I find I do need to issue a media statement, yes, unfortunately, and because of an event were others issued so-called media statements I require a policy regarding such statements. And I shall tell you why this came to be:
In around 2007, a group of people "came forward" claiming to be friends, family, and/or relatives of mine and took to contacting local police, FBI, hospitals, churches, reporters, TV stations, newspapers, and others issuing media statement, to as they claimed "spread the word" that there existed what they termed "an evil dog murdering, baby killing, human sacrificing sea witch living in Old Orchard Beach, Maine." One of the more prominent members of this group was the First Counselor of the Bishop of the Saco Ward of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Jim Thomas, who was also Old Orchard Beach's Town Manager at the time. The Bishop's second counselor, Joel Bailey was responsible for string up an online boycott via the use of FaceBook and the LDS church's official FaceBook page.
The result of these very public false accusations was my church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saint aka The Mormon Church) took these people at their word, WITHOUT doing any background check to verify that these people were in fact who they claimed to be (which they were not) and decided to excommunicate me based solely on the false testimony of these false witnesses.
At the center of their accusations was the death of a small boy in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Note that I live in Maine and having Agoraphobia had not step foot off my land in more than 20 years, and thus had not been to Utah.) The boy drowned in the bathtub while his mother was talking on the phone. She claimed in court that a witch had put a curse on her family, thus causing the boy's death. Her relatives stepped up to say "I know a witch who lives in Maine, I'll bet she did it." I knew nothing of any of this, until one day I received a letter from the Prophet informing me that the Church High Counsel of Salt Lake City was being asked to investigate me on murder charges, they claim being that I had murdered a dog and used it's body to cast a death spell from Maine to Utah and cause the death of little Craig Thomas.
It became a media circus and a confusing nightmare of events and investigations. I am a 5th generation Mormon, had raised in the church in a family that had 100% total isolation from any and all outside (non-Mormon) influences. I didn't even know what a witch or witchcraft was, let alone had ever heard either term before. To top it off I have Autism, I can not speak verbally, and I have Agoraphobia and still live on the very isolated farm, far removed from mainstream society. Who these people where, why they suddenly showed up in my yard (marching around with signs) protesting me and accussing me of witchcraft was completely beyond me.
The FBI in turn investigated this group and it was discovered that the men behind the accusations, Jim Thomas and Joel Bailey were in fact embezzling money to the turn of $3million dollars and had devised this ludicrous "sea witch story" as a way to draw attention away from themselves. Both men went to prison, all charges against me were dropped as false testimony, but the church claimed that even though the federal courts had declared I was not a witch and their were no grounds for the witchcraft accusations, that it was not possible for two Bishopric counselors to commit the crimes they had confessed to unless a witch had in fact put a curse on them thus clouding their minds and had in fact used witchcraft to cause them to steal the money they had stolen and thus in the church's eye they are to be forgiven and I am to be punished.
All I can think in response to this judgement from church authority is What the heck century are they living in? Are they even aware that the 16th century ended several centuries ago and we are now living in the 21st century?
I was informed by the psychologist whom the court had assigned to oversee the case, that because the Mormons in question, in spite of having graduate degrees from BYU and Utah State, were so socially cut off from non-Mormon society, they lacked the intellectual ability to mentally grasp the fact that witches, curses, demons, and spell-casting are fictional things that do not exist.
He said they used "herd mentality" to band together against the perceived threat (me) and fired by religious propensity and lack of common 20th century knowledge, were able to fuel one anothers hate. They were upset at the death of the boy and the distraught mother, unable to blame herself for leaving the boy unattended in the tub while she was on the phone, looked witchcraft as the reason he died. These two men (who were thieves stealing money and were looking for a scape goat) jumped on this woman's grief and saw it as a way to turn attention away from what they were doing.
He said that because I talk strange (because of my Autism), dress strange (because of my lack of non-Mormon socialization, and complete isolation from mainstream society since 1975), and the fact that I lived alone deep in the forest with only (200) pet animals for companionship and thus was a rarely seen curiosity, that these men schemed to label me "The Sea Witch of Old Orchard Beach" as a way to take advantage of the dead boy's mother's fears. Because so little was known about me, people were quick to jump on the band wagon of "she must act the way she does because she's a witch". Because I had no knowledge of any of these events (due my having no electricity, thus no TV or radio, and not getting a newspaper either) I was not there to defend myself, thus rumors were able to spread and grow to alarming proportions before I was alerted to what was going on (by the arrival of the police and FBI dragging me off to court).
