My Dad’s spirit left his body late this afternoon. He crossed over and joined my Mother and my brother Tim.
He struggled with a motor neuron disease, diagnosed in August. He quickly lost the ability to speak and to swallow. He understood his diagnosis and prognosis and continued to communicate with written notes and “thumbs up” or “thumbs down.” As of early fall, he was still walking outside with his walker.
My Dad wrote a note a week or so ago that said “I’ve had a good life, except for what happened to Tim.” His wife was an angel to him and he died at home, in his own bed on his own terms.
He was a warrior for justice for his son Tim. He conducted himself with dignity and just wanted the truth. He wanted someone in law enforcement to look him in the eyes and tell him the truth. He had such faith in law enforcement and in people doing the right thing until the awful, dawning realization that those in power deceived him and all of us and dishonored the child victims of the child killers in Oakland County. He was disrespected and lied to by prosecutors, judges, appellate judges, police chiefs, police and detectives. He did not back down but the obvious failures by these people and agencies were a deep wound on his soul. Yet he kept after it.
Thank you to those who tried to help advance his quest for justice for his son Tim. Thank you to those who supported him, even if just in spirit.
In his memory, if you could perform a random act of kindness in the next few days, this would help mitigate the treatment he received by Oakland County and the State of Michigan. The world could use a little kindness right now.
My Dad would have been 90 on March 11. He took the high road in the face of true evil. I am inspired by this and I hope you are, too.
“Father” Gary Berthiaume was charged with sexual misconduct with a 14-year-old boy in September 1977. The assault happened at Camp Ozanam, a St. Vincent DePaul Society camp overlooking Lake Huron in Port Sanilac.
I found this article while searching for Detroit area coverage of then prosecutor Brooks Patterson’s statements to the press about how Fr. Berthiaume had been cleared by polygraph in the OCCK crimes. Surely a Detroit area paper covered what had been reported in Lansing about Berthiaume’s “good grades” on his polygraph.
A September 20, 1977 article from the Detroit Free Press exclaims: 2d Sex Charge Filed Against Priest; HE’S CLEARED IN CHILD MURDERS.
The Free Press article notes that “Mark Stebbins, a 12-year-old Ferndale youth who was kidnapped and murdered in February 1976, attended that camp a few years before his death.” Yes. You read that right.
Here’s a little history on this glorious summer camp experience:
Berthiaume may not have any connections to the OCCK crimes, but he may very well have knowledge of the kind of stuff detailed in the “pedophile flow chart,” involving a lot of players in Michigan. He may just be one of the many “garden variety” pedophile priests from the Catholic church. Or he may have some knowledge that will be helpful. While the N. Fox Island operation appeared to simply ordain their own “ministers,” why not ask this fuck if he knew Frank Shelden or any of the other organized pedophiles operating freely in Michigan. Was he ever at Fox Island? There are 10,000 questions he should be asked.
Police explain that the assault at Camp Ozanam was “an isolated incident.” The chances that this was an isolated incident are exactly zero. If you were victimized at Camp Ozanam, saw or knew of anything untoward, please call the Michigan Attorney General’s office at 517-335-7622 and ask to speak to someone in the Criminal Investigative Division. The office recently extradited this pedophile priest from Illinois to Michigan to answer for 1977 sex crimes against minor(s). They, unlike other law enforcement in Michigan, do not appear to be messing around.
Men like this think they can straighten everything up at the Pearly Gates and that forgiveness for this most heinous of crimes is freely given. I don’t know how that works, but I do know this man should have to stand at the prison gates first to answer for his crimes. Over $300,000 was paid to one of Berthiaume’s victims many years ago. I hope other victims of this bad priest file civil suits as well and do not agree to any kind of a nondisclosure agreement. This man and his enablers need to pay up.
Berthiaume will probably lie and feign memory loss when it comes to any knowledge about the OCCK crimes or related pedophile activities. After all, police and prosecutors have done the same thing in the OCCK investigation for decades. But he needs to be pressed on this anyway. And either way, if there are more victims out there–as we know by statistics, there must be–he needs to pay for those crimes with his freedom and his enablers’ checkbook. “I’m just a rapist, not a murderer,” might help Berthiaume in the OCCK case but he is a significant part of Michigan’s history of ignoring the cries of children and teens who were victimized in a part of the country where officials routinely looked the other way.
