tragedies, true crime

Death of a coward…

At about this time last year, I was reading and reviewing a lot of books about the state of U.S. women’s gymnastics. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you might know that about three years ago, former U.S. gymnastics team doctor, Larry Nassar, was outed for the abusive pervert he is. He’s currently sitting in a prison cell for sexually abusing hundreds of female athletes over the course of his career.

Yesterday, I became aware that high powered elite gymnastics coach, 63 year old John Geddert, who had once called Larry Nassar a friend and a colleague, was charged with a couple dozen felonies. Mr. Geddert was supposed to turn himself in for arraignment at a sheriff’s office yesterday. When he failed to show up for his 2:15pm appointment, police went looking for him. They found his dead body at 3:24pm ET at a rest stop in Grand Ledge, Michigan. The cause of death was suicide.

I guess he couldn’t face the music.

John Geddert was a successful coach, having been the coach of the 2012 women’s gymnastics Olympic team. But he was also notoriously abusive to his athletes. According to Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel:

“John Geddert used force, fraud and coercion against the young athletes that came to him for gymnastics training for financial benefit to him,”

And,

“The victims suffer from disordered eating, including bulimia and anorexia, suicide attempts and self-harm, excessive physical conditioning, repeatedly being forced to perform even when injured, extreme emotional abuse and physical abuse, including sexual assault. Many of these victims still carry these scars from his behavior to this day.”

Indeed, in a number of the books I read about Larry Nassar and the huge sex abuse bombshell that was dropped on U.S. women’s gymnastics, John Geddert’s name came up frequently. He was described as the type of coach who would scream, throw things, and punish his gymnasts. Larry Nassar, by contrast, was described as quiet, gentle, and caring. The two men were said to be best friends, and Larry Nassar worked out of Geddert’s Twistars gym where he would minister to the injured girls. They would come to him looking for kindness and caring, having been beaten down by Geddert’s physically abusive tactics. It created the perfect storm for Nassar’s sexual abuse, which went under the radar for decades.

As the abuse was made public, attention shifted to John Geddert, who lied to police when he was questioned about Larry Nassar. Michigan Assistant Attorney General Danielle Hagaman-Clark said, “Mr. Geddert knew that Nassar was sexually abusing these patients and that he failed to take action. And that when he was asked about it by police officers during the 2016 investigation into Nassar, he lied about that.”

I’m not all that surprised that Geddert killed himself. He no doubt paid close attention to what happened to Larry Nassar. He probably also paid attention to what happened to Jeffrey Epstein, the fabulously wealthy bastard who victimized and trafficked scores of girls for the pleasures of wealthy and perverted men. Epstein was about to go on trial for his crimes when he was found dead of suicide in his jail cell. There was speculation that Epstein was murdered by those who didn’t want him to talk, but the official cause of death was suicide. I think either scenario is plausible, and I’m sure Epstein felt suicide was better than a lifetime in prison. John Geddert clearly felt the same way.

Gymnasts thought of Geddert and Nassar as a “dynamic duo”.

I’m sure there’s a lot of sadness regarding this death. Many of Geddert’s victims no doubt wanted to testify in court about what happened to them. Geddert cheated them out of justice. But Geddert probably also had friends and loved ones who are legitimately shocked by all of this. I feel sad for all of them. I’ve noticed a lot of comments chastising people who express empathy for Geddert’s friends and loved ones. I won’t do that, because I think those people deserve consideration, too. As awful as abusers can be, they usually do have some people in their lives who have no idea or love them regardless… and when the abuse does come to light, they suffer, but get little empathy. So I want to go on record that I empathize with everyone personally affected by Geddert’s suicide, regardless of how and why they are affected.

I feel sad for all of the parents, too. They no doubt thought they were doing a great thing for their daughters, enrolling them in gymnastics. They put their trust in John Geddert and Larry Nassar, paying them a lot of money for the training and medical care… only to find out that they abused their gymnasts, using them for their own pleasure. I know that I would be extremely pissed off if I had a child who was abused by someone. But then to realize that I spent thousands of dollars for my child to be abused and permanently harmed– I think it would send me over the edge.

