I woke up yesterday morning regretting the anger I felt the night before when I wrote “Heedless.” I have always prided myself on being nonjudgmental, but I was a very harsh judge indeed as I wrote that post. The first thing I did when I awoke was to change a single word in the post which, on reflection, just went too far.
Dana tells me that I had every right in the world to have been out-of-my-mind furious on Thursday night. I’d just spoken with James Prindle and he told me that Sydebotham was leading him to believe that an erosion of support was happening and that it was James’ fault—as if James needed to bear any more burden in his present situation. I had just learned that Blade Reed’s attorney was leaning towards a decision to resign from the case because of Sydebotham’s multiple deceptions. And I had just received word the day before that Claiborne Ferguson is suing The Redemption Project for our supposed failure to pay him under the terms of a counterfeit contract that I never signed nor have even seen—Sydebotham’s handiwork again.
I had already been resentful of Sydebotham for diverting my attention for two months from the needs of our kids with his stories of nonexistent informants and contract hits on our heads—and then there were all these new revelations which will distract me months into the future and require me to clean up a mess that is so large we have not even now assessed its full dimensions. And all that money lost and the many months of hard work that had gone into raising it… and the betrayal of trust of the many donors who had worked so hard to earn that money in the first place.
On top of all this mess, this was the 19th anniversary of Holly’s death, and Henry and I had just spent a long time on the phone nursing our wounds which are not fully healed even after all these years.
So yes, I was pissed as hell at this selfish, lying, repulsive creature who had created so much damage to our work. And I was pissed as hell at the police in Wisconsin who seem to be protecting Sydebotham by refusing to even investigate these obvious crimes against law and common decency.
It seemed almost too much to bear alone, and I invoked the Universe to create a hell on earth for this awful man who cares only for himself and who is continuing his involvement with kids and his fleecing of decent, well-meaning people to finance “good works” which are actually elements in theft-by-swindle schemes and very evil indeed.
Yet I awakened the next morning wondering if I’d gone too far in essentially calling down a curse on this man, whether or not you believe in curses or the power of prayer. I struggled all day Friday with this question.
As it happens, Friday was an immensely productive day with respect to our investigation. We located proof that Sydebotham has multiple false identities (of which “Stephen Sydebotham” may be just one). We uncovered information which goes a long way towards explaining why Wisconsin law enforcement refuses to open an investigation into his crimes and is, in fact, protecting him. We discovered evidence of additional felony crimes to which Sydebotham is connected, and which suggest he presents a serious and continuing threat to children. And Sydebotham himself made yet another false denial in a comment on yesterday’s post which reconfirms that he will never come clean and reform his ways.
By last night the thought finally resolved itself that, far from being a distraction from our work for kids, removing Stephen Sydebotham as a threat to kids is an important part of our work as defined on our website in its “Accountability Projects” section. Even though Sydebotham is not a public official, he is apparently in cahoots with them.
If Sauk County WI sheriff Chip Meister and district attorney Patricia Barrett will not enforce the law and allow an investigation of Sydebotham to be opened, we will do their jobs for them and surface the truth for the whole world to see. They, like Sydebotham, will be held accountable because kids are being seriously harmed because of them.
This is no distraction, but central to our mission.
Groove of the Day