“What’s past is prologue” is a quotation from Shakespeare’s play The Tempest. It means that all that happened before that time, the “past,” led two characters to an opportunity to commit a heinous act… That they are fated to sin by all that’s led up to that moment… That the past has set the stage for their next act, as a prologue does in a play.
Let us use 15-year-old James Prindle’s account of the incident as a starting point for our understanding of what happened almost two years ago:
The simple fact is that there were at least eight kids and two adults in James’ family’s apartment on the late afternoon and early evening of August 16, 2010. Any one of them could have sexually assaulted James’ 23-month-old sister Neily Shea.
It is stunning that Memphis police detectives, sergeants S. Kelly (a female detective) and C.J. Ray (the male detective who just a few hours into their investigation told James they’d already “thrown away the key”), apparently did not look into the backgrounds of all possible suspects before jumping to the conclusion that brothers Noah (age 13) and Micah (age 11) Scheulin were to be believed, and James was not.
Whereas James had never been in trouble with the law before that night, both Noah and Micah had been in trouble before—plenty of it.
Noah’s arrests included unauthorized use (theft) of a motor vehicle, 2 counts of disorderly conduct, 2 assault counts, 2 counts of vandalism, truancy, and violation of probation. Micah’s arrests included 2 counts of truancy, simple assault, and possession of marijuana. The brothers both had a reputation around the neighborhood as trouble makers. And of all these charges, which words jump out at you? “Assault.”
But here is an even more interesting fact, given the nature of the crime. For a period of several years from 2002 to 2007, when Noah was 5-10 and Micah was 4-9, the brothers were reportedly victimized by a ring of a half-dozen sex offenders who operated a “private camp” where the Scheulin brothers were taken without parental supervision for “fishing trips.” What we are told actually happened there is the boys were drugged, made to perform sex acts on men, and photographed. One of the members of this sex trafficking ring is reportedly a social worker, some are said to be listed on sex offender registries in Tennessee and Minnesota, and all are reportedly “under investigation.”
. Scheulin says he was duped into believing the camp was legitimate, and was even charged fees to send his boys there.)
James was and is shocked at the very idea of sexually abusing a toddler—the idea had never even occurred to him before the perpetration of this disgusting crime. Yet for the Scheulin brothers such perversions are familiar and even normative. Why would this information not have been uncovered and considered relevant to the investigation by detectives Kelly and Ray?
Instead, the detectives appear to have accepted the Scheulin brothers’ deceptions at face value and, without any physical evidence whatsoever, decided to pin the crime on James just a few hours after James himself asked a neighbor to summon the police—hardly a natural thing for a perpetrator to do.
As I have written before, this case has been shrouded in extraordinary secrecy and official obfuscation from the very beginning, which seems quite suspicious to me. A professional investigator we dispatched to Memphis was stonewalled and threatened with arrest by the court clerk for requesting court records, and he was forced to leave an open court hearing without cause.
Is it possible that the Scheulin brothers are being protected by someone who does not want the truth known? Is this why the brothers were charged with the lesser crimes of facilitation and marijuana possession and are now living free?
And why in heaven’s name would James need the Scheulin brothers’ help if he had been inclined to commit this crime? As a frequent caretaker and babysitter of his younger siblings, he would have had any number of better opportunities to commit such an act in privacy, and not in the midst of a three-ring circus with ten other people around.
Is it possible the Scheulin brothers are being shielded because delving into this case might expose a wider network of pedophiles and pornographers who are operating in the Memphis area? According to a 2011 article by the National Association of Adult Survivors of Child Abuse (
), child sex services are flagrantly advertised in Memphis.
“It’s more serious than most people realize,” said Ryan Dalton with Operation Broken Silence, a Memphis-based human rights group fighting human trafficking. Dalton says finding child trafficking in Memphis is as easy as logging onto a computer. In September 2011 the Tennessee Attorney General joined other states calling for a website called Backpage.com to shut down its adult section, saying that ads for prostitution—including ads trafficking children—are rampant on the site. “They’re advertised as 18 or 19 but when you look at the pictures, they look like little kids,” said Dalton.
There are an estimated 27 million people living in slavery around the world today. Human trafficking has become at least a $10 billion a year global industry. An estimated 48% of it is sex-related, and 50% of victims are under the age of 18.
Trafficked children are significantly more likely to develop mental health problems, abuse substances, engage in prostitution as adults, and either commit or be victimized by violent crimes later in life. They are more likely to have an appetite for, and feel the fever of, sexual perversion.
The Scheulin brothers appear to be living out an expected pattern for sexually abused children. James Prindle is not.
James is an innocent patsy. He is being railroaded. His only crime was lying to police when they first showed up, but he tried to correct that.
For whatever reasons they may have had, the police and prosecutors have chosen not to believe the truth and are now basing their case on error, mendacity, or their own warped fantasies.
Groove of the Day