So… I send my good thoughts out to those who are upset by Geddert’s cowardly decision to take himself out. I think it’s pretty clear that he was guilty as hell. At least he won’t be hurting anyone else. But that may be small comfort for those who were hoping to see him held accountable.

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true crime

An email I got this morning…

If you’ve been watching the news feed, you might know that the late Jeffrey Epstein’s ex girlfriend, 58 year old British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, was arrested in New Hampshire yesterday. Epstein, of course, was a notorious sexual predator who was extraordinarily wealthy. Ghislaine Maxwell was Epstein’s girlfriend, but she also is accused of recruiting a lot of his victims. Because of her part in the disgusting human sex trafficking ring he was running, Maxwell was finally picked up by the FBI. She was remanded into custody and awaits transport to answer charges in New York, where she’s been accused of helping to recruit and groom Epstein’s victims, some of whom were as young as 14 years old.

I followed this case somewhat before Epstein died of “suicide” in jail last year. Many people think Epstein was actually murdered. Maybe he was. He had very powerful friends who had a lot to lose if his real story was ever made public. He was linked to people like Bill Clinton, Prince Andrew, and of course, our very own orange idiot, Donald Trump. I watched all of the episodes of Filthy Rich, the Netflix documentary series about Epstein, and blogged about them. I know he was not a good man.

So, knowing that Epstein was a complete and total scumbag, imagine my surprise this morning, when I got this rather hilarious email from a “financial advisor” to Mr. Epstein:

I usually toss these kinds of emails without reading them. I just couldn’t help myself this morning. When I saw Jeffrey Epstein’s name and “charity” in the same email, I had to have a good laugh. Naturally, this email is bullshit, although it somehow made it to my main mailbox rather than the spam roundfile, where it belongs. These people trying to capitalize on greed must be enjoying some success, or they wouldn’t keep doing it. Whoever wrote this is obviously full of crap, though. Here’s a hint… pick a different dead wealthy person other than Jeffrey Epstein. Even if this was legit, I wouldn’t want to have anything to do with his filthy money.

As for Ghislaine Maxwell, she is denying any knowledge or participation in Mr. Epstein’s dirty dalliances. However, if you watch Filthy Rich, you will quickly hear the accounts of the many women who were victimized. And according to their very believable accounts, Ms. Maxwell was up to her armpits in Epstein’s sexual perversions. She was all about helping him satisfy his cravings for sex, power, and “massages”. She would win the girls over by befriending them, taking them out shopping or to the movies, and convincing them to give Epstein massages, after which they would be sexually abused and perhaps farmed out to other wealthy, powerful men.

It’s about time she was charged.

Maxwell would allegedly try to normalize the abuse by talking frankly about sex with the girls, undressing in front of them, being present when the victim was undressed, and being present when Epstein was molesting them. Reading this description of what Ghislaine Maxwell did brings back memories of my dealings with the neighborhood pervert, who, when I was about ten years old, befriended me and gave me attention that I wasn’t getting from my family. He used to show me men’s magazines and talk to me about sexual topics. I think that affected me a lot more than I realized at the time. Because I was a child, I didn’t realize that what he was doing was sexual abuse. It wasn’t until I was much older that I realized just how inappropriate and wrong it was. Fortunately, in my case, there was never a graduation to the next step, which would have been totally horrifying.

When I think about what those young girls went through, because they had bad home lives, wanted to be models, or were simply hoping to make a friend, it breaks my heart. Those kinds of offenses have ripple effects that affect innocent people. For instance, because of what happened to me, my husband has to deal with some baggage that makes it harder for us to enjoy intimacy. And the women who were abused by Epstein and Maxwell and everyone else of their ilk are passing along that damage to their significant others and children, as well as their other friends and loved ones.