The psychologist explained to me that, people fear the unknown and are willing to believe almost anything about things they are scared of. I was "the unknown" in this case. No one had ever seen me leave my house in 31 years, not until they burned it, with me and my pets inside, down on October 18, 2006. Whether or not I was a witch was not important because I was illusive and rarely had there been sightings of me. Rumors that I must be a witch because only witches live in the forest with 200 cats and refusing to walk into town, had been circulated by children and their parents since the late 1970s. These men knew of these rumors and exploited them to cause terror in the heart of the dead boy's mother. They spread more rumors, adding rumors of demon possession and poltergeist activity to their stories and than sat back and let fear take it's toll. And than while others were focused on this "witch hunting hysteria" these two men went off to take $3million while local law was investigating me.
I was so flabbergasted and confused by this whole event. I'm still flabbergasted and confused by it.
The fact remains, I am not a witch, I never was, and I take great offense at these people running their asses all over the media slandering my reputation by saying I am a witch.
I am a 5th generation Mormon, my family literally built the first Mormon church buildings by hand making the bricks. My family has been with the Mormon church since the earliest days of Joseph Smith, way before the days when he meet up with and joined forces with Brigham Young. Mu family is literally one of the first 10 families to join the Mormon church, way back when it was still being called The Church of Christ, long before there was even a Book of Mormon being translated. How dare they call me a witch?!?
And dog murderer? What the hell? I'm the frigging founder of the Proctor and Gamble Boycott! Do you even know what that is? It's a group of animal rights extremists that make blood-bucket-tossing PETA groups look sane. The Proctor and Gamble Boycotts have the reputation of being the single most extreme outspoken anti-animal-abuse organization in the world, and I am that little 12 year old girl who 30s ago was all over every news station and newspaper in the country because I dared take on the biggest animal test lab in the world head to head. How dare those bastards accuse me of killing animals and practicing animal sacrifices?!? And how dare they go to the media and issue statements claiming that I testified of doing anything of this nature?
I asked everyone: Why? Why did they do this?
From my church all I got was hysterical rants of "God was punishing you for being an evil witch", but from the police, FBI, and others who worked on the case, I was told: "They did this because they were scam artists looking for a scape goat and you were their scape goat; unfortunately for them they thought you were too stupid to fight back and now they are in prison where they belong."
In my quest to find out why and how things were able to get so far out of control as they had done, I discovered that these two men had, had the help of 4 siblings: two brothers and their two sisters, all in their 40s and 50s. These 4 siblings had issued "media statements" to the "press" supposedly "on my behalf". They issued interviews to reporters claiming that they were members of my family, claiming that they had known me all my life, claiming that they had daily contact with me, claiming that they were acting on my orders and had sworn statements from me, which they claimed I had authorized them to issue to the media!
I didn't even know these people! These same 4 people were the 4 witnesses the church used to testify against me in the excommunication hearings. Unlike the Federal court, the church court did not do any background checks on these individuals and took them on their word that they were relatives, and were speaking on my behalf!
And what statements did they issue? Well, that is why this whole thing was able to get out of control, because they went to reporters and issued media statement which they claimed I had written, statements which "confessed" the fact I was a witch (a "Wiccan Priestess", they claimed in some statements, a "Practicing Pagan" in others - this was the first time in my life that I had ever heard either the terms "Wiccan" or "Pagan" before - I had to find a dictionary to find out what these words meant, same way I had had to consult a dictionary to find out what "witch" and "witchcraft" meant, during this event.), one statement was copied from a fiction short story I had written, the scene from The Twighlight Manor series where a baby was found beaten to death by The Traveling Shovel of Death. In their statement they claimed this was me writing instructions on how to use an infant's blood to cat death spells! They made no mention of the fact that it was part of a fictional horror short story, and instead claimed that I had written it as a letter to the media to show how one would cast such a spell! I was utterly flabbergasted by these so-called media statements I had supposedly issued to reporters via these 4 people who were claiming to be my "go-betweens".
Good God! If I'm going to issue a media statement to the press, I'm going to do it face to face in person, not type up notes and hand them to some total stranger (or even a relative.) And fact is, I have never once in my life ever issued a media statement to the press, at all!
And that is why I have placed this page on my web site. To inform you and everyone else that if you ever come across anyone or anything that claims to be or have a media statement from me to the press, know that THEY ARE NOT SPEAKING WITH MY PERMISSION OR MY KNOWLEDGE OR ON MY BEHALF!
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