Wow. Just wow on so many levels.
Thank you to podcaster Nina Innsted (Already Gone podcast) for this article from the Lansing State Journal, September, 1977.
“PATTERSON PHONED NEWS ORGANIZATIONS MONDAY TO SAY THAT BERTHIAUME HAD TAKEN A LIE DETECTOR TEST AND WAS CONCLUSIVELY CLEARED OF ANY INVOLVEMENT IN THE STILL-UNSOLVED SERIES OF CHILD-ABDUCTION SLAYINGS IN THE DETROIT SUBURBS.” WTF, Brooksie?
Investigators better squeeze this POS defrocked priest, Gary Berthiaume now that he is back on his old stomping grounds in Michigan to face charges in yet another 1977 criminal sexual conduct against a minor case. He needs to divulge what he knew or heard about pedophile rings operating in Oakland County back in the day. Maybe he won’t be a dumbass like Lamborgine or Sloan. It’s not going to go well for you in the big house, padre. You might want to start talking and work your way into a solitary confinement/protective custody deal. Or maybe, like Lamborgine, “God has forgiven you.” Good luck with that.
John Michael Musbach, 31, of Haddonfield, was arrested Thursday and charged with one count of murder for hire. Musbach is accused of paying a fake murder-for-hire website $20,000 in 2016 to kill a teen boy accusing him of child pornography. Musbach was scammed out of his money, federal authorities say.
— Read on www.fox23.com/news/trending/new-jersey-man-tried-use-dark-web-hire-hit-man-kill-child-porn-victim-feds-say/X5K6HXZNDZH77BM3IT5VRNWT5U/
Registration is closed for tonight’s Zoom book discussion of The Snow Killings: Inside the Oakland County Child Killer Investigation, with Marney Keenan through Baldwin Public Library.
If you didn’t sign on for tonight, here are the other scheduled discussions of The Snow Killings.
You might want to contact the local library and sign up ASAP.
Anyone with a passing familiarity with the OCCK case comes to a conclusion that is impervious to law enforcement gaslighting.
For instance, here is a recent comment on the YouTube channel for Decades of Deceit:
If you have not checked out the YouTube channel, you can access it here. This 31-chapter presentation was taped years ago, but it is still relevant. So, dated but worth a listen:
Or consider this comment from a reader:
Like I said. It’s now obvious.
Even the Catholic church is willing to look back on its long history of failing to confront the crimes of sexual abuse by clergy. Read this powerful article in today’s Washington Post:
A constant, overarching theme in sex abuse cases is that those in authority believe, over and over again, the victimizer over the young victim. And the disbelief extends to those who come forward as adults to out these monsters and the parents of these children and young adults who tried to raise the alarm and get help.
This report provided “unprecedented detail into a major abuse case” involving POS pedophile Theodore McCarrick, who rose through the ranks of the Catholic church in the U.S. and allegedly was able to keep doing what he was doing because he “successfully deceived the pope.” McCarrick was able to avoid formal penalties, in keeping with that church’s long-standing tradition of believing “church men” over victims, and keeping any discipline modest and private. The report described in the article is a preliminary report, shared with reporters in advance of the publication of the full report.
A church spokesman said:
“By virtue of the simple fact that this investigation had to be conducted and this report had to be written, my heart hurts for all who will be shocked, saddened, scandalized and angered by the revelations contained therein,” Wilton Gregory, head of the D.C. archdiocese, wrote in a statement Tuesday, acknowledging he hadn’t yet read the full report. “Nonetheless, we know that if true redemptive healing is ever to commence – for those who have been harmed and for the Church Herself – this disclosure must be made.”
John Carr, the former head of domestic lobbying for U.S. bishops, and himself a survivor of clergy sexual abuse, who has been an advocate for church reform said:
I hope this report will strengthen Pope Francis’ call to end destructive clericalism and help end a culture of institutional corruption that has hidden, protected, and rewarded both abusers and those who enabled them or looked the other way. This terrible failure of leadership in the United and at the Vatican over past decades must lead to genuine repentance, reform, and renewal as we move forward.
So even the Catholic church is now taking a “more contemporary approach” to issues of sexual abuse. It was willing to dig into the past to allow that organization a chance to move forward. It acknowledged that abusers and enablers were protected and rewarded.