Anyway… I am glad Ghislaine Maxwell was arrested. I want her to get a fair trial and, if she is proven guilty, I hope she does some time. Hopefully, she won’t “commit suicide” before she’s been brought to justice. And I hope the idiot who sent the above email– probably not really named Lawrence Pierre– doesn’t manage to fool anyone with this foolishness. It’s shameful to try to rip people off, but especially when you’re doing it by appealing to greed with a criminal’s money. If anyone gets any of Epstein’s filthy lucre, it should be his many victims.

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Netflix, politics

I just saw Filthy Rich, a Netflix documentary about Jeffrey Epstein…

We’re enjoying some much needed rain here in Germany this morning. I woke up early again. I think it was about 4:30am. I’d had some vivid dreams and then had to answer the call of nature. I checked the news and Facebook and soon found myself on a friend’s timeline. She is as anti-Trump as I am, but still maintains a lot of friendships with people in the county where we both grew up in the 1980s. One of her “friends”, an older man, defiantly posted “#Trump 2020” as a response to her.

I don’t usually comment on political or religious posts made by friends. It’s mainly because I end up getting into arguments with people I don’t know, and I don’t want to waste energy on that. However, after my friend left an impassioned comment regarding her concerns about Trump to her townie friend from Gloucester, I felt compelled to respond. This was what I posted:

Don’t forget rapist… Trump is a rapist, too… with ties to Jeffrey Epstein.

My friend’s friend responded with this comment:

I think if you knew what your talking about Bill Clinton had 26 documented flights with Jeffrey Epstein-look up your facts & stop watching CNN & you might sound a little smarter

Okay… first off, it really bugs me when people bring up Bill Clinton in a discussion about Donald Trump. Bill Clinton was the president from 1992-2000. He is NOT the president now. Neither is his wife. And, guess what… I didn’t vote for EITHER of them. And secondly, we can’t do anything about Clinton. We CAN do something about Trump.

But this guy happened to catch me before my coffee and morning constitutionals, so this was my response:

I was not a Clinton fan, either. I don’t like rapists, and Trump not only raped his first wife, but he also raped teenagers. Your whataboutism is pathetic, and believe me, anyone who still supports Donald Trump is an idiot of EPIC proportions.

So he wrote this:

I have no idea were your getting your facts from-probably CNN very honest network 🤦‍♀️ but I appreciate y’all’s input but I have to go to sleep so I can work tomm-millions on welfare depending on me

Hmm… I don’t sound smart? I’ve copied his responses word for word. I wasn’t going to respond again, because trying to communicate with these folks is a losing proposition. But who knows? Maybe someone reading that thread will learn something new. So I decided to leave a parting shot. It’s one I’ve written about in my blog more than a few times, but here it is for anyone wondering…

I read books written by people who do credible research and I avoid Fox News. It’s a fact that Trump raped his first wife. It was part of their divorce proceedings. She even called it rape at the time, but then later recanted, probably because Trump paid her. The way it was described certainly fit the definition of rape. He was angry with her because she had recommended a surgeon for his hair transplant surgery. He was in pain, so he took it out on her sexually. You can easily find the account if you search for it.  

As for Trump’s penchant for teens… I find Katie Johnson’s account very credible, especially after what has come out about Jeffrey Epstein. You seem like the type of person who blames victims, though, so I won’t be surprised if this doesn’t move you or if you don’t even bother to listen to what she has to say.  

And finally, I was actually a Republican voter during the Clinton era. I didn’t vote for either of the Clintons. Last presidential election, I voted third party because I couldn’t stomach either choice. Since I voted in Texas by absentee ballot, I realized it didn’t matter. You should not assume that everyone who dislikes Trump is a Clinton fan. A lot of us aren’t, although I think both Bill and Hillary Clinton are miles better than Trump is. Besides, Bill Clinton has already been POTUS and there is nothing we can do about that now, so bringing him up in a discussion about Trump is pretty pointless. We can’t do anything about Clinton. We can do something about Trump.

I vote for people, not political parties, but even if Trump weren’t an admitted pussy grabber, I would not have voted for him. He’s been a well known scumbag for decades. And I can see by the way things are right now that my instincts about him are 100% correct.

And I left this video in the comment.

