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Archive for October 21st, 2016

REMOVE SKIN In the GAME:  Like “What would you do?”

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REMOVE SKIN IN THE GAME.
Recall from Antifragile and earlier discussions here that a doctor’s answer would be different if you put (emotionally speaking) his skin in the game by asking him “what would you do?” instead of “what should I do?”

The opposite works equally well.

A trick I did use as a trader: under pressure, to remove the emotional burden and the loss of mental clarity, you imagine that you are someone else in the situation.

That someone else should be some precise person, in flesh and blood, say X.

What should X do now? buy more? liquidate, etc.

It applies to any decision, say “should X buy this house?”

You can use the strategy in a lot of dilemmas. Replace yourself with X, and ask: “should X resign because of ethics?”

No one came to court with her that day, except her public defender.

December 16, 2015

Ken Armstrong is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter who previously worked at The Seattle Times and Chicago Tribune, where his work helped prompt the Illinois governor to suspend executions and later empty death row. He has been the McGraw Professor of Writing at Princeton and a Nieman Fellow at Harvard.

Illustrations by Wesley Allsbrook. Photography by Benjamin Rasmussen. Design and production by Rob Weychert and David Sleight for ProPublica, Andy Rossback and Lisa Iaboni for The Marshall Project.

No one came to court with her that day, except her public defender.

She was 18 years old, charged with a gross misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail.

Rarely do misdemeanors draw notice. Her case was one of 4,859 filed in 2008 in Lynnwood Municipal Court, a place where the judge says the goal is “to correct behavior — to make Lynnwood a better, safer, healthier place to live, work, shop and visit.”

But her misdemeanor had made the news, and made her an object of curiosity or, worse, scorn. It had cost her the newfound independence she was savoring after a life in foster homes. It had cost her sense of worth. Each ring of the phone seemed to announce another friendship, lost. A friend from 10th grade called to ask: How could you lie about something like that? Marie — that’s her middle name, Marie — didn’t say anything. She just listened, then hung up. Even her foster parents now doubted her. She doubted herself, wondering if there was something in her that needed to be fixed.

She had reported being raped in her apartment by a man who had bound and gagged her. Then, confronted by police with inconsistencies in her story, she had conceded it might have been a dream. Then she admitted making the story up. One TV newscast announced, “A Western Washington woman has confessed that she cried wolf when it came to her rape she reported earlier this week.” She had been charged with filing a false report, which is why she was here today, to accept or turn down a plea deal.

Her lawyer was surprised she had been charged. Her story hadn’t hurt anyone — no suspects arrested, or even questioned. His guess was, the police felt used. They don’t appreciate having their time wasted.

The prosecution’s offer was this: If she met certain conditions for the next year, the charge would be dropped. She would need to get mental health counseling for her lying. She would need to go on supervised probation. She would need to keep straight, breaking no more laws. And she would have to pay $500 to cover the court’s costs.

Marie wanted this behind her.

She took the deal.

She does not know if she attended kindergarten.

She remembers being hungry and eating dog food.

She reports entering foster care at age 6 or 7.

The report on Marie’s life — written by a mental health expert who interviewed her for five hours — is written with clinical detachment, describing her life before she entered foster care …

She met her biological father only once.

She reports not knowing much about her biological mother, who she said would often leave her in the care of boyfriends.

She was sexually and physically abused.

… and after, with:

adult caregivers and professionals coming in and then out of her life, some distressing or abusive experiences, and a general lack of permanency.

“I moved a lot when I was younger,” Marie says in an interview. “I was in group homes, too. About two of those and probably 10 or 11 foster homes.”

“I was on like seven different drugs. And Zoloft is an adult drug — I was on that at 8.”

Marie has two brothers and a sister on her mother’s side. Sometimes she was placed in foster homes with her siblings. More often they were separated.

No one really explained why she was being moved, or what was going on. She was just moved.

After Marie became a teenager, her years of upheaval appeared at an end. Her foster family was going to adopt her. “I really loved the family and I made a lot of friends,” Marie says.

The first day of the first year of high school fills many students with anxiety. Marie couldn’t wait for it. She had gotten all the classes she wanted. She had a social circle. She felt like she belonged.

But on the first day, a support counselor came to the school and told Marie the family had lost its foster care license. She couldn’t live with them anymore. The counselor couldn’t offer any more details.

“I pretty much just cried,” Marie says. “I basically had 20 minutes to pack my stuff and go.”

Until something more permanent could be found, Marie moved in with Shannon McQuery and her husband in Bellevue, a booming, high-tech suburb east of Seattle. Shannon, a real estate agent and longtime foster mom, had met Marie through meetings for kids with troubled pasts and had sensed a kindred spirit.

Shannon and Marie were both “kind of goofy,” Shannon says. “We could laugh at each other and make fun. We were a lot alike.” Despite all Marie had been through, “she wasn’t bitter,” Shannon says. She kept in touch with previous foster families. She could carry on a conversation with adults. She didn’t have to be pushed out the door to school.

But no matter her affection for Marie, Shannon knew they couldn’t keep her, because the foster child already in their home required so much care. “We were really sad that we weren’t able to have her with us,” Shannon says.

Marie left Shannon’s home after a couple of weeks to move in with Peggy Cunningham, who worked as a children’s advocate at a homeless shelter and lived in Lynnwood, a smaller suburb about 15 miles north of Seattle. She was Peggy’s first foster child.

“I was preparing for a baby. I had a crib — and they gave me a 16-year-old,” Peggy says, with a laugh. “And it was fine. I have a background in mental health and I’ve been working with kids for a really long time. And I think the agency just thought, ‘She can handle it.’ So.”

At first, Marie didn’t want to live with Peggy. Marie was used to being around other kids. Peggy didn’t have any. Marie liked dogs. Peggy had two cats. “Our personalities didn’t match at first either,” Marie says. “It was hard to get along. For me it seems like people read me differently than I see myself.”

Peggy, who had received a file two to three inches thick documenting Marie’s history, was surprised at how well she was coping. Marie was into boys, drawing and music, be it rock, country, or Christian. “She was very bubbly and full of energy, but she also had her moments where she could be very intense,” Peggy says. Like kids most everywhere, Marie wanted to fit in. She picked out a feminine white coat with a fur collar because she thought that’s what girls were supposed to wear, but then kept the coat in the closet when she realized it wasn’t.

Recognizing that Marie’s high school wasn’t a great fit — “pretty cliquey,” Peggy says — Peggy found an alternative school that was. Marie settled in. She remained close with Shannon, who would joke that she and Peggy were raising Marie together — Shannon the fun one (let’s go boating), Peggy the disciplinarian (be home by …).

<img src=”//static.propublica.org/projects/maries-story/assets/img/generated/illo-happy-480*439-dc018b.jpg” alt=”” />

Through friends, Marie met Jordan Schweitzer, a high school student working at a McDonald’s. In time, they became boyfriend and girlfriend. “She was just a nice person to have around. She was always nice to talk to,” Jordan says.

Marie figures her happiest years were when she was 16 and 17, and the happiest day may have been one she spent with her best friend, another high school student who was teaching Marie the fine points of camerawork.

“I would spend hours at the beach watching the sunset go down and that was one of my favorite things. There was a particular photo that I really liked that she took. We went to the ocean, it was like 7 o’clock at night, I don’t know what we were thinking, I got in there and I jumped out and swung my hair back.”

Instead of finishing high school, Marie went for her GED. She was 17, starting to stay out late, worrying Peggy, creating tension between the two. In the spring of 2008, Marie turned 18. She could have stayed with Peggy, provided she abided by certain rules. But Marie wanted to set out on her own.

Peggy, searching online, discovered a pilot program called Project Ladder. Launched the year before, the program was designed to help young adults who had grown up in foster care transition to living on their own. Case managers would show participants the dos and don’ts of shopping for groceries, handling a credit card, buying insurance. “The rules about life,” Marie says. Best of all, Project Ladder provided subsidized housing, with each member getting a one-bedroom apartment.

“This was a godsend,” Peggy says.

There were few slots, but Marie secured one. She was a little scared, but any trepidation was tempered by a sense of pride. She moved into the Alderbrooke Apartments, a woodsy complex that advertises proximity to a mall and views of the Cascades. She also landed her first job, offering food samples to customers at Costco. Six hours on her feet didn’t bother her. She enjoyed chatting with people, free from pressure to sell.

So many kids, institutionalized, wound up on drugs or in jail. Marie had made it through.

“It was just nice to be on my own and not have all the rules that I had had being in foster care,” Marie says. “It was just like, freedom.

“It was awesome.”

A little before 9 on a Monday morning, two Lynnwood police detectives responded to a report of rape at the Alderbrooke Apartments. A couple of other officers were already there, protecting the crime scene. A K-9 officer was outside, his dog trying to pick up a scent.

The detectives, Sgt. Jeffrey Mason and Jerry Rittgarn, found the victim, Marie, on a couch, in a blanket, crying off and on. She was accompanied by her foster mother, Peggy Cunningham, and by Wayne Nash, her case manager with Project Ladder.

Marie, who had turned 18 three months before, told police she had been talking on the phone much of the night with her friend Jordan. After finally falling asleep, she was awakened by a man with a knife — and then tied up, blindfolded, gagged and raped. The man wore a condom, she believed. As for what her attacker looked like, Marie could offer few details. White man, gray sweater. The attack seemed to last a long time, Marie told police, but she couldn’t say for sure. It was all a blur.

Marie said that after the rapist left she had managed, with her feet, to retrieve some scissors from a cabinet’s bottom drawer; she cut herself free, then tried calling Jordan. When Jordan didn’t answer, Marie called her foster mother, then her upstairs neighbor, who came down to Marie’s apartment and called 911.

Mason, then 39, had spent his years mostly in patrol and narcotics. His longest law-enforcement stint had been with a small police department in Oregon, where he served for almost nine years and received a medal of valor. He was hired by Lynnwood in 2003, and served on a narcotics task force. He was promoted to sergeant — and transferred to the Criminal Investigations Division — six weeks before the report of Marie’s assault. He had previously worked only one or two rape cases. But this investigation was his to lead.

Rittgarn had been with the department for 11 years, the last four as a detective. He had previously worked as a technician in the aerospace industry. Before that, he had served in the Marine Corps, specializing in helicopter avionics.

The Lynnwood Police Department had 79 sworn officers, serving a city of about 34,000 people. In 2008, Marie’s case was one of 10 rape reports the department fielded; with so few, the Criminal Investigations Division didn’t have a separate sex crimes unit.

By the time Marie reported being assaulted, sex crime specialists had developed protocols that recognized the challenges and sensitivity of investigating rape cases. These guidelines, available to all police departments, detailed common missteps.

Investigators, one guide advised, should not assume that a true victim will be hysterical rather than calm; able to show clear signs of physical injury; and certain of every detail. Some victims confuse fine points or even recant. Nor should police get lost in stereotypes — believing, for example, that an adult victim will be more believable than an adolescent.

Police should not interrogate victims or threaten to use a polygraph device. Lie-detector tests are especially unreliable with people who have been traumatized, and can destroy the victim’s trust in law enforcement. Many states bar police from using them with rape victims.

Police, walking around Marie’s apartment, discovered that the rear sliding glass door was unlocked and slightly ajar. It led to a back porch, with a wooden railing that was covered with dirt — except one part, about three feet wide, where it looked like maybe someone had brushed the surface while climbing over. On the bed officers found a shoestring — used, apparently, to bind Marie.