Oakland County, Michigan must be called upon to confront its sordid past in the investigation of the Oakland County child killings and related crimes against children and young adults which were ignored as part of a scheme to “make this all go away.” They protected and rewarded abusers and enablers. They dropped the fucking ball. And fuck you if you dare to ask about it.
I realize the Catholic church scandal had taken thousands of brave victims to come forward and back-breaking litigation against an almost evil defense team over decades, to come to this point. Oakland County and the MSP have misused and continue to misuse their power to make sure, despite the work of one brave detective, nothing comes of any inquiry.
You could make the argument that old Brooksie just didn’t want any taint on his territory north of 8 mile, so just make this fucked up child predator shit go away. But I think it is much more than that and I know a lot of you do, too. As he moved beyond the prosecutors office to county executive–the pope of Oakland County–he made sure you OC residents saw only his fabulous financial wheeling and dealing to make your county an appealing place to live. And, I’m sorry, if you are working with one of the largest county budgets in the nation, you better not fuck up. You are ahead of the curve before you even start.
This is what took place three months after my brother’s murder:
Think this stuff wasn’t going on in Oakland County? Michigan resident and total POS Gerald Richards testifies in this hearing about sexual exploitation of minors. Senators don’t dig very deep with this man, and being a lying sack of worthless shit, he gives just enough to lighten his sentence. He, unlike his “business partner” and Michigan resident Frank Shelden, does not have a private plane to whisk him away to a place where he can’t be extradited, so he has to cut his losses.
The Chicago Tribune published a series of investigative reports on child pornography in 1977. But the Detroit-area media doesn’t really touch any of this. As I have said many times, the only brave reporting on this issue and on Frank Shelden, his “partners” and N. Fox Island, comes from reporter Marilyn Wright at the Traverse City Record-Eagle, some 250 miles north of Motown and big, fat GM and its fucking executives living high off the hog in Oakland County. A few little articles in the Detroit-area newspapers, but nothing big enough to risk GM pulling ad dollars.
Then the Oakland County child killings come along right in the middle of all of this shit. Uh-oh, looks like some of these guys went too far by pulling this shit in the suburbs. The failure of leadership by Oakland County magnified the failure of leadership by the Michigan State Police in this case. It continues to this very day because people in power in Michigan will not do what EVEN the Catholic church has recently been willing to do–examine the failures which allowed abusers, killers and their enablers to walk away.
Don’t even try to tell me it’s been too long and wrongs have been righted in the OCCK case. (“Hey, there were no more killings!”). I know OC continues to bury this case because people who have come forward since Children of the Snow aired in February of 2018 tell me how they get treated. Every time one of the local Oakland County PDs, the Oakland County sheriff, the Oakland County prosecutor, the MSP, throws up their hands and says “It will never be solved!” ask yourself why, unlike a myriad of jurisdictions around the country, they can never update the public or solve a cold case like this one. Or why tips that have been sitting right under their noses for decades–much like the “clues” about this freak McCarrick, have been and continue to be, ignored.
Finally, and this one is tough to read, ask yourself if, in light of what Gerald Richards and Frank Shelden were up to in the great state of Michigan, this shit somehow wasn’t going on in Oakland County:
Investigation Discovery (ID) and Acast are launching three new true crime podcasts–Red Flags, The Clown And The Candyman, and Unraveled.
Of particular interest is The Clown and the Candyman, produced by the same team as the documentary Children of the Snow (https://www.imdb.com/title/tt10019004/ ). The podcast drops on December 15 and includes an update on the OCCK case in the wake of Marney Keenan’s book, The Snow Killings, Inside the Oakland County Child Killer Investigation (available on Amazon, see also https://www.marneyrichkeenan.com/blog).
The Clown and the Candyman is a narrative podcast to accompany the ID miniseries of the same name which airs in January. The podcast and series will bring one of America’s sordid secrets to light–the network of pedophiles that connected two deranged serial killers–Dean Corll and John Wayne Gacy.
Needless to say, a network of pedophiles overlays the entire OCCK investigation. It is why so many people have suspects they are sure could have been the OCCK (because there were so many men involved in pedophelia and child porn in and around Oakland County). It is why law enforcement stopped turning over stones in 1978 in this case. When bigwigs from GM and a state senator and “good neighbors” in suburban Detroit might be exposed, they decided to walk away. They protected these men instead of children in Oakland County and the surrounding areas.