I’ve shared it a few times. I’m sharing it again.

Two days ago, I logged into Netflix for the first time in a few months. I was moved to watch Netflix on account of a public post made by Dr. Gene Fant, my tenth grade homeroom teacher, who is now the president of a Christian university in South Carolina. He wrote of the four part documentary Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich. I would like to share his post here, but it’s very long. I recommend reading it, since it’s public. Dr. Fant used to live and work in Palm Beach, Florida, where many of Jeffrey Epstein’s disgusting exploits with teenaged girls took place.

Jeffrey Epstein used his money and power to abuse hundreds of women and girls. He and his former girlfriend, Ghislaine Maxwell, ran a sort of teen girl pyramid scheme. Maxwell would recruit beautiful young women with promises of work and lucrative pay to come to Epstein’s homes and give him massages. Eventually, the young women, hopelessly ensnared in Epstein’s filthy rich world would wind up recruiting other young girls into his lair, where they would end up servicing his filthy rich friends… people like former president Bill Clinton, Prince Andrew, and yes, Donald Trump. Katie Johnson, in the above video, offers a very credible account of what happened to her at the hands of Trump and Epstein. I believed her when I first discovered the video, filmed in 2016, at some point last summer. I believe her even more now, as I listened to other women tell stories that were very similar but less explicit than Katie Johnson’s.

The documentary shows Epstein’s lavish homes in Palm Beach, Florida, Santa Fe, New Mexico, and New York City, as well as his private island in the U.S. Virgin Islands. I was stunned by the natural beauty of the island, known as “Little St. Jeff’s”. It was reportedly his favorite place because it is so remote and isolated. He brought powerful people there– mostly men– and trapped beautiful young women there who would inevitably wind up being raped. Some people would come just for dinner… but plenty of powerful men were there for orgies. And the women lured there, many times very young, in troubling personal circumstances, and financially strapped, were promised legitimate work. Instead, they were basically trafficked by people who literally bought and sold them.

If you can stomach it, watch it.

Filthy Rich is a disturbing documentary. Most of us can’t fathom the world Jeffrey Epstein lived in, surrounded by extremely wealthy, powerful, famous people whom he could force into silence because he had the goods on them. Epstein was convinced he’d never be caught or prosecuted because he pretty much “owned” people in power. He had video cameras everywhere, so if any of his rich and powerful friends ever had an attack of conscience, he could make sure they went down with him. And he probably figured that regular folks– prosecutors or police chiefs– would not have the courage to go after him, even when the women he victimized spoke out. Fortunately, he was wrong, although his victims will never get the satisfaction of seeing him prosecuted or getting compensated for what he did to them.

Seriously… if I don’t laugh, I’ll cry.

Donald Trump was a part of that world. So was Bill Clinton. Both have been presidents, tasked with leading the most powerful country in the world… although it appears that the United States is now about to sink into decline. Trump is now acting like an unhinged dictator wannabe.

I know a lot of people voted for Trump in 2016 because they saw him as the less evil choice. The Clintons had been in power before, and Hillary Clinton is definitely not a paragon of virtue. Many people did not want to vote for her because they figured they already knew her. I do think she would have been a much better president than Trump is… but I also think that almost anyone in government would do better than Trump has. I also think Bill Clinton was a much better president than Trump is, but he’s basically the same type of person. He lies, and uses and exploits people, especially women, to get what he wants. Of course, all politicians lie to some extent, but some are much worse than others.

He was there… in the thick of it all.

In 2016, Trump was untested as a leader, and he had charisma. He’d been on his own reality TV show. It was a popular show and Trump was supposedly entertaining. I never saw the show myself, so I don’t know if he actually was entertaining. People were tired of career politicians. They saw Trump as a straight shooter and plain talker. They thought he had the moxie to get things done. He talked a good game. I’ll admit, even I thought he was better than Ted Cruz, although I don’t feel that way now. His presidency has been a shameful, embarrassing, terrifying disaster. But he never should have been considered in the first place, because of his record of raping women… and because he was also an established racist as early as the 1970s.