On top of a computer monitor they found a second shoestring, tied to a pair of underwear, the apparent blindfold or gag. Both laces had come from Marie’s black tennis shoes, in the living room. Next to the bed was a black-handled knife. Marie said the knife was hers — that it had come from the kitchen, and was what the rapist had used to threaten her. Police found Marie’s purse on the bedroom floor, her wallet on the bed and her learner’s permit, for some reason removed from her wallet, on a bedroom window sill.

<img src=”//static.propublica.org/projects/maries-story/assets/img/generated/illo-shoelaces-480*567-0ef850.jpg” alt=”” />

Mason told Marie she needed to go to the hospital for a sexual assault examination. After Marie left, accompanied by her foster mom and case manager, the detectives helped process the scene. Looking for a condom or its wrapper, Rittgarn checked the bathroom, trash cans and a nearby hillside, but came up empty. The dog, outside, had tracked to the south, toward an office building, but was unable to lead officers to anything that might identify the rapist.

At the hospital, medical staff collected more than a dozen swabs from Marie. Labs were taken for hepatitis, chlamydia, HIV. Marie received Zithromax and Suprax for possible exposure to sexually transmitted diseases, and an emergency contraceptive pill.

The medical report noted abrasions to Marie’s wrists and to her vagina. The bruising on her right wrist measured 6.5 centimeters, or about 2.5 inches, the one on her left, 7 centimeters.

During the exam, the medical report said, Marie was “alert and oriented, and in no acute distress.”

On the day she reported being raped, Marie phoned Shannon, her former foster mom, after getting back from the hospital. “She called and said, ‘I’ve been raped,’” Shannon says. “There was just no emotion. It was like she was telling me that she’d made a sandwich.” That Marie wasn’t hysterical, or even upset, made Shannon wonder if Marie was telling the truth.

The next day, when Shannon saw Marie at her apartment, her doubts intensified. In the kitchen, when Shannon walked in, Marie didn’t meet her gaze. “That seemed very strange,” Shannon says. “We would always hug and she would look you right in the eye.” In the bedroom, Marie seemed casual, with nothing to suggest that something horrible had happened there.

Outside, Marie “was on the grass, rolling around and giggling and laughing,” Shannon says. And when the two went to buy new bedding — Marie’s old bedding having been taken as evidence — Marie became furious when she couldn’t find the same set. “Why would you want to have the same sheets and bedspread to look at every day when you’d been raped on this bed set?” Shannon thought to herself.

Peggy, too, was mystified by Marie’s demeanor. When Marie called her on that first day, before the police arrived, “she was crying and I could barely hear her,” Peggy says. “Her voice was like this little tiny voice, and I couldn’t really tell. It didn’t sound real to me. … It sounded like a lot of drama, too, in some ways.” At the time, Peggy had new foster children — two sisters, both teenagers. Not long before, Marie had accompanied Peggy and the sisters and Peggy’s boyfriend on a picnic. To Peggy’s mind, Marie had spent the afternoon trying to get attention — so much so that Peggy now wondered if this was more of the same, only more desperate.

After rushing to the apartment that morning, Peggy found Marie on the floor, crying. “But it was so strange because I sat down next to her, and she was telling me what happened, and I got this — I’m a big Law & Order fan, and I just got this really weird feeling,” Peggy says. “It was like, I felt like she was telling me the script of a Law & Order story.” Part of it was what Marie was saying. Why would a rapist use shoelaces to tie her up? And part of it was how Marie was saying it: “She seemed so detached and removed emotionally.”

The two women who had helped raise Marie talked on the phone. Peggy told Shannon she had doubts. Shannon said she did, too. Neither had known Marie to be a liar — to exaggerate, sure, to want attention, sure — but now, both knew they weren’t alone in wondering if Marie had made this up.

On Aug. 12, the day after Marie reported being raped, Sgt. Mason’s telephone rang. The caller “related that [Marie] had a past history of trying to get attention and the person was questioning whether the ‘rape’ had occurred,” Mason later wrote.

Mason’s report didn’t identify the caller — but the caller was Peggy.

She called police to share her concerns. Mason then came to her home and interviewed her in person. When she told police of her skepticism, she asked to be treated anonymously. “I didn’t want it to get back to Marie,” Peggy says. “I was trying to be a good citizen, actually. You know? I didn’t want them to waste their resources on something that might be, you know, this personal drama going on.”

In addition, Mason had received a tip that Marie was unhappy with her apartment. Maybe she was making up the rape to get moved to a new one.

On Aug. 13, Marie met with Mason at the Lynnwood police station and turned in a written statement, describing what happened. The statement was only one page. But to Mason, there was one critical passage. Marie wrote that the attacker said she could untie herself once he was gone:

After he left I grabbed my phone (which was right next to my head) with my mouth and I tried to call Jordan back. He didn’t answer so I called my foster mom. … She came right away. I got off the phone with her and tried to untie myself.

This didn’t square with what Marie had previously told Mason. Before, she told the detective she had tried calling Jordan after cutting the laces. In this written statement, she described calling him while still tied up.

Later that day, Mason talked to Rittgarn, his fellow detective, and said that — based on Marie’s inconsistencies, and based on what he had learned from Peggy and Jordan — he now believed Marie had made up the story.

The fear of false rape accusations has a long history in the legal system. In the 1600s, England’s chief justice, Matthew Hale, warned that rape “is an accusation easily to be made and hard to be proved, and harder to be defended by the party accused.” Judges in the U.S. read the so-called Hale warning to juries until the 1980s. But most recent research suggests that false reporting is relatively rare.

FBI figures show that police annually declare around 5 percent of rape cases unfounded, or baseless. Social scientists examining police records in detail and using methodologically rigorous standards cite similar, single-digit rates.

The next morning, Mason went to Jordan’s home to interview him. Jordan told the detective that he and Marie had stopped dating a couple months back but remained good friends. He said nothing about doubting Marie’s story, according to Mason’s written summary. But he did say Marie had told him: When she tried calling him that morning, she had used her toes, because she was tied up.

Later that day — Aug. 14, three days after Marie reported being raped — Mason called Marie, to ask if they could meet. He said he could come and pick her up, to take her to the police station.

“Am I in trouble?” Marie asked the detective.

In Sgt. Mason’s experience, when someone asked if they were in trouble, almost always, they were.

When Mason, accompanied by Detective Rittgarn, went to pick up Marie at about 3:30 p.m., they found her outside her apartment, sitting on the grass. The three went to the Lynnwood police station, where the detectives escorted Marie to a conference room.

From what Mason wrote up later, he wasted little time confronting Marie, telling her there were inconsistencies between her statements and accounts from other witnesses. Marie said she didn’t know of any discrepancies. But she went through the story again — only this time, saying she believed the rape had happened instead of saying it for certain. Tearfully, she described her past — all the foster parents, being raped when she was 7, getting her own place and feeling alone.

Rittgarn told Marie that her story and the evidence didn’t match. He said he believed she had made the story up — a spur-of-the-moment thing, not something planned out. He asked if there was really a rapist running around the neighborhood that the police should be looking for. “No,” Marie told him, her voice soft, her eyes down.

“Based on her answers and body language it was apparent that [Marie] was lying about the rape,” Rittgarn later wrote.

Without reading Marie her rights — you have the right to an attorney, you have the right to remain silent — the detectives asked Marie to write out the true story, admitting she had lied, admitting, in effect, that she had committed a crime. She agreed, so they left her alone for a few minutes. On the form she filled in her name, address and Social Security number, and then she wrote, in part:

I was talking to Jordan on the phone that night about his day and just about anything. After I got off the phone with him, I started thinking about all things I was stressed out and I also was scared living on my own. When I went to sleep I dreamed that someone broke in and raped me.

When the detectives returned, they saw that Marie’s new statement described the rape as a dream, not a lie.

Why didn’t you write that you made the story up? Rittgarn asked.

Marie, crying, said she believed the rape really happened. She pounded the table and said she was “pretty positive.”

Pretty positive or actually positive? Rittgarn asked.

Maybe the rape happened and I blacked it out, Marie said.

What do you think should happen to someone who would lie about something like this? Rittgarn asked Marie.

“I should get counseling,” Marie said.

Mason returned to the evidence. He told Marie that her description of calling Jordan was different from what Jordan had reported.

Marie, her face in her hands, looked down. Then “her eyes darted back and forth as if she was thinking of a response.”

The detectives doubled back to what she had said before — about being stressed, being lonely — and, eventually, Marie appeared to relax. She stopped crying. She even laughed a little. She apologized — and agreed to write another statement, leaving no doubt it was a lie.

I have had a lot of stressful things going on and I wanted to hang out with someone and no one was able to so I made up this story and didn’t expect it to go as far as it did. … I don’t know why I couldn’t have done something different. This was never meant to happen.

This statement appeared to satisfy the detectives. Rittgarn would later write, “Based on our interview with [Marie] and the inconsistencies found by Sgt. Mason in some of the statements we were confident that [Marie] was now telling us the truth that she had not been raped.”

To Marie, it seemed the questioning had lasted for hours. She did what she always did when under stress. She flipped the switch, as she called it, suppressing all the feelings she didn’t know what to do with. Before she confessed to making up the story, she couldn’t look the two detectives, the two men, in the eye. Afterward, she could. Afterward, she smiled. She went into the bathroom and cleaned up. Flipping the switch was a relief — and it would let her leave.

The next day, Marie told Wayne Nash, her case manager at Project Ladder, that the police didn’t believe her. Recognizing the jeopardy she was in, she said she wanted a lawyer.

The Project Ladder managers instead reached out to Sgt. Mason. He told them the evidence didn’t support Marie’s story, and that she had taken her story back.

But now, Marie wouldn’t give. On Aug. 18, one week after she reported being raped, she met with the two Project Ladder managers and insisted she had signed the recantation under duress. The three then went to the police station so Marie could recant her recantation — that is, tell detectives that she had been telling the truth the first time.

While the program managers waited outside, Marie met with Rittgarn and another officer.

Rittgarn asked Marie what was going on. Marie said she really had been raped — and began to cry, saying she was having visions of the man on top of her. She wanted to take a lie detector test. Rittgarn told Marie that if she took the test and failed, she would be booked into jail. What’s more, he would recommend that Project Ladder pull her housing assistance.

Marie backed down. The police officers walked her downstairs, where the Project Ladder representatives asked if she had been raped. Marie said no.

After leaving the police station, Marie learned that she still wasn’t through. There was something else she had to do. The Project Ladder managers told Marie that if she wanted to stay in the program — if she wanted to keep her subsidized apartment — she would have to confess to someone else.

<img src=”//static.propublica.org/projects/maries-story/assets/img/generated/illo-group-480*387-279824.jpg” alt=”” />

Later that day a meeting was called at the housing complex, with all of Marie’s peers gathered in a circle. Marie, as directed, told her fellow participants in Project Ladder that she had lied about being raped. They didn’t need to worry, she told the group. There was no one out there who had hurt her and no one who might hurt them next.

If there was sympathy in the room, Marie sensed it from only one person, the young woman to her right. The rest was awkward, excruciating silence.

After the meeting, Marie started walking to a friend’s place. On her way, she crossed a bridge. She considered jumping. “Probably the only time I just wanted to die in my life,” she says. She called a friend and said, “Please come get me before I do something stupid.” Afterward, Marie hurled her phone over the side.

Later that month, there was a final surprise. Marie got a letter, notifying her that she was wanted in court. She had been charged with false reporting, punishable by up to a year in jail. The criminal citation was signed by Sgt. Mason. Afterward, the paperwork went to a small law firm that Lynnwood had hired to prosecute misdemeanors.

For Mason, his decision to file the citation required no complicated calculus. He was certain Marie had lied. The police had spent a lot of resources chasing that lie. The law said her lie was a crime. Really, it was as simple as that.

