now. So many have their heads in the sand.
I realized I had to harness my rage, stay patient, make sure I stood as a witness–and not a silent witness–to this incredible travesty. I want every pedophile and person who has committed a sexual assault and gotten away with it to look over their shoulder every day for the rest of their lives. Same goes for their enablers. No more silence. Silence abets injustice. Every time.
Here is another conclusion I came to, Terri. For all those decades I rose above the faceless monster who took my brother and defiled him during his last week of life. It was a lot of work. I have struggled with depression and PTSD since I was 17. I tried every day to live my life as a way to honor Tim, knowing he would not have wanted us to suffer any more than we already had. It was now time to rise above people like Larry Wasser, James Feinberg, Garry Gray, Dave Robertson, Sean Callaghan, the Birmingham PD, the Bloomfield Township PD, the Berkley PD, Robert Robertson, Joseph Krease, L. Brooks Patterson, Richard Thompson, Jessica Cooper, Paul Walton. Trust me when I say that I am the happiest person in the pool looking down at that black line, and on my yoga mat. That’s 90 minutes that I don’t have to wonder why people do what they do. If you met me on the street, you would have no idea what has happened in my life. Most of the time I have a genuine smile on my face. I don’t take things for granted. Because of my experiences, I have more compassion than many people (in spite of being “strident” in this case–my god, what would have happened if I hadn’t been?!). I have a good, if dark, sense of humor. I am deeply opinionated and I have massive distrust of law enforcement and people who abuse their power. I have friends who love me. My kids love me. I can look at myself in the mirror. I did what I could, with very, very little support. I did not lie; I am not taking some shit to my grave; I am not a coward. I stand by all the “nasty” things I said in this blog and in the phone calls and emails intercepted by the state police; I meant every word.
And I am struck, again and again, by the immense good done by retired Detective Cory Williams and Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy and her office, and the people along the way who tried their hardest to help solve this case and to tell this story. It took a very big toll on all of them. But they restored my faith in humanity. They saw something wrong and, unlike dirty, dirty Oakland County, THEY SAID AND DID SOMETHING ABOUT IT.
Cooper is out. Get Bouchard and Callaghan out of there and let someone without a dirty agenda clean up what is left of this case and answer to the public on behalf of the four young lives lost in Oakland County. As always, if you have information about the murders of Mark Stebbins, Jill Robinson, Kristine Mihelich, or Tim King, call Det. Sean Street at the Michigan State Police. Same goes if you have information about the child sex/pornography rings that operated in Oakland County (GM and other places) or N. Fox Island in the 1970s. The information may be related. If you have gone to the cops and they blew you off, well, you are off the hook. If you are one of those people who isn’t coming forward to save your family name or some bullshit like that (after 43 years?!!), there’s a bleacher seat in Hell for you. I know a couple of cops and an old prosecutor you can sit next to. This is your burden to carry, not mine. Figure it out and do the right thing.
Thanks for your comments, Terri and for letting me use them in such a public manner for such a long answer. I appreciate your message and that you typed it up and used your name. Thanks again. It is my fervent hope that the communities ravaged by these crimes can heal and move forward with eyes wide open. Never again.