From 2016… we were warned about Trump’s racism.

But now that Filthy Rich has come out, and it’s well established that Donald Trump was in Jeffrey Epstein’s vile sphere, I can’t see how anyone with a shred of decency can continue to champion him. He’s a disgrace, and he has no problem victimizing people to get what he wants. He’s trying to turn the United States into his own private fiefdom. Even if the elections go on in November and he is defeated, he will probably not leave power quietly. And there will still be people like the gentleman I referenced at the beginning of this post who will continue to cheer him on… because they are white men of a certain age who see their power slipping away because of emboldened people who are now confronting them about their privilege.

Anyway… I didn’t enjoy Filthy Rich, but I do think it’s very important viewing. Extremely wealthy and powerful people have privileges that most people can’t fathom. Jeffrey Epstein could have easily gotten away with his crimes if not for the bravery of the women who came forward… and the legal professionals who vowed to hold him accountable.

Edited to add: I don’t usually do this, but I decided to leave one more comment for my friend’s Trump supporting friend who thinks I get my news from CNN…

Here’s an excerpt of an article about a book that came out in 1993 about Trump’s sexual attack on his ex wife, Ivana Trump. After I read the article, I read the book, “Lost Tycoon”, which was published decades before Trump was a serious contender for POTUS.  

Aside from that, there are many references to the kind of person Trump has always been, to include his racist policies regarding his rental properties. And I didn’t find them on CNN. In fact, I have subscriptions to three different newspapers, and that’s where I get most of my news.

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Trump

One of the saddest things about Trump as president…

…is that he emboldens racists and blatantly racist thinking. I am seeing some disappointing attitudes on bold display from friends and family members that change the way I feel about them. Some of these folks have bought in so much to “Trump think” that they can’t see that the “emperor is not wearing any clothes”. They haven’t been listening to the scary and downright crazy things Trump has been saying lately, or if they have been listening, they cheer it on without thinking about what it really means. All that seems to matter to them is that a white, “conservative” man is in office, and he “beat” Hillary Clinton. Do we really want another Civil War? Do people not realize that the first one was extremely bloody and resulted in a lot of death and destruction? Would Trump and his followers really prefer to see the end of the world as we know it?

Today’s featured picture was on the Facebook timeline of someone for whom I used to have a lot of respect. I used to think my aunt’s brother, Ralph, was a great person. He met Bill before I did and reassured me that Bill was a good man before I met him offline. He served as a state trooper in Virginia for years and trained so many police officers before he got hurt and had to retire. He spent years in the National Guard, which is how he met Bill offline.

For a long time, I was Facebook friends with this man. I tried to be patient with him because he was “family”. I ignored a lot of his more offensive postings and tried to be tolerant when he would lecture me about using “off color language” on my Facebook page, even though I have long been over 21 years of age. I finally removed him from my social media when he chastised me one too many times for swearing. I also got tired of arguing with him about politics. Ralph is a diehard conservative and extreme Trump supporter. When we were Facebook friends, he occasionally liked to insert himself in arguments on my page and berate me for being “liberal”.

For the record, I really don’t think of myself as liberal or conservative, per se. I don’t typically vote for liberal candidates, although I probably will in next month’s election. I am also not particularly a fan of being overly politically correct. In fact, I think most everyone is a “little bit racist”, as the song in Avenue Q goes. We all notice and judge people who are different than we are. But to so openly disdain people without any regard for how it comes across or realization that they are fellow human beings is totally abhorrent to me.

I deleted Ralph because I got tired of being lectured, condescended to, and insulted for having a different perspective. He regularly made rude comments about how Bill and I moved to Germany and Bill is “double dipping”, as he put it– getting a salary and military retirement. I thought that was funny, since Ralph gets both a military and police pension, plus his wife is a retired Army colonel. But anyway, he seems to have lost basic respect for us because we left America for Bill’s work. It doesn’t matter that Bill works for the United States and is a fellow veteran. It doesn’t matter that his sister married my uncle, and they were, at one time, my favorite people in the world. Suddenly, I’m not worthy because I don’t support Donald Trump… and, I suspect, because I am female and dare to swear on my own Facebook page. I wonder… is it more offensive to use the word “fuck” than to post a racist picture of a laughing Mexican?