There are no firm statistics on how often police arrest women for making false rape reports, nor on how often prosecutors take such cases to court. Nobody collects such data. But leading law enforcement organizations urge caution in filing such charges. The International Association of Chiefs of Police and the FBI stress the need for a thorough investigation before discounting a report of rape. Cops must work as hard to prove a falsehood as they do to prove a truth.

In practice, many police departments will pursue charges against women only in extreme circumstances — say, in a highly public case where a suspect’s reputation has suffered, or where the police have expended considerable investigative resources. This reluctance stems from the belief that in rape cases, the biggest problem is not false reporting, but no reporting. Only about one-fifth to one-third of rapes get reported to police, national surveys show. One reason is that women fear police won’t believe them.

Within days of reporting being raped, Marie had quit her job at Costco, unable to stand there, looking at people, lost in her head. Now, her losses mounted.

Project Ladder gave her a 9 p.m. curfew and doubled the number of times she had to meet with staff.

The media wrote about Marie being charged, without identifying her. (The Seattle Post-Intelligencer headline read, “Police: Lynnwood rape report was a hoax.”) Marie’s best friend from high school — the one who had taught her photography and had taken that picture of her emerging from the surf — created a webpage that called Marie a liar, with a photo from Marie’s Myspace page, with police reports, with Marie’s full name. Alerted to the site, Marie went into a frenzy, trashing her apartment.

Marie stopped going to church. “I was mad at God,” she says. She lost interest in photography. She feared going outdoors. “One night I did try to walk to the store by myself and felt like I hallucinated someone following me,” she says. “It freaked me out. I didn’t even get a half mile from my house. I ran home.” At home she avoided the bedroom, choosing to sleep on the couch with the lights on.

“I went into this dark hole,” she says.

Self-esteem gave way to self-loathing. She started smoking, drinking, gaining weight.

For Marie, this was a familiar drill, one she could trace to her years of being abused as a kid, and to her years in foster care, bouncing from home to home and school to school. Shut down. Hold it in. Act like nothing bad had happened, like nothing ever affected her. Because she craved normalcy, she would bury the hurt.

Neither Peggy nor Shannon abandoned her, but things weren’t the same. Marie knew that both had doubted her story, even before the police had.

For Marie, Shannon’s home had long provided an escape or respite. Marie and Shannon would walk in the woods, or take out the boat, then, at day’s end, crash in Shannon’s home. Now, fearful he could become the target of a wrongful accusation, Shannon’s husband decided it would be best if Marie no longer spent the night. “When you become a foster parent, you’re open to that,” Shannon says.

It fell to Shannon to break the news. Delivering it crushed her. Receiving it crushed Marie.

In early October, less than two months after Marie was charged with false reporting, a 63-year-old woman reported being raped inside her condominium in Kirkland, east of Seattle. The stranger wore gloves. He held a knife. He tied the woman up — with her own shoelaces. He took pictures and threatened to post them on the Internet. For the last two or three months, the woman told police, she felt as if someone had been following her.

Shannon saw an account of the attack on the television news and was taken aback. Her father had been the chief of police in Kent, south of Seattle. She grew up with police, trusted police, knew how the police worked. She went to her computer, looked up the number, and called — immediately — to alert police in Kirkland to Marie’s story, to advise them of all the parallels.

Shannon called Marie and suggested she also contact the Kirkland police. Marie never did.

“I was just too scared,” Marie says. She’d gone through so much already. She couldn’t bring herself to meet with the police again and say anything more. But she did go online and look up what happened to the woman in Kirkland. When she read the story, she cried.

A Kirkland detective eventually called Shannon back. Based on Shannon’s tip, Kirkland investigators had reached out to their Lynnwood counterparts and had been told the Lynnwood victim was no victim, the story had been made up.

One of the detectives working the Kirkland case was Audra Weber. She remembers calling the Lynnwood detectives twice and being told they didn’t believe Marie’s account. “I just kind of trusted their judgment, in terms of it’s their case, they know the details and I don’t,” Weber says. But she remembers being “kind of shocked” to learn that they had charged Marie. She let it go and hung up, thinking, “Okay, I hope that works out for you guys.”

In Sgt. Mason’s experience, when someone asked if they were in trouble, almost always, they were.

When Mason, accompanied by Detective Rittgarn, went to pick up Marie at about 3:30 p.m., they found her outside her apartment, sitting on the grass. The three went to the Lynnwood police station, where the detectives escorted Marie to a conference room.

From what Mason wrote up later, he wasted little time confronting Marie, telling her there were inconsistencies between her statements and accounts from other witnesses. Marie said she didn’t know of any discrepancies. But she went through the story again — only this time, saying she believed the rape had happened instead of saying it for certain. Tearfully, she described her past — all the foster parents, being raped when she was 7, getting her own place and feeling alone. Rittgarn told Marie that her story and the evidence didn’t match. He said he believed she had made the story up — a spur-of-the-moment thing, not something planned out. He asked if there was really a rapist running around the neighborhood that the police should be looking for. “No,” Marie told him, her voice soft, her eyes down.

“Based on her answers and body language it was apparent that [Marie] was lying about the rape,” Rittgarn later wrote.

Without reading Marie her rights — you have the right to an attorney, you have the right to remain silent — the detectives asked Marie to write out the true story, admitting she had lied, admitting, in effect, that she had committed a crime. She agreed, so they left her alone for a few minutes. On the form she filled in her name, address and Social Security number, and then she wrote, in part:

I was talking to Jordan on the phone that night about his day and just about anything. After I got off the phone with him, I started thinking about all things I was stressed out and I also was scared living on my own. When I went to sleep I dreamed that someone broke in and raped me.

When the detectives returned, they saw that Marie’s new statement described the rape as a dream, not a lie.

Why didn’t you write that you made the story up? Rittgarn asked.

Marie, crying, said she believed the rape really happened. She pounded the table and said she was “pretty positive.”

Pretty positive or actually positive? Rittgarn asked.

Maybe the rape happened and I blacked it out, Marie said.

What do you think should happen to someone who would lie about something like this? Rittgarn asked Marie.

“I should get counseling,” Marie said.

Mason returned to the evidence. He told Marie that her description of calling Jordan was different from what Jordan had reported.

Marie, her face in her hands, looked down. Then “her eyes darted back and forth as if she was thinking of a response.”

The detectives doubled back to what she had said before — about being stressed, being lonely — and, eventually, Marie appeared to relax. She stopped crying. She even laughed a little. She apologized — and agreed to write another statement, leaving no doubt it was a lie.

I have had a lot of stressful things going on and I wanted to hang out with someone and no one was able to so I made up this story and didn’t expect it to go as far as it did. … I don’t know why I couldn’t have done something different. This was never meant to happen.

This statement appeared to satisfy the detectives. Rittgarn would later write, “Based on our interview with [Marie] and the inconsistencies found by Sgt. Mason in some of the statements we were confident that [Marie] was now telling us the truth that she had not been raped.”

To Marie, it seemed the questioning had lasted for hours. She did what she always did when under stress. She flipped the switch, as she called it, suppressing all the feelings she didn’t know what to do with. Before she confessed to making up the story, she couldn’t look the two detectives, the two men, in the eye. Afterward, she could. Afterward, she smiled. She went into the bathroom and cleaned up. Flipping the switch was a relief — and it would let her leave.

The next day, Marie told Wayne Nash, her case manager at Project Ladder, that the police didn’t believe her. Recognizing the jeopardy she was in, she said she wanted a lawyer.

The Project Ladder managers instead reached out to Sgt. Mason. He told them the evidence didn’t support Marie’s story, and that she had taken her story back.

But now, Marie wouldn’t give. On Aug. 18, one week after she reported being raped, she met with the two Project Ladder managers and insisted she had signed the recantation under duress. The three then went to the police station so Marie could recant her recantation — that is, tell detectives that she had been telling the truth the first time.

While the program managers waited outside, Marie met with Rittgarn and another officer.

Rittgarn asked Marie what was going on. Marie said she really had been raped — and began to cry, saying she was having visions of the man on top of her. She wanted to take a lie detector test. Rittgarn told Marie that if she took the test and failed, she would be booked into jail. What’s more, he would recommend that Project Ladder pull her housing assistance.

Marie backed down. The police officers walked her downstairs, where the Project Ladder representatives asked if she had been raped. Marie said no.

After leaving the police station, Marie learned that she still wasn’t through. There was something else she had to do. The Project Ladder managers told Marie that if she wanted to stay in the program — if she wanted to keep her subsidized apartment — she would have to confess to someone else.

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Later that day a meeting was called at the housing complex, with all of Marie’s peers gathered in a circle. Marie, as directed, told her fellow participants in Project Ladder that she had lied about being raped. They didn’t need to worry, she told the group. There was no one out there who had hurt her and no one who might hurt them next.

If there was sympathy in the room, Marie sensed it from only one person, the young woman to her right. The rest was awkward, excruciating silence.

After the meeting, Marie started walking to a friend’s place. On her way, she crossed a bridge. She considered jumping. “Probably the only time I just wanted to die in my life,” she says. She called a friend and said, “Please come get me before I do something stupid.” Afterward, Marie hurled her phone over the side.

Later that month, there was a final surprise. Marie got a letter, notifying her that she was wanted in court. She had been charged with false reporting, punishable by up to a year in jail. The criminal citation was signed by Sgt. Mason. Afterward, the paperwork went to a small law firm that Lynnwood had hired to prosecute misdemeanors.

For Mason, his decision to file the citation required no complicated calculus. He was certain Marie had lied. The police had spent a lot of resources chasing that lie. The law said her lie was a crime. Really, it was as simple as that.

There are no firm statistics on how often police arrest women for making false rape reports, nor on how often prosecutors take such cases to court. Nobody collects such data. But leading law enforcement organizations urge caution in filing such charges. The International Association of Chiefs of Police and the FBI stress the need for a thorough investigation before discounting a report of rape. Cops must work as hard to prove a falsehood as they do to prove a truth.

In practice, many police departments will pursue charges against women only in extreme circumstances — say, in a highly public case where a suspect’s reputation has suffered, or where the police have expended considerable investigative resources. This reluctance stems from the belief that in rape cases, the biggest problem is not false reporting, but no reporting. Only about one-fifth to one-third of rapes get reported to police, national surveys show. One reason is that women fear police won’t believe them.

Within days of reporting being raped, Marie had quit her job at Costco, unable to stand there, looking at people, lost in her head. Now, her losses mounted.

Project Ladder gave her a 9 p.m. curfew and doubled the number of times she had to meet with staff.

The media wrote about Marie being charged, without identifying her. (The Seattle Post-Intelligencer headline read, “Police: Lynnwood rape report was a hoax.”) Marie’s best friend from high school — the one who had taught her photography and had taken that picture of her emerging from the surf — created a webpage that called Marie a liar, with a photo from Marie’s Myspace page, with police reports, with Marie’s full name. Alerted to the site, Marie went into a frenzy, trashing her apartment.

Marie stopped going to church. “I was mad at God,” she says. She lost interest in photography. She feared going outdoors. “One night I did try to walk to the store by myself and felt like I hallucinated someone following me,” she says. “It freaked me out. I didn’t even get a half mile from my house. I ran home.” At home she avoided the bedroom, choosing to sleep on the couch with the lights on.

“I went into this dark hole,” she says.

Self-esteem gave way to self-loathing. She started smoking, drinking, gaining weight.

For Marie, this was a familiar drill, one she could trace to her years of being abused as a kid, and to her years in foster care, bouncing from home to home and school to school. Shut down. Hold it in. Act like nothing bad had happened, like nothing ever affected her. Because she craved normalcy, she would bury the hurt.

