I told him I was relieved to hear this and apologized for my paranoia which had made me suspect that he had lost interest in helping James. All the cloak-and-dagger goings on in Memphis have gotten to me, I explained. He didn’t seem to have been offended that I’d feared the worst. We moved on.
After a frank conversation in which questions and answers flowed both ways, he agreed to take James’ case. He will stand with James at his July 18 sentencing hearing.
His name is Michael Scholl.
Mike has a sterling reputation in the Memphis legal community as a man of brilliance, skill, courage, and integrity. He was highly recommended by several knowledgeable sources we respect. Mike has been successfully representing individuals and businesses accused of criminal offenses in Tennessee and throughout the United States for over 18 years. He is board certified as a Criminal Trial Specialist by the National Board of Trial Advocacy and the Tennessee Board of Continuing Legal Education. I was drawn to him because he has taken on the System and prevailed.
He is just the kind of guy we had hoped for. We believe in him.
Rose Stanley called a little before 10:00 to ream me out for “defaming my character” and for publishing “false information suggesting that I framed this child I have loved and supported unconditionally.” She said that she works with law enforcement and that reporting Deep Throat’s allegations could affect her livelihood.
“Who is this ‘Deep Throat’ anyway, and why would you choose to call him that in a story about child abuse and pornography?” she demanded.
“Watergate, Ma’am,” I answered.
“Watergate?! I was born after Watergate. We don’t know anything about that. All we know is the porn movie.”
She said she was appalled at my use of a picture of the shadow of a child who appears to be giving oral sex. “Where did you get that, anyway?!” she demanded. “Why would you even do that?”
(Because we Americans only seem to fix problems that outrage us.)
She questioned my character and the motives of “this Stephen” and me.
She asked how we account for the money we have raised for James’ defense and suggested we are making money for ourselves from the advocacy work we do for kids.
(I wish we were bringing in so much money that this would even be possible.)
She told me to take down the offending post or she would sue. She said she did not want her name associated with this case and that I did not have permission to publish her Facebook picture. She cut our call short because her attorney was calling.
(I have since removed the picture because it was not essential to the post. If there is any chance she is telling me the truth, this might assure her that I have an open mind.)
Then she called back.
She swore on her faith in God and everything else that is sacred to her that she did not frame James. She said she was James’ only relative who had “been there for him” all along—long before we ever came on the scene, she kept reminding me.
She said our informant had got it wrong, and that it was Monica’s new apartment that she cleaned up, not the one where the second drawing was found. (Monica and her family were evicted from the old apartment where the assault took place.) Yet in a face-to-face meeting with Stephen three weeks ago at the jail, she told Stephen about cleaning the apartment, and Stephen still believes she was referring to the old apartment. So we are still not sure of what’s objectively true.
I told her that it is law enforcement that created this problem. If they’d made the effort to sort out the true facts of the crime, we amateurs wouldn’t have to be doing their jobs for them. If law enforcement had done their jobs, none of this mud would be being sprayed on the people even remotely associated with James and his family.
I also told her that so many people have lied to us and misrepresented themselves and their motives, it has been very difficult for us to sort out fact from fiction. I told her we have been doing the best we can under the circumstances.
We talked for the better part of two hours. She was very convincing and I would like to believe her. I would like to believe that James has at least a few decent family members who are still there for him… if he still wants them.
The meeting between Stephen and Rose happened three weeks ago when they both showed up about the same time at the jail to visit James. Because Stephen arrived first, he went in first. As Stephen was beginning to leave so Rose could come in, James asked Stephen not to go. It was not a casual request. It may not be too strong a way of saying it that James implored Stephen not to leave. “Please don’t leave me alone with her,” he said.
I’ve asked Stephen to ask James why he felt this way. In the final analysis, the boy must be our definitive guide to what’s real. We believe in him.
Less than two hours after I asked Stephen to ask James about Rose, I have received James’ answer. Here it is verbatim:
“She’s a bitch. I’ve never trusted her.
“Tell Rose: ‘You don’t know me anymore. You don’t know anything about my life, and you don’t know anything about me and haven’t for years. Stay out of my life.’
“If she visits me I will tell her to her face that she is two-faced and that I am not like that.”
Groove of the Day