It is why the MSP and Oakland County want nothing to do with the OCCK case. The OCCK case would expose what the Red Flags podcast seeks to expose–the systemic issues beneath the warning signs in these types of cases. Like pedophelia and child porn. And “running” kids for these operations, which is human trafficking under any definition you want to use.
News articles back in the day were filled with bullshit from B’ham PD and the MSP about how they really cleaned things up! in the wake of the OCCK investigation–how many pedophiles they scared! They prosecuted none of them, except Father Gary Berthiaume, who was recently extradited to Michigan and is set to be tried for other sex crimes against children in 1977 that investigators missed the first time around. It would take a case in Wayne–not Oakland–County decades later to bust Ted Lamborgine and Richard Lawson for their roles in raping and terrorizing boys as part of their pedophile ring, which most definitely extended into wealthy parts of Oakland County.
By dropping the OCCK investigation after monied pedophile Chris Busch was found rotting in his childhood bedroom in Bloomfield Village, MI, and failing to prosecute any of players in the pedophile and child porn rings operating with impunity in the area, officials in Michigan left a gaping wound in Oakland County and became part of the systemic problem rather than a solution.
The criminals and their enablers have to be exposed. Let’s see if the MSP or Oakland County has anything to say on tape to update their constituents on the OCCK case.
Promos for these series will follow and I will post links. Available on Apple podcasts, Spotify or wherever you subscribe.
Today’s the day if you haven’t already submitted your ballot. If you are not sure if you are registered to vote, check here: https://www.vote.org/am-i-registered-to-vote/. Many states allow election day registration. Check here for Same Day Registration information: https://www.ncsl.org/research/elections-and-campaigns/same-day-registration.aspx.
I spoke with a young friend yesterday who told me he almost didn’t vote (he did) because he felt like so much was so shady and that it didn’t matter. You would have been proud of me. I didn’t go crazy because he did in fact vote. We discussed how every single vote counts, just as every single person does. How you need to vote whether it is a hopeful vote or a “fuck you.” How we can be hopeful and take the high road, even as we steel ourselves for a battering disappointment. (That, my friends, is the story of the OCCK investigation in one sentence.)
He went on to tell me that he has been working on really awesome business plans, that he is moving soon to another state and is going to get involved and run for office. It was great news (except for the moving part). Now he really has to be careful to vote because I remember a city-wide election where one of the candidates was young, bright, exuberant, and well-connected. She had not voted in the past five years and when questioned about it, didn’t have any great answers. She lost.
One more voting story. My mother grew up in a very small, very rural town in Canada. Her dad made her come home from university to vote in a local election because their friend was running for office. You know what the ending is–the man won by one vote.
Voting is an essential activity. If you have been going to the doctor or the grocery store, you can vote. Put on a mask and stay away from the mask-less. If you need help returning an absentee or mail ballot, or need help getting to the polls, ask a neighbor or a friend for help. If need be, you can mask up, roll down all the car windows and hit the polling place.
You don’t even have to fill out the entire ballot if you just want to go in and get the hell out as quickly as possible. If you haven’t read a ballot initiative ahead of time and don’t understand it (they never make it easy), skip it. Get the job done and get out.
No endorsements here. Just vote. I will delete any comments from those who cannot resist starting a fight. Keep those comments on your Facebook page or on a Zoom call with your family. If a neighbor who has opposing views to your own needed help voting, would you help? Life is lived locally. Every man for himself is not sustainable.
To bring this back full-circle to the purpose for my blog, the people you elect locally are the people who make decisions about investigating and prosecuting crimes, about transparency in those decisions and honest communications with the public. Once they have betrayed the public’s trust, they can never, ever be trusted again. They must not be given another chance. They will betray again and again. And then they will retire and live off of those taxpayer dollars you all provided.
So don’t blow this one off. Don’t ever blow off another election. If you move, make sure you register to vote at your new location. Do not give up your voice. Maybe some day soon, most employers will give their employees the day off to vote, it will be safe to congregate again, and election day can become both a solemn duty and a celebration.
Voting in person today gives you a little hero status. Go for it.