Neither Peggy nor Shannon abandoned her, but things weren’t the same. Marie knew that both had doubted her story, even before the police had.

For Marie, Shannon’s home had long provided an escape or respite. Marie and Shannon would walk in the woods, or take out the boat, then, at day’s end, crash in Shannon’s home. Now, fearful he could become the target of a wrongful accusation, Shannon’s husband decided it would be best if Marie no longer spent the night. “When you become a foster parent, you’re open to that,” Shannon says.

It fell to Shannon to break the news. Delivering it crushed her. Receiving it crushed Marie.

In early October, less than two months after Marie was charged with false reporting, a 63-year-old woman reported being raped inside her condominium in Kirkland, east of Seattle. The stranger wore gloves. He held a knife. He tied the woman up — with her own shoelaces. He took pictures and threatened to post them on the Internet. For the last two or three months, the woman told police, she felt as if someone had been following her.

Shannon saw an account of the attack on the television news and was taken aback. Her father had been the chief of police in Kent, south of Seattle. She grew up with police, trusted police, knew how the police worked. She went to her computer, looked up the number, and called — immediately — to alert police in Kirkland to Marie’s story, to advise them of all the parallels.

Shannon called Marie and suggested she also contact the Kirkland police. Marie never did.

“I was just too scared,” Marie says. She’d gone through so much already. She couldn’t bring herself to meet with the police again and say anything more. But she did go online and look up what happened to the woman in Kirkland. When she read the story, she cried.

A Kirkland detective eventually called Shannon back. Based on Shannon’s tip, Kirkland investigators had reached out to their Lynnwood counterparts and had been told the Lynnwood victim was no victim, the story had been made up.

One of the detectives working the Kirkland case was Audra Weber. She remembers calling the Lynnwood detectives twice and being told they didn’t believe Marie’s account. “I just kind of trusted their judgment, in terms of it’s their case, they know the details and I don’t,” Weber says. But she remembers being “kind of shocked” to learn that they had charged Marie. She let it go and hung up, thinking, “Okay, I hope that works out for you guys.”

He arrived in the predawn hours, then waited outside her apartment, outside her bedroom, listening to her on the phone, waiting for her to fall asleep.

The night was dry, letting him settle in. The wall was thin, letting him hear her voice. A couple of times he left his position, for just a while, for fear of being spotted lingering.

He liked trees, for the cover they provided, and the Alderbrooke Apartments had plenty of them. Apartments didn’t offer the privacy of a house, but still, there were advantages. All those windows, for one thing. And all those sliding glass doors — ridiculously easy to pick, when they weren’t left unlocked, which so often they were.

She wasn’t his type, not really. He’d realized that before while peeping into her bedroom. But he spent so much time hunting (that’s what he called it, hunting), hundreds of hours, maybe even a thousand, that he conditioned himself to incorporate as many women as possible, young or old, into his fantasies.

That way his work wouldn’t be wasted.

He had prowled before and broken into women’s homes before, but following through was another matter. He had learned from past failures — one time, a guy walked in as he stood there, mask on, outside the bedroom door of the woman he planned to rape — so now, he did painstaking surveillance: peeking in windows, breaking in beforehand, gathering information. Years later, detectives would find notes on his cellphone from his surveillance of another target (his word) that detailed which room she was in and when, what lights were off or on, which windows and blinds were opened or closed, whether her boyfriend was there or gone. “BF in PJs, game over,” he wrote in one night’s entry.

He would rifle a target’s personal documents. He would learn her date of birth and license plate number. He would watch her watching TV. And at the hunt’s end, before he committed, he would take a final pass through the home, or what he called “precombat inspection,” to make sure there weren’t any weapons within the target’s reach.

At a little before sunrise, he heard the phone conversation end. He waited a little longer, letting the silence stretch out, then climbed over the railing and slipped through the unlocked sliding glass door. For the next half hour or so, while she slept, he got ready while talking himself into following through.

He had first spotted her a couple of weeks before, through a window, while lurking outside her apartment. He had since broken into her place twice, both times through that same glass door.

He had a term for what he was about to do: “rape theater.” Deviant fantasies had gripped him since he was a kid, way back to when he had seen Jabba the Hutt enslave and chain Princess Leia. Where do you go when you’re 5 and already thinking about handcuffs? he would ask himself. He was only 8 the first time he broke into a home. It was such a rush. He had broken into more than a dozen homes since.

Now he was 30, an Army veteran — infantry, two tours in South Korea — who had enlisted in the Reserves, only he hadn’t appeared for duty in months.

In the kitchen, he went to the knife block and removed a black-handled blade from the top row, far left.

In the living room, he removed the laces from her black tennis shoes and put the shoes back. One detective later wrote in a report, “The shoes were lying next to each other near the end of the couch and the bedroom door, on the soles as if placed there (not disturbed).”

He was just being neat and orderly, the way he was with everything.

He threaded one of the shoelaces through a pair of underwear.

Then he walked to the bedroom.

Around 7 a.m., he stood in her bedroom doorway, holding, at shoulder height, a knife in his left hand.

He watched as she awoke.

Turn away, he told Marie — and she did. Roll over onto your stomach, he told her. She did — and then he straddled her, putting the knife near her face.

Put your hands behind your back, he told her. She did. He bound her wrists and he covered her eyes. He stuffed cloth into her mouth to muffle any sound.

That was an interesting conversation you were having, he said, letting her know that he had been there, listening, waiting.

You should know better than to leave the door unlocked, he told her.

Roll back over, he told her — and she did, and then he raped her, and while he raped her he ran his gloved hands over her.

He put her learner’s permit on her chest and took pictures of her.

When he was finished, he said that if she told the police, he would post the photos online so that her kids, when she had kids, could see them.

He took out the gag and removed the blindfold, telling her to avert her eyes and to keep her head in the pillow.

One of the last things he said was that he was sorry. He said he felt stupid, that it had looked better in his head.

He left the room, and walked to the front door, and he was gone.

O’Leary pleaded guilty to 28 counts of rape and associated felonies in Colorado. On Dec. 9, 2011, almost a year after his arrest, O’Leary was sentenced to 327½ years in prison for the Colorado attacks — the maximum allowed by law. He is currently housed in the Sterling Correctional Facility in the barren, remote northeastern corner of Colorado. He will never be released.

In an interview with police after his conviction, O’Leary recounted his attacks in detail. He described the feeling after raping one elderly victim. “It was like I’d just eaten Thanksgiving dinner,” he said.

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Jefferson County Courthouse: Marc O’Leary was sentenced to 327½ years in prison. He will never get out.

He let spill some lessons for law enforcement. He boasted of the countermeasures he’d taken to avoid getting caught. He knew that the Army had a sample of his DNA. So he took steps to avoid leaving any traces of genetic material. He also realized police departments often did not communicate. So he deliberately committed each rape in a different jurisdiction.

The five other attacks — one in Washington, four in Colorado — all came after the attack on Marie.

“If Washington had just paid attention a little bit more, I probably would have been a person of interest earlier on,” O’Leary said.


Working from Colorado, Galbraith not only linked O’Leary to the rape in Lynnwood, Washington, but to the rape in nearby Kirkland. She made the connection by working with a Washington state criminal analyst to search a database for unsolved cases similar to O’Leary’s crimes. She then found the Kirkland victim’s name on O’Leary’s computer, attached to an encrypted file.

O’Leary pleaded guilty in both of the Washington cases. In June 2012, he was sentenced to 40 years for the rape in Kirkland and to 28½ years for the rape of Marie in Lynnwood.


After O’Leary was linked to Marie’s rape, Lynnwood Police Chief Steven Jensen requested an outside review of how his department had handled the investigation. In a report not previously made public, Sgt. Gregg Rinta, a sex crimes supervisor with the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office, wrote that what happened was “nothing short of the victim being coerced into admitting that she lied about the rape.”

That Marie recanted wasn’t surprising, Rinta wrote, given the “bullying” and “hounding” she was subjected to. The detectives elevated “minor inconsistencies” — common among victims — into discrepancies, while ignoring strong evidence the crime had occurred. As for threatening jail and a possible withdrawal of housing assistance if Marie failed a polygraph: “These statements are coercive, cruel, and unbelievably unprofessional,” Rinta wrote. “I can’t imagine ANY justification for making these statements.”

Jensen also ordered an internal review, which was similarly damning. Mason’s judgment was unduly swayed by Peggy’s phone call. The detectives’ second interview with Marie was “designed to elicit a confession of false reporting.” The false reporting charge arose from a “self-imposed rush.”

Despite the reviews’ tough language, no one in the Lynnwood Police Department was disciplined.

In a recent interview, Steve Rider, the current commander of Lynnwood’s Criminal Investigations Division, called Marie’s case a “major failing” that has left members of the department with a profound sense of regret: “Knowing that she went through that brutal attack — and then we told her she lied? That’s awful. We all got into this job to help people, not to hurt them.” Lynnwood Sgt. Rodney Cohnheim said of Marie, “She was victimized twice.”

Sgt. Mason is now back in narcotics, in charge of a task force. Interviewed in the same room where he had confronted Marie seven years before, he said: “It wasn’t her job to try to convince me. In hindsight, it was my job to get to the bottom of it — and I didn’t.”

Marie’s case led to changes in practices and culture, Rider said. Detectives receive additional training about rape victims. Rape victims get immediate assistance from advocates at a local healthcare center. Investigators must have “definitive proof” of lying before doubting a rape report, and a charge of false reporting must now be reviewed with higher-ups. “We learned a great deal from this. And we don’t want to see this happen to anybody ever again,” Rider said.

Rittgarn, who left the Lynnwood Police Department before O’Leary’s arrest, declined to be interviewed for this story. So did Zachor & Thomas, the law office that handled the prosecution of Marie on Lynnwood’s behalf.

In 2008, Marie’s case was one of four labeled unfounded by the Lynnwood police, according to statistics reported to the FBI. In the five years from 2008 to 2012, the department determined that 10 of 47 rapes reported to Lynnwood police were unfounded — 21.3 percent. That’s five times the national average of 4.3 percent for agencies covering similar-sized populations during that same period. Rider said his agency has become more cautious about labeling a case unfounded since Marie. “I would venture to say we investigate our cases a lot more vigorously than many departments do,” he said. “Now, we’re extra careful that we get the right closure on it.”

Two and a half years after Marie was branded a liar, Lynnwood police found her, south of Seattle, and told her the news: Her rapist had been arrested in Colorado. They gave her an envelope with information on counseling for rape victims. They said her record would be expunged. And they handed her $500, a refund of her court costs. Marie broke down, experiencing, all at once, shock, relief and anger.

Afterward, Shannon took Marie for a walk in the woods, and told her, “I’m so sorry I doubted you.” Marie forgave, immediately. Peggy, too, apologized. She now wishes she had never shared her doubts with police. “Because I feel that if I would have shut my mouth, they would have done their job,” she says.

Marie sued the city and settled for $150,000. “A risk management decision was made,” a lawyer for Lynnwood told The Herald in Everett, Washington.

Marie left the state, got a commercial driver’s license and took a job as a long-haul trucker. She married, and in October she and her husband had their second child. She asked that her current location not be disclosed.

Before leaving Washington to restart her life, Marie made an appointment to visit the Lynnwood police station. She went to a conference room and waited. Rittgarn had already left the department, but Mason came in, looking “like a lost little puppy,” Marie says. “He was rubbing his head and literally looked like he was ashamed about what they had done.” He told Marie he was sorry — “deeply sorry,” Marie says. To Marie, he seemed sincere.

Recently, Marie was asked if she had considered not reporting the rape.