I stopped being “friends” with several relatives, mainly due to Donald Trump and his vile racist, classist, and misogynistic rhetoric and their enthusiastic support of it. It makes me so sad, because there was a time when we were family *and* friends, and we enjoyed being together. I miss my family, but I can’t stomach the idea of going home to a place where Trump is celebrated. It doesn’t have anything to do with his being a “Republican”, either. It’s the fact that he is simply an awful person, and there are multiple, well-known examples of how I came to the conclusion that he’s awful. Incidentally, it wasn’t until recently that Trump identified as a Republican… and I would bet money that he’s paid for at least one abortion, especially since he is a well known “friend” of deceased child abuser Jeffrey Epstein. Again– I don’t despise Trump because he is a Republican. I despise him because he’s a terrible person, and he brings out the absolute worst in people.

Birds of a feather. But… in fairness, Bill Clinton and Prince Andrew were also linked to Epstein.

It’s very sad to me that my relative by marriage, who spent so many years serving the community, has put on vivid display his disdain for non-whites. When Bill left a disappointed comment on Ralph’s Facebook page, he got this response:

Not exactly, Ralph… because I will also be voting.

I originally thought about leaving a disgusted comment for Ralph, but I’ve decided it’s a waste of time. I feel sad, because it’s like I’ve lost my family to this president. So many people I once had great respect and love for have fallen into the mire of obvious contempt for their fellow man, all because they “like” Trump’s divisive and increasingly unhinged and demented communications to the world. It’s very depressing. Even if you don’t have respect for so-called “liberals”, you can at least have basic respect for them as fellow human beings. Naked racism on display is just so sad. I would have liked to have believed we were better than this by now.

No wonder I was clinically depressed when I was young… look at my role models!

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stupid people

Apparently, Jeffrey Epstein is alive and well…

There’s a lot I’d love to write about today, but I’ve decided to keep things light. Yesterday, I read a hilarious story about a batshit wingnut named Rick Wiles. I’ve written about him before. He comes up with some extremely ludicrous theories that are so ridiculous they’re funny.

If you’ve been following the news, you probably know about multi-millionaire Jeffrey Epstein, who hob-knobbed with the likes of Donald Trump, Prince Andrew, and Bill Clinton. Epstein is now deceased. He apparently killed himself in his New York jail cell on August 10th. Prior to his death, Epstein was in jail for sex trafficking and molesting girls. A lot of people in high places were concerned about his arrest and what it might mean for them, personally. Consequently, in the days following Epstein’s apparent suicide, some people hypothesized that perhaps he was murdered by someone who wanted him to keep quiet.

Rick Wiles, who is known for his insane, right wing, Christian video stupidity on his show, TruNews, recently said on camera that he thinks Mr. Epstein is alive and has received a new identity. He claims Epstein is in a new country, has turned his life around and no longer molests children, and has had a “face transplant” or even a “head transplant”. Say what?

This is totally nuts!

When I read about this foolishness yesterday, I couldn’t help but remember an infamous episode of The Golden Girls in which Blanche, Rose, and Dorothy have had their heads frozen to be implanted on new bodies in the future. Behold…

Could Epstein be in this situation? Or is it just a dream?

I don’t think Mr. Epstein is “alive and well”. I think he’s dead, and no one will ever be victimized by him again. Unfortunately, his victims may never get the closure they seek. In the days before his death, Epstein signed a new will that will make it harder for to get access to his money… $577 million. I’m sure this case will be tied up in court for a long time, which will bring more pain and suffering on his victims. But at least no other girls will be harmed by him, so that is a small comfort.

In Rick Wiles’ defense… at least he finally acknowledges that Trump is crazy…

What took you so long to notice, Rick? And who are you to talk about people in “woo woo world”?

I think we’re all going to hell in a handbasket.

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