“No,” she said. She wanted to be honest. She wanted to remember everything she could. She wanted to help the police.

“So nobody else would get hurt,” she said. “They’d be out there searching for this person who had done this to me.”

Join ProPublica, The Marshall Project, and Joanne Archambault of the nonprofit End Violence Against Women to discuss pitfalls and best practices of sex crimes investigations. You can also read more about how ProPublica and The Marshall Project reported this story.


A little after 1 p.m. on a wintry day in January 2011, Detective Stacy Galbraith approached a long, anonymous row of apartment buildings that spilled up a low hill in a Denver suburb. Snow covered the ground in patches. It was blustery, and biting cold. She was there to investigate a report of rape.

Galbraith spotted the victim standing in the thin sunlight outside her ground floor apartment. She was young, dressed in a brown, full-length coat. She clutched a bag of her belongings in one hand. She looked calm, unflustered. Galbraith introduced herself. Police technicians were swarming the apartment. Galbraith suggested that she and the victim escape the icy gusts in a nearby unmarked patrol car.

The woman told Galbraith she was 26 years old, an engineering student on winter break from a nearby college. She had been alone in her apartment the previous evening. After cooking green mung beans for dinner, she curled up in bed for a marathon of “Desperate Housewives” and “The Big Bang Theory” until drifting off. At around 8 a.m., she was jolted awake by a man who had jumped on her back, pinning her to the bed. He wore a black mask that seemed more like a scarf fastened tight around his face. He gripped a silver and black gun. “Don’t scream. Don’t call or I’ll shoot you,” he told her.

He moved deliberately. He tied her hands loosely behind her. From a large black bag, he took out thigh-high stockings, clear plastic high heels with pink ribbons, lubrication, a box of moist towelettes and bottled water. Over the next four hours, he raped her repeatedly. He documented the assault with a digital camera and threatened to post the pictures online if she contacted the police. Afterward, he ordered her to brush her teeth and wash herself in the shower. By the time she exited the bathroom, he had gone. He had taken her sheets and bedding. She clearly remembered one physical detail about him: a dark mark on his left calf the size of an egg.

Galbraith listened to the woman with a sense of alarm. The attack was so heinous; the attacker so practiced. There was no time to waste. Sitting close to her in the front seat of the car, Galbraith carefully brushed the woman’s face with long cotton swabs to collect any DNA traces that might remain. Then she drove her to St. Anthony North Hospital. The woman underwent a special forensic examination to collect more DNA evidence. Before she left with a nurse, the woman warned Galbraith, “I think he’s done this before.”

Galbraith returned to the crime scene. A half-dozen officers and technicians were now at work. They were knocking on neighbors’ doors, snapping photographs in the apartment, digging through garbage bins, swabbing the walls, the windows, everywhere for DNA. In the snow, they found a trail of footprints leading to and from the back of the apartment through an empty field. They spraypainted the prints fluorescent orange to make them stand out, then took pictures. It was not much. But something. One officer suggested a bathroom break. “Just keep working!” Galbraith insisted.

As she headed home that night, Galbraith’s mind raced. “Who is this guy?” she asked herself. “How am I going to find him?” Galbraith often volunteered to take rape cases. She was a wife, a mother. She was good at empathizing with the victims, who were overwhelmingly women. Most had been assaulted by a boyfriend, an old flame, or someone they had met at a club. Those investigations often boiled down to an issue of consent. Had the woman said “yes”? They were tough for cops and prosecutors. Juries were hesitant to throw someone in prison when it was one person’s word against another’s. Rapes by strangers were uncommon — about 13 percent of cases. But there was still the issue of the woman’s story. Was she telling the truth? Or fabricating a ruse to cover a sexual encounter gone wrong?

In that way, rape cases were unlike most other crimes. The credibility of the victim was often on trial as much as the guilt of the accused. And on the long, fraught trail between crime and conviction, the first triers of fact were the cops. An investigating officer had to figure out if the victim was telling the truth.

Galbraith had a simple rule: listen and verify. “A lot of times people say, ‘Believe your victim, believe your victim,’” Galbraith said. “But I don’t think that that’s the right standpoint. I think it’s listen to your victim. And then corroborate or refute based on how things go.”

At home, her husband David had done the dishes and put the kids to bed. They sank down on separate couches in their living room. Galbraith recounted the day’s events. The attacker had been cunning, attempting to erase any traces of DNA from the scene. Before he left, he showed the student how he broke in through a sliding glass door. He suggested she put a dowel into the bottom track to keep out future intruders. The victim had described him as a “gentleman,” Galbraith said. “He’s going to be hard to find,” she thought.

David Galbraith was used to such bleak stories. They were both cops, after all. He worked in Westminster, some 15 miles to the northeast. Golden and Westminster were middle class bedroom towns wedged between Denver’s downtown skyscrapers and the looming Rockies.

This time, though, there was something different. As David listened, he realized that the details of the case were unsettlingly familiar. He told his wife to call his department first thing in the morning.

“We have one just like that,” he said.

The morning after the rape in Golden, Galbraith hurried to work to follow up her husband’s lead. At 9:07 a.m. she sent an email to the Westminster Police Department. The subject line was pleading: “Sex Aslt Similars?”

Westminster Detective Edna Hendershot had settled into her morning with her Starbucks usual: a Venti, upside-down, skinny caramel macchiato. She read the email and her mind shot back five months, to a crisp Tuesday in August 2010. She had responded to a report of a rape at a blue-collar apartment complex in the northwest corner of her city. A 59-year-old woman told her that she had been asleep in her home when a man jumped on her back. He wore a black mask. He tied her hands. He stole her pink Sony Cyber-shot camera and used it to take pictures of her. Afterward, he made her take a shower. He picked up a kitchen timer and set it to let her know when she could get out. “I guess you won’t leave your windows open in the future,” the man told the woman, who had recently been widowed.

There was more. Hendershot remembered that while investigating her case, an officer had alerted her to an incident in October 2009 in Aurora, a suburb on the other side of Denver. There, a 65-year-old woman told police that she had been raped in her apartment by a man with a black scarf wrapped around his face. He tied her hands with a ribbon. He took pictures and threatened to post them on the Internet. During the attack, he knocked a yellow teddy bear off a desk in her bedroom. “You should get help,” the woman, a house mother at a local fraternity, told the man. “It’s too late for that,” he replied.

Cops can be protective about their cases, fearing that information could be leaked that would jeopardize their investigations. They often don’t know about, or fail to use, an FBI database created years ago to help catch repeat offenders. Between one-fourth to two-thirds of rapists are serial attackers, studies show.

But Hendershot right away recognized the potential in collaborating and in using every tool possible. “Two heads, three heads, four heads, sometimes are better than one, right?” she said. So did Galbraith. Her department was small — a little more than 40 officers serving a town of about 20,000. It only made sense to join forces. “I have no qualms with asking for help,” Galbraith said. “Let’s do what we can do to catch him.”

A week later, Galbraith, Hendershot and Aurora Detective Scott Burgess gathered around a conference table in the Westminster Police Department. They compared investigations. The descriptions of the attacker were similar. So, too, his methods. But there was a clincher: the woman in Galbraith’s case had remained as focused as possible during her ordeal, memorizing details. She recalled the camera that the attacker had used to take photos. It was a pink Sony digital camera — a description that fit the model stolen from the apartment of the Westminster victim.

Galbraith and Hendershot hadn’t known each other before the meeting. But the hunt for the rapist united them. As female cops, both women were members of a sorority within a fraternity. The average law enforcement agency in America is about 13 percent female. Police ranks remain overwhelmingly male, often hierarchical and militaristic. But both women had found a place for themselves. They had moved up in the ranks.

The two bonded naturally. Both were outgoing. They cracked fast jokes and smiled fast smiles. Galbraith was younger. She crackled energy. She would move “a hundred miles an hour in one direction,” a colleague said. Hendershot was more experienced. She’d worked more than 100 rape cases in her career. Careful, diligent, exacting — she complemented Galbraith. “Sometimes going a hundred miles an hour, you miss some breadcrumbs,” the same colleague noted.

Their initial attempts to identify the attacker faltered. Golden police obtained a surveillance tape showing the entrance to the apartment complex where Galbraith’s victim had been attacked. A fellow detective sat through more than 12 hours of blurry footage. He laboriously counted 261 vehicles and people coming and going on the night of the incident. There was one possible lead. In the predawn hours, a white Mazda pickup truck appeared 10 times. Maybe it was the attacker waiting for the woman to fall asleep? But efforts to identify the vehicle’s owner failed. The license plate was unreadable.

As the weeks passed, the dead ends continued. Hendershot turned to the database meant to capture serial rapists by linking cases in different jurisdictions. It turned up only bad leads. Frustration grew. “Someone else is going to get hurt,” Galbraith worried to herself.

By late January, the detectives decided they needed to broaden their scope. Hendershot asked one of her department’s crime analysts to scour nearby agencies for similar crimes. The analyst turned up an incident in Lakewood, another Denver suburb, that occurred about a month before the rape in Westminster. At the time, police had labeled the case a burglary. But in fresh light, it appeared very much like a failed rape attempt, committed by an attacker who closely resembled the description of the rapist. The analyst shot Hendershot a message, “You need to come to talk to me right now.”

The report detailed how a 46-year-old artist had been accosted in her home by a man with a knife. He wore a black mask. He tried to bind her wrists. But when the man looked away, the woman jumped out of her bedroom window. She broke three ribs and punctured a lung in the 7-foot fall to the ground, but managed to escape.

Investigators at the scene uncovered a few, tenuous pieces of evidence. Thundershowers had soaked the area before the attack. Police found shoe prints in the soft, damp soil outside the woman’s bedroom. On a window, they found honeycomb marks.

Honeycomb marks. Hendershot seized on them. Westminster crime scene investigators had discovered similar marks on the window of the victim’s apartment. Hendershot asked for a comparison. The marks at the two crime scenes were the same. They also appeared similar to prints from a pair of Under Armour gloves that a Lakewood investigator, on a hunch, had discovered at a Dick’s Sporting Goods.

Galbraith checked out the footprints left at the Lakewood scene. They matched the footprints in the snow outside her victim’s apartment in Golden. She sent images of the shoe prints to crimeshoe.com, a website that promised to move an investigation “from an unidentified scene-of-crime shoeprint to detailed footwear information in one simple step.” The site, now defunct, identified the prints as having been made by a pair of Adidas ZX 700 mesh shoes, available in stores after March 2005.

By the end of January 2011, the detectives had connected four rapes over a 15-month period across Denver’s suburbs. The trail started in Aurora, east of Denver, on Oct. 4, 2009, with the 65-year-old woman. It picked up nine months later and 22 miles to the west, when the rapist attacked the artist in Lakewood. A month after that the 59-year-old widow was raped in Westminster, some 10 miles to the north. And then, finally, in January 2011 came the attack on the 26-year-old in Golden, about 15 miles southwest of Westminster. If you drew a map, it was almost like the rapist was circling the compass points of Denver’s suburbs.

Galbraith and Hendershot turned to DNA to identify the serial rapist. The detectives had thoroughly examined their crime scenes. Technicians had swabbed window panes, doorknobs, even toilet handles — anything that the attacker might have touched. But the man was familiar with the ways of law enforcement, perhaps even a cop. He knew to avoid leaving his DNA at the scene. He used wet wipes to clean up his ejaculate. He ordered the women to shower. He took their clothing and bedding with him when he left.

He had been punctilious. But not perfect. The attacker had left behind the tiniest traces of himself. The technicians recovered three samples of so-called touch DNA, as few as seven or eight cells of skin that can be analyzed with modern laboratory techniques.

One sample was collected from the kitchen timer in Westminster. A second came from the victim in Golden. And one came from the teddy bear in Aurora.

On Feb. 9, 2011, more than a dozen cops and agents from the FBI and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation gathered in a briefing room at the Westminster police station to discuss the state of the investigation.

The news was not great. After a five-week crush, there were few leads and no suspects. The analysis of the touch DNA produced mixed results. The samples narrowed the field of suspects to males belonging to the same paternal family line. But there was not enough genetic material to identify a single individual. Thus the results couldn’t be entered into the FBI’s nationwide DNA database to check for a match to a suspect.

Galbraith was hopeful. At least it was concrete now. The same person was at work. “It’s huge,” she said. “But not enough.”

As the meeting drew to a close, a young crime analyst from the Lakewood police department stood up. She had conducted a search for any reports of suspicious vehicles or prowlers within a quarter mile of the Lakewood victim’s home for the previous six months. She had turned up something. But she didn’t know if it was important.

Three weeks before the attempted rape in Lakewood, a woman had called police late in the evening to report a suspicious pickup truck parked on the street with a man inside. Police checked it out, but the man was gone. The officer filed a brief report on the vehicle. What had attracted the analyst’s attention was the location of the pickup. It was parked half a block from the Lakewood victim’s house, by an empty field adjacent to her backyard.

The pickup was a 1993 white Mazda.

It was registered to a Lakewood man named Marc Patrick O’Leary.

The investigation instantly turned urgent. Could the detectives connect O’Leary’s Mazda with the blurry image of the white Mazda in the surveillance footage from Golden? Aaron Hassell, the detective on the Lakewood case, raced back to his office. Lakewood patrol cars had cameras that automatically took pictures of every license plate they passed. The result was a searchable database of thousands of tag numbers indexed by time and location. Hassell typed in the license plate number from the Lakewood report: 935VHX. He got a hit. A Lakewood patrol car had snapped a picture of O’Leary standing by his white Mazda in the driveway of his house — only two hours after the August attack on the widow in Westminster.

<img src=”//static.propublica.org/projects/maries-story/assets/img/generated/mazda-480*489-76dee6.png” alt=”” />
1993 Mazda pickup: Surveillance stills show a 1993 Mazda driving around the apartment complex in Golden, Colo. where a 26-year-old engineering student was raped. The passenger-side mirror looked bent. (Golden Police Department)

Hassell transmitted the image to Galbraith. Carefully, she compared O’Leary’s white Mazda to the surveillance tape. One freeze frame showed that her white Mazda had a broken passenger side mirror. So, too, did O’Leary’s truck. Both vehicles had ball hitches on the back. Both had smudges on the back in the same place — perhaps a bumper sticker that had been torn off.

“That’s our guy,” Galbraith said.

Hendershot discovered the Lakewood patrol car had snapped its picture as O’Leary was headed to a nearby branch of the Colorado Department of Motor Vehicles. DMV records showed O’Leary sat for a driver’s license mugshot about four hours after the Westminster attack. The photo showed a 6-foot-1 man with hazel eyes. He was 32 years old and 220 pounds. He wore a white T-shirt. The physical description closely matched the descriptions provided by the victims. And the Westminster widow had told Hendershot that her attacker wore a white T-shirt during her assault.

Hendershot did not want to be too hasty. “I’m encouraged, I’m excited,” she said. But “I haven’t made my decision yet, that yay, we’ve got the guy.”

Over the next 24 hours, more than a dozen investigators threw their collective effort and experience into finding out everything possible about O’Leary. O’Leary had no criminal record. He was not a registered sex offender. He had served in the Army.

Galbraith and her husband David once again faced each other on the couches in their living room. They used laptops to search for any references to O’Leary, each using a different search engine. Before long, David stumbled onto something. O’Leary had purchased a pornography website in September 2008. They wondered whether it contained photos of his victims.

The investigators decided to try to get a sample of O’Leary’s DNA. Though the degraded DNA lifted from the crime scenes could not definitively match O’Leary’s DNA, it could show that a male from his family line had most likely committed the crime. If detectives could eliminate O’Leary’s male relatives, they could place O’Leary at the scene of the crimes with a high degree of certainty. “We still have to make that definitive identification,” Hendershot said.

On the morning of Friday, Feb. 11, FBI agents were surveilling O’Leary’s house. It was a small, single-story home with gray siding half a block from a gas station, an auto body shop and a carniceria in a beat-down neighborhood. A low chain-link fence surrounded it. Tall, winter-bare trees towered above the roof. Just after noon, the agents saw a woman and a man who looked like O’Leary leave. They tailed the pair to a nearby restaurant, and watched them eat. When they finished, the agents raced in. They grabbed the drinking cups from the table. The rims would have traces of his DNA.

<img src=”//static.propublica.org/projects/maries-story/assets/img/generated/Detectives-033-480*320-1df12a.jpg” alt=”” />
The O’Leary house: Marc O’Leary lived with his brother, who closely resembled him. But FBI agents didn’t know that when they knocked on the door.

While the agents were following the man believed to be Marc O’Leary, another FBI agent knocked on the door of the home. He planned to install a surveillance camera nearby and wanted to make sure that nobody was around. Unexpectedly, a man came to the door. He looked like Marc O’Leary. Confused, the agent fell back on a practiced ruse. He told the man he was canvassing the neighborhood to warn of a burglar in the area. The man introduced himself. He was Marc O’Leary. His brother, Michael O’Leary, had just left to get lunch with his girlfriend. O’Leary thanked the officer for the information and closed the door.

Michael’s appearance was confounding. The investigators hadn’t known that Michael lived with his brother. Or that he looked so similar. They decided to run Michael O’Leary’s DNA, collected from the restaurant glass, against the DNA found at the crime scenes. Analysts at the Colorado Bureau of Investigation got the samples. Usually, a DNA analysis took months. But in this case, they worked through the night. By 2 p.m. on Saturday, they had a result. The DNA from the cup matched the DNA collected from the victims. An O’Leary man was responsible. But which one?

Galbraith ruled out the brothers’ father — he was too old and lived in a different state. But investigators could not yet rule out Michael as a suspect. It was possible that Michael had committed the rapes. Or even that Michael and Marc had worked together. They needed more information.

Galbraith hastily typed up a search warrant to enter the brothers’ home. It was dark outside when she finished. She called the judge who was on duty for the weekend. He insisted on a fax. Galbraith rushed to a Safeway near her house to send the warrant. The judge signed it at 10 p.m. on Saturday.

She knew exactly what she was looking for. She trusted her victim’s memory. The dark mark on his leg.

She emailed a crime analyst at another police department, “I so want to see this guy’s leg! BAD.”

At 8:15 a.m., Galbraith knocked on O’Leary’s door.

“Police. Search warrant. Open the door,” she shouted repeatedly. Seven cops stood behind her, pressed against the house, their guns drawn.

After a pause, O’Leary opened the door. He looked confused and shocked as he stepped out into the bright winter sun. Two dogs, a small pit bull and a Shar-Pei, tumbled out ahead of him. He wore a gray hoodie, baggy gray sweatpants and gray slip-on houseshoes. He was alone.

Galbraith pulled him to the side and patted him down. When she got to his legs, she raised his pant leg to look.

There it was, on O’Leary’s left calf: a dark birthmark the size of a large chicken egg.

It was him. He was the rapist. Galbraith flashed a quick thumbs up.

As an FBI agent confronted him, O’Leary immediately invoked his right to an attorney. Galbraith had maneuvered herself to stand behind O’Leary. At 8:35 a.m., she handcuffed him. “You’re under arrest for burglary and sexual assault which occurred in the City of Golden on January 5, 2011,” she told him. O’Leary was put in a patrol car and transported to the Jefferson County Jail.

She was wearing new boots that day. Whenever she looked at them in the future, she would remember catching O’Leary. For Galbraith, it was important to be the one who made the arrest. “I wanted to see the look on his face, I guess,” she said. “And for him to know that we figured you out.”

The search of the home validated the detectives’ investigation. Investigators found a pair of Adidas ZX 700 shoes in O’Leary’s closet. The treads matched the footprints in the snow in Golden and outside the window in Lakewood. They discovered a pair of Under Armour gloves with a honeycomb pattern. In the bathroom was a black headwrap, tied to serve as a mask.

“He was military — so he was very organized,” Galbraith said. “This was the cleanest house I’ve ever searched. It was so organized, we were like, ‘Oh, thank God.’”

<img src=”//static.propublica.org/projects/maries-story/assets/img/generated/evidence-480*639-02149e.png” alt=”” />
Evidence: Police found bindings, a pink Sony Cyber-shot camera, Adidas shoes and a large backpack in O’Leary’s house — all consistent with detectives’ work and victims’ descriptions. (Golden Police Department)

The victims’ accounts were also borne out. Most had described a white man with green or hazel eyes, about 6 feet tall, weighing about 200 pounds. They talked about being tied up. They mentioned that he had stolen their underwear. In O’Leary’s house, investigators turned up a black Ruger .380-caliber pistol, a pink Sony Cyber-shot camera and a large backpack, along with wet wipes and lubrication. Hidden inside a piece of stereo equipment in his closet, detectives found a collection of women’s underwear. Trophies.

That night, Hendershot drove to break the news to her victim, the 59-year-old widow in Westminster. The woman had lost her husband to cancer the previous year. She had no family nearby. She was still emerging from the mental and physical suffering she endured during the attack. Hendershot met her at a Denny’s restaurant. She found her in a back corner, eating dinner alone.

“I walked in, and she was super happy to see me, and I told her. I mean, I get shiver bumps thinking about it, just even now,” Hendershot said. “I told her, I said, ‘It’s over. It’s over. We have him.’”

By early March, a forensic computer specialist cracked into files that O’Leary had stored on his hard drive. He found a folder called “girls” — and pictures that O’Leary had taken of his victims in Golden and Westminster. Galbraith recognized them by sight.

But then Galbraith stumbled across an image of a woman she didn’t recognize. It was a young woman — far younger than the Colorado victims, perhaps a teenager. The pictures showed her looking terrified, bound and gagged on a bed. Galbraith felt sick. How would she identify her? How would she find justice for her?

After looking through the images, she found an answer. It was a picture of the woman’s learner’s permit, placed on her chest. It had her name. And it had her address.

Lynnwood, Washington.

FB comments: part 3

Jean-Christophe Rufin, member de l’Academie Francaise, accuillit Amin Maaluf en Juin 14, 2012 par ces mots: “Entrez ici avec vos noms, vos langues, vos croyances, vos fureurs, vos egarements, votre encre, votre sang, votre exil… mais surtout, restez vous-meme…” Est-ce que Amin a dernierement oublier ses racines?

Quoi de plus objective que de se rappeler ses origins a un moment ou Israel fait fi de toutes les pressions et continue a humilier les Palestiniens quotidiennement?

Puisque la plupart de l’humanite est devenu des “companion de voyages“, racontons plus souvent les histoires personnelles de chaque émigré et immigrant: ce sont ces histoires individuelles qui peuvent eclaircir ce que l’humanite souffre

“Les homme font ce qu’ils peuvent, le destin fait le reste” (Renauld). Le destin intervient quand la generation future n’a pas étée prise serieusement pour valable de continuer la bataille des ideaux de liberte, de transparence dans le processus democratique, de l’ égalte des droits et des opportunites

Le silence est le dernier refuge de la liberte des vaincus. Continuez de parler et de crier et tu ne sera jamais considerer comme vaincu,

Every morning, I find that somebody has just discovered some general and eternal law that I never heard of. General ideas that pack a lot into a small volume. And the “professionals” who are researching details and facts on the ground are rare because Not paid to do these dirty fundamental jobs. What irks me most is that scientific papers fail to extend additional hypotheses and conjectures to what they have researched in order for the rest of us to follow up and demonstrate them

Dans la vie, on n’est jamais a un calvaire pres

A quel instant “pas maintenant” se transforme en “jamais”? Martin Luther King

With equal opportunity to learning and training, people in each profession will focus more on examining the details and fact sheets and steer away from the laziness of basing decisions on general ideas

“The exaggerated social system based on general causes is a source of consolation for mediocre historians ( and current reporters). It invariably provides them with a few grand explanations, useful for quickly extricate themselves from any difficulties they encounter in their work. And it favors weak and lazy minds to garner a reputation of profundity (Tocqueville in the 18th century). How fitting for current times.

If we have to rely on the Torah, many times the Syrians allowed the Jews to take refuge in Palestine. Once during Abraham immigration from Ur in Iraq, another time for Moses and his successors, next after their return from Babylon, next after the Romans expulsed them from Jerusalem… and lately after the Europeans expulsed them from Europe in order to create Israel. During all this history, The jews basically lived in Jerusalem and the desert southern part of Palestine. Israel can resume digging for artefacts for another century and dig deeper under the Dome, they will Never find any artefacts related to their culture or any State: They had none. All their stories are manufactured history. The Jews were a minority fraction of the Syrian culture and civilization. Jesus was Not a Jew or recognized as such by the Sanhedrin. Jesus was born and lived in Upper Galilee, administered and under the jurisdiction of the province of Tyr, throughout the various foreign dominion of this land.

Petition de principe: Tous les hommes doivent jouir des meme opportunites pour s’egaliser dans chaque communaute.

The US can provide Israel with all the latest weapons of destructions. Germany, England and France can extend to Israel all the pieces of intelligence and trade facilities. The monarchs in the Arab world can link up with Israel any which way they like. The tide has turned: The people in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Palestine have crossed the barrier of fear for continuing the existential fight. No weapons can subjugate a resisting people again occupation and an existential enemy.

In “The Disoriented”, Amine Maaluf let Nidal (a Moslem) says to Adam (a Christian, and represented by Amine Maaluf opinions: “You says that the historians must remain neutral? Giving equal weight to the butcher and victim, the occupier and the subjugated, the predator and the prey…? You should Not appear as the defender of your own people and your roots? Is that what you consider as intellectual honesty?”  

Traditions of classes, professions, family and social structure, and religious beliefs… have been initially drawn from observations of human nature and establishing general notions, before the politicians (men of actions) in each sphere of influence in life organized them to self-serve the interests of the elites. If we seek reforms by bringing up human nature then we are following the wrong direction.

What is needed is to develop a belief system based on that all born people have the rights to enjoy equal opportunities to learning, getting training, health and due processes with a fair justice system. This new belief system or petition principle is feasible because in transparent democratic processes people rely on the majority opinion to extend any rational excuses for their attitudes. Equal practical opportunities circumvent the wrong implication that opinions are reached independently of their surrounding. The effects of community sanctions to deviation attitudes from the belief system can then formalize the equal opportunities rights to everyone.

Every belief system is Not to arrive at the “truth”, but to guide action. Daily routine actions form the basis of our decisions in major matters.

“In the rare centuries of doubt (rational trends dominate), people cling stubbornly to his belief systems. People are Not ready to die for their opinions, but they do Not change them. And you find both fewer martyrs and fewer apostates” Alexis de Tocqueville.  The problem in this period of doubt, certain categories of communities are transforming it into a century of horror stories of faith.

Beware of the tyranny of the majority in “democratic republics“:  “The Master no longer says: You will think as I do or die. He says: You are free Not to think as I do. You may keep your life, properties, retain your civic privileges… but the majority in your community will ostracize you and refuse to esteem you, or to demand your vote. Those who believe in your innocence will steer away from you lest they are shunned in turn” A de T.  Isn’t what happens to Whistler blowers? At the doors of Abortion clinics, or gay marriages…? In France they even deny him the citizenship.

“It may be plausibly asserted that there is an infant-school ignorance which precedes knowledge and another doctoral ignorance which comes after it” (Montaigne). This is the state of education affairs in the Arabic speaking Islamic countries: coranic schools and doctors in fikh and other religious degrees… Ignorance lies at the ends of knowledge

Adelard de Bath (1080-1160) translated into Latin the scientific works written in Arabic (it was the scientific language at that period). Adelard is the first English scientist, a Benedictine moine and an arabophile. He wrote: “J’ai appris quelque chose aupres des Maîtres Arabes, qui m’ont guide par la raison. Toi, tu est mene par la bride de l’autorite”

In Lebanon, we have common conditions of daily strife to survive in any dignified level. What we need is to spread a unified common pragmatic reform model that share common rights for education, health, opportunities and transparent democratic processes

“When an opinion takes hold in a “democratic” nation and establishes itself in a majority of minds, it becomes self-sustaining and can perpetuate itself without effort: Nobody will attack it. No one combat the doomed belief openly. This hollow ghost of public opinion is enough to chill the blood of would-be innovators (in political sphere) and reduces them to respectful silence” A de T in Democracy in America

China is #1 exporter with 13% of world market share. Next the USA with 9% and then Germany with 8%. If we discount the weapon sales, Germany becomes #2.  France, England and Canada barely hold 2%: No wonder why these countries are kissing the asses of Saudi Kingdom and the Gulf Emirates to them weapons.

Replace Arabic scientific works” by “scientific works” written in Arabic (the scientific language in the period of Arabic caliphate empire) and the expression is set right.  In the first century of the empire, Syrians were the foundations of scientific work, all the way to the Tigers River. During the Abbasid dynasty, the Persian took over the scientific works and dominated the culture from the Tigers to Afghanistan, India and central Asia. During the strong centralized administration periods, the hundred of religious sects wrote in their own slang language (except in science) and few revolts emerged to launch any military campaigns. The Romans were frequently on the march to squash relentless revolts, though all the peoples adored the same idols under different names. No wonder that the Syrian and Persian civilizations were well routed in the region and were Not considered cultural occupations.

Le Christianism est tombé entre les mains masculines, devenue sanglantes. Alors que Jesus avait parle d’une voix feminine: les valeurs de tendresse et de compassion. C’est ce que nous essayons de vivre, meme si on l’a rate (Romain Gary)

The American life-style is to taking short-cuts by adopting general, all-purpose ideas: They are bombarded with so many individualistic responsibilities that they lack the necessary leisure time to indulge in reflective time-consuming periods (A de T in the 18th century) An observation that was valid 2 centuries ago and worsening. Worse, spreading like wild fire all over the world and in Asia.

The Americans seldom admit that they give in to selfless altruistic endeavors: They are pleased to explain all their actions in terms of self-interest properly understood. They will obligingly demonstrate how enlightened their behaviors regularly lead them to help out one another and makes them ready and willing to sacrifice a portion of their time and wealth for the good of the State.

The norms make a difference and they cannot be switched at will: either your norms are of the “honor kinds” or of the “material interests”

“Politicians have this capacity to manage the creation of ephemeral convictions in accordance with the feelings and interests of the moments: They can, with a tolerable good conscience, do things that are far from honest” A de T

Individualism is a recent expression, a reflective and tranquil sentiment achieved by creating a small community (modern tribe) for his use. he gladly leaves the larger society to take care of itself” A de T

Prisoner’s Dilemma” of two persons involved in the same crime:

1. If you inform on the other, and the other refuses to inform on you, you are set free

2. If both inform on one another, both get 5-year prison term

3. If both refuse to inform, both get a year prison term.

The rationale of this Dilemma is used to explain:

1.The weakness of public institutions: people want strong institutions but refuse to pay the necessary taxes

2. The case of lobbying interest. Ironically, the more the number of lobbies, the more the central power imperceptibly expand, which the lobbies don’t want

3. The more frequent the number of private bankruptcies (risk takers) the more the State/casino win.

“In order to reap the priceless good that derive from the freedom of the press, one must learn to accept the inevitable evils that it breeds.”

“Americans want the Union, but reduced to a shadow: they want it strong in few case and weak in most case, particularly in period of peace” Is that why the US government launch frequent pre-emptive wars outside its boundaries?

“”The aristocratic families would willingly preserve the democratic habits of the (political system) if only they could reject its social state and laws” Actually, the elite classes always succeed in circumventing the few laws that theoretically could have been applied to them.

“Ce qui rend la religion forte, ce n’est pas sa verite reelle, mais bien l’ historique (the stories retold, embellished, re-edited according to different periods, le retour du refoule, les reminiscences de processus archaique disparus et hautement effectifs” Freud in a letter to Lou Andreas-Salome, 1935)

Moise n’avait jamais entendu parler de Jehova (an idol of war adored by tribes living in the desert region between Palestine and the western part of Arabic Peninsula, the Midian), les Juifs n’ont jamais traverse la mer rouge, jamais ete jusqu’au Sinai. La religion de Moise, un Egyptian qui adore le monotheism d’Anon d’Egypt, avait fini par s’imposer sous forme d’une tradition a demi-eteinte”  (Freud in a letter of 1935)

Les femmes, survivantes de l’inceste, regnaient le monde, et le régnent encore. La mobilite dynamique dans certain pays n’a fait qu’augmenter the rate of les survivantes. Ils one maintenant de facilities modernes pour fuir leur isolement. Cette fois-ci, les survivantes ont tendance a se vanger de n’impote quelle maniere avec les opportunites et les lois en applications

Je prefere qu’une femme belle et intelligente m’admire et ne m’aime pas. La compassion m’etouffe et je renacle devant une tendress mal meritee.

Si je dois publier un receuille de poem, le titre serait: “Pas d’amour. Mais tout le reste

“La guerre n’est qu’une rechute temporaire dans un etat primitive”? Ca ne veut rien dire. Un état primitif est une bonne connotation. Les armes modernes et les guerres trop frequentes  (pre-emptive wars and civil wars…) doivent avoir un term trop fort revelant de “the Evil state of affairs” in human conditions

La ou Freud passe, l’herbe tender de l’innocence ne repousse pas? Many of Freud’s disciples quit his teaching, or mostly were discarded by him, because they had problems with their sexuality and couldn’t bare a psychanalysis disciplines mainly based on sexual fundamentals. Adler had to say: “Une broutille, la sexualite” Women can get rid of sexual passions et problems in mid-age, but it is the males who suffer from these difficulties most of their lives.

Have you read or seen Lolita of Nabokov? I read sections of this book, standing in one of Barnes and Noble bookstore in Montgomery County (Maryland), because there were no facilities to sit. The book sounded more erotic than the chaste movie, and I was glad in was directed that way. I saw the movie twice. I saw it again last night and was happily surprised to notice that it was Lolita who was running the show from beginning to end. The times she got angry was calculated: She was seeing Clare (Peter Sellers) from the start before meeting James Mason (who played a difficult and convincing part of a middle-aged man, total in love with Lolita but managing to retain  his responsibly as a father-in-law.) Lolita (with all her instinctive smartness as an enticing girl) was duped by Clare who intended to use her in porno movies and she refused and was kicked out to survive on her own. They overcrowded funny Sellers in his role, even when he knew that he was about to die. How could Mason be duped by Sellers in so many occasions if he didn’t care that much about Lolita?

Have you seen Basic Instinct? I saw it at least twice. Last night was wonderful because I saw it again before they showed Lolita. I loved this film that was packed with plenty of erotic scenes and a smart content. Who do you think was the killer? Until the last second, showing the ice pick under the bed of Sharon Stone, you would side with everybody that it was the psych professional woman who was the killer (another great body). Apparently, after finishing a book about a targeted killer, Sharon made sure to kill the real life character of her story.  Douglas is to be ultimately murdered by Stone since she had finished the new book about him: she was totally clear about it when she told him so: he refused to believe her because he started to believe in her innocence.

Do you think that every belief system pre-suppose that there is a fact of the matter in the mind of the community? That people gravitate toward the position they would like it to be true? And attach any supposed facts to it in order to satisfy any rational process? Belief systems such as an afterlife, causal link between minimum wage legislation on unemployment, affirmative action elevate the civilized culture, human rights legislation is typical of our species…?

Laziness of the mind adopts conformist dispositions and accepting the authority of others. For example,

1. Heuristics and cognitive short cut biases

2. Reflecting and perpetuating the economic and political system under which they live, by following what is dangled to them as a majority opinion

Tout cela, les mals d’amour, la honte de sa faiblesse, les letters non repondues, les echeques… continueraient a la devorer, de la consumer jusqu’a la fin de sa vie.

Tout cela, c’etait l’experience. Elle pourrait ecrire un livre. Elle pourrait ecrire une chanson. Se metre a la musique. Faute de se tuer (Rosamond Lehmann)

“The authority that rests on instinctive respect is absolute, as long as nobody contests its right. It is reduced to almost nothing, the day it becomes an object of discussion” A de T

The spirit that guided the French Revolution was the books and pamphlets written in the abstract. The same fondness for general theories, complete systems of legislation, and exact symmetry in the laws. The same taste for the original, ingenious, and novel in institutions. The same urge to remake the entire constitution in accordance with the rules of logic and a uniform plan… What is meritorious in a writer is more often than Not a flaw in a statesman.” A de T. Isn’t the same path that Lenin undertook in the soviet revolution? Isn’t what happened in 1848 when the republicans failed to deliver what the people demanded after ousting Louis Phillip from power? Is the EU Constitution  based also on abstract notions?

Botros Maaluf, grandfather of Amine Maaluf, an enlightened man throughout his life, wrote in 1923, a year before his death: “I am tired, tired of decrying the sate of affairs in our countries of the Orient. Replace country by calamity. Replace Orient by malediction. You’ll have an accurate idea of what I’ am talking about”

Botros opened schools where the students in higher levels taught student in lower levels because of shortage in adequate teachers after the years of famine and mass immigration.

Another proposed Senate institution in Lebanon (Majless Shouyoukh)?  Why, have we started generating oil revenue to sustain more of these redundant characters? These militia leaders have gone way beyond showing their despising behaviors toward the citizens

This parliament is Not going to elect a president to the Republic, until the system is ripe to fall. The Parliament will then elect any symbolic President to fool the people that the system has been repaired. Even a reformed election law will Not save this system: Lebanon is surviving on a daily basis and the citizens can long forgotten what public planning means. What the youth movement should be doing is to accelerate  its investigative reporting on all the institutions, gathering facts on the ground for pragmatic reforms and laws.

You are bored when in good health. When you become senile, you stop feeling bored, but people observing you feel bored for you. Accumulated feeling of boredom. The innovating person is the one who can break a breach (une fente de perspective) in the fort of boredom. An alternative is to carry a light backpack and start walking: hoping that one of the media will discover you dying of hunger of totally dehydrated. Better yet, just dead: Let them investigate on you for 15 minutes.

Bacteries sans odeur: ils repoussent les bacteries puantes.
Wa dawini billatti kanat hiya al da2ou.
It works almost all the time if you know the taxonomy and experiment with the opposing functions of the same entities

Le nerf vague, la plus importante voie de communication entre l’intestin et le cerveau, raconte tout un tas de nouvelles au cerveau: les molecules des repas, les hormones dans le sang, les status des cellules immunitaires et les types de bacteries.
Une frequente stimulation de ce nerf ameliore le bien-etre et bloque l’angoisse.
Manger toujours

Le muscle le plus puissant (80 kilos de pression) est fait pour le broyage et le concassage: la langue est le coach qui distribue et guide les particules et puis attrape une bouchee de 20 ml et la propulse vers le palais mou.
Sans ces passe temps, l’homme mourrait d’ennui

It does Not matter what is your religion, gender, race, color… If you don’t carry a colonial passport, your death in any assassination attempt will go invisible

Free access to tools that permit private and individual power to tailor-made education, find inspiration, model our environment and share our adventure with all who need them…”(Stewart Brand in his Whole Earth catalogue, 1968)  Sound that the less fortunate can make good use of these opportunities. That was half a century ago, many are applying this opportunity when available, though only the elite class is mainly profiting from any of these facilities.

La formation durait 6 mois chez LF Rothschild (the richest family ever and dominating all the other financial multinationals). J’etais un connector: J’avais a place 500 coups de fil par jour pour essayer de franchir le barrage des secretaries. Quand je reusssis a en avoir un “client” au bout du fil, j’avais a dire: “Boujour Mr, Machin, Ne quittez pas. Je vous passé Scott, mon patron” Wall Street c’est fait pour les tueurs, les mercenaires. C’est la meme procedure pour commencer en Real Estates: J’avais a placer 50 coups de telephones par jour et dire “Do you want to buy or sell your property?”

In Canaan mythology, the body (basar) was the domicile of 2 kinds of souls: The vegetative nephesh (nafess) and the spiritual rouah (rou7).

Betyle (Beth El), the stone of God, les obelisques. Byblos, book, gebel, Gobel, Giblet. Reschef: Maritime God of war.

My greatest pride and achievement in my life so far is when I publicly dared to condemn the Saudi Kingdom in its savage pre-emptive war on the Yemenis (Hassan Nasr Allah)

Women who were engaged in the emancipation of women in Lebanon and their human rights since 1947: Ibtihaj Kaddoura, Laure Tabet, Eveline Bustros, Julia Tohme Dimachkiyeh, May Ziadeh, Najla Sa3b, Emilie Fares Ibrahim, Myrna Bustani, Laure Moghaizel, Alia Berti Zein, Leila B3albaki…

Regret: There was a French girl student in my class of Physics/Chemistry at the university. We spent 2 years in that program and I don’t recall I have ever talked to her. She was slim, slightly red-headed, hair cut  a la garcon, rather flat-chested and elegant in her sober attire and wore the same flat shoes. I think she was pretty. It would have taken a forceful determination from any girl to take the initiative and lead me to utter a few sentences.

Don’ try to make me scale any piece of art from 1 to 10. It is either I like or I better Not offer an opinion. Artistic talents and knowledge are acquired in your early years and I was Not educated on these matters.

This parliament is Not going to elect a president to the Republic, until the system is ripe to fall. The Parliament will then elect any symbolic President to fool the people that the system has been repaired.
Even a reformed election law will Not save this system: Lebanon is surviving on a daily basis and the citizens can long forgotten what public planning means.
What the youth movement should be doing is to accelerate its investigative reporting on all the institutions, gathering facts on the ground for pragmatic reforms and laws.

Lebanese Women who were engaged in the emancipation of women in Lebanon and their human rights since 1947: Ibtihaj Kaddoura, Laure Tabet, Eveline Bustros, Julia Tohme Dimachkiyeh, May Ziadeh, Najla Sa3b, Emilie Fares Ibrahim, Myrna Bustani, Laure Moghaizel, Alia Berti Zein, Leila B3albaki

In Canaan mythology, the body (basar) was the domicile of 2 kinds of souls: The vegetative nephesh (nafess) and the spiritual rouah (rou7).

Ni heros, ni bourreaux. Un peu de douleur, un peu de plaisir. Je ne lui aurait donne que cela (Colette)

Another regret. She occasionally paid her grandmother visits, from the other part of the continent. I occasionally wrote her letters in the name of her mentally handicapped grand mother. One of the letter included a convoluted sentence that she picked up as a confession of love. And it was. A couple of weeks later she showed up. She went jogging and rubbed her feet with lotion. She then asked me to go for a walk. She wanted a verbal confirmation. I was in a rot with my PhD dissertation and lacked the spirit for such kinds of conversation. I couldn’t master enough craziness to blurt out: ” I find you lovely, natural and compassionate woman…”  I didn’t see her again: I moved out to another old lady house whose son wanted someone to live with.

Qui repondrait en ce monde a la terrible obstination du crime, si ce n’est l’obstination du temoignage? (Abert Camus)

Mind you that we live in a world of appearances amid symbolic unassimilated meaning. We are sleepless creatures howling in our night dreams

Most probably, we are linked to the invisible: everything that our senses captured but failed to interpret it for our survival sake.

مدير عام الامن العام اللواء عباس ابراهيم صاحب الرؤية الوطنية والثاقبة والاستباقية في قوله ان توطين النازحين “يساوي مباشرة الحرب”، وان المطلوب هو الكف عن الرهانات الخارجية واستجداء الحلول المستوردة.

The Global Footprint Network also encourages people to eat vegetarian meals, shrink their energy use, and reduce their paper waste

Australia and the U.S., use a lot of resources in a year.
Others, like Brazil and India, use far less.
Many factors contribute to a country’s ecological footprint, including population size, standard of living and eating habits

The exact date of Earth Overshoot Day is determined by a simple formula.
Global Footprint Network takes the planet’s biocapacity (pdf), or the amount of natural resources available, divides it by humanity’s ecological footprint, or how much of the planet’s resources we use up, and then multiplies it by the days in a year

Enjoy the game. We are born to be suckered, and more times than we cared. This is the attribute of an addictive normal person: The harder we resist, the harsher we succumb.

360,000 foreign fighters were engaged in Syria since 2012. Currently, 90,000 are still on the ground, mostly fresh central Asians.
And more than 90,000 of them were killed and disappeared in thin air, never to be recognized.
Over $45 bn were spent with the objective of destabilizing the Syrian society.
Turkey, Saudi Kingdom and Europe contributed each 25,000 extremist fighters

Anyone can provide me with a link to a taxonomy for pains? A table, a graphics, an article that include a table of various pains and aches…names of the various pains, scale levels, sources of the pain… I have a day dream project of constructing a machine that delivers all sort of pains and to physically initiate the youth of what to expect as they grow up in life. I read that every contraction when delivery a baby, the mother feels like suffering from heart attack. Maybe by being subjected to pains, youth will desist from their absurd behaviors in inflicting pain, and decrease in number of wars, and pre-emptive wars.

Recently, there is a flurry of articles trying to give the connotation that the Near-East and the Middle -East is a Jewish region by its civilization or culture. For example, whenever there is a tribe anywhere else in the world, like “the Cherokees of North Carolina Mountains spoke an ancient Jewish language that was nearly unintelligible to Jews from England and Holland” or a “savage” tribe in New Guiney, or Ethiopia… researchers try to attach a DNA originating from a “Lost” Israeli tribe with unknown language related to an archaic Hebrew. If there were ever any Jewish tribes outside the Tora, whatever lost tribe was lost in our melting pot. After more than a century of excavation, Israel couldn’t find any proof of Jewish civilization, Not even a tablet written in Hebrew. The Jews were located around Jerusalem and the southern desert. They never took to the sea to spread any of their DNA

If there is a single stable theory of the spread of homo sapiens in the Mediterranean Sea Basin or the Black Sea, like in Europe, North Africa, Turkey and the Caucasus regions… is that the varieties of homo sapiens in the regions flocked to Egypt and the Levant (Syria, Lebanon, Palestine) and constituted a melting pot for thousands of years before immigrating every which way.

70 Republican leaders are demanding to stop funding Trumpcampaign.
I am sensing that the Zionist lobby in the USA is scared shit of the political positions of Trump on many critical matters that hurt their interests financially and politically.

 


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

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