Not again….

DSC_0014On January 5, 2018, a Reply to State’s Response to the Motion for the Lonoke County Prosecutor’s Office to Recuse was filed with the Court.  We are seeking an unbiased approach to justice and do not believe that to be possible as long as Larry Cook is part of the Lonoke political tapestry.  COOK is currently the Lonoke County Public Defender, sitting opposite the legal aisle he occupied twenty years ago.

We are not alone in this assessment, far from alone.  Honestly, there are too many who agree, but most are rendered bystanders and/or accomplices due to their silence, ignorance, or being unaware of the happenings around them and, in that capacity, each stands to be a contributor and/or enabler to the problem.  Ignorance can be bliss unless you’re a man hanging in a judicial balance.

COOK wasn’t the only player in HEATH’s conviction; many had their hands in the pot, stirring madly.  HEATH’s attorneys, MAC Carder and EDGAR Thompson didn’t play well with others – they didn’t get along with each other.  There is no denying HEATH failed to assist in his own defense, for the most part, but the assistance he did offer was a plea for help which either fell on deaf ears, hardened hearts or fearful subjects, whose alliances were to others; a self-preservation of sorts.

This piece, a timeline of sorts, although lengthy, attempts to open a window and allow a peek behind the curtain of a complex (by nature) veneer we call truth and justice.  The facts, with interjected commentary, are linked to documentation.

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From 1993 to 1998, COOK was the Prosecuting Attorney for Lonoke County, Arkansas, not to rerun for election, but returning to private practice.  In the capacity of Lonoke County PA, he was connected to the investigation into the claims of sexual assault by DOUG Hogan, a 16-year-old boy from the neighboring town of Carlisle, Arkansas, on the night of December 29, 1992, by scoutmaster, Jack WALLS.

The investigation by the Department of Human Services (DHS) was botched from the beginning and remained such until the end and, even then, reaching beyond its scope.  The investigation comprised of the following allegations:

  1. That the 1993 investigation of allegations made by Doug Hogan against Jack WALLS III was not done in a timely manner.
  2. That the 1993 DCFS investigation of allegations against Jack WALLS III did not reach an accurate result.
  3. That the problems with the 1993 investigation were the DIRECT RESULT OF THE POLITICAL INFLUENCE OF JACK WALLS’ FATHER, JUDGE JACK WALLS, JR. [emphasis added]

(DHS- Hogan 93, Internal Invest CONSOLIDATED)

On October 8, 1993, the State Police’s investigation into the HOGAN matter was closed by COOK, who “determined that the actions of the suspect (WALLS) in [this] case [did] not constitute a crime.”  Upon inquiry, neither the investigator (Sgt. Rainbolt) nor COOK would make a public statement regarding the closing of the case.

November 18, 1993, CLEDIS Hogan (father of accuser, DOUG Hogan), after receiving no assistance by the DHS nor the Lonoke County Prosecutors office (COOK) and Lonoke Police Department, persuades a Carlisle Municipal Judge to sign two warrants against WALLS for 3rd-degree assault and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.  Both charges were misdemeanors.

November 30, 1993 – A person listed only as “WALLS” on the form requested and received a copy of the Arkansas Department of Human Service’s (ADHS) investigative file in the Hogan case.

“[Joe] Quinn [ADHS spokesperson] said it is against state law for anyone to obtain a copy of a Human Services Department Investigation. ‘This is the last bastion of where children are protected.  Those reports are confidential, and no one by Arkansas law can get them,” he said.

“’I have no idea how this happened,’ Quinn said when he learned that such a file had been given to someone accused of soliciting sex from a minor.’”

On April 8, 1994, Jack WALLS is found innocent of the charges in Carlisle County.  Municipal Court Judge Gary Rogers, brought in from Hazen, Arkansas, presided.  Angela Alexander, Deputy Prosecutor from COOK’s office, prosecuted the case.

How is this possible?  “No comment” by all asked.  Bill Fletcher, former State Rep., appeared on WALLS’ behalf along with Charlie & Karen Knox.  The court session lasted only 3 hours.

Is it possible that COOK’s extension, Angela Alexander’s, less than stellar job was intentional, allowing Jack to be found innocent?  In fact, the charges Alexander brought against WALLS allowed for only one outcome – Jack would be found innocent.

The judge who presided over the Hogan matter in Carlisle Municipal Court was Judge Gary Rogers who, at the close of the case stated, “Whether there were sexual advances or not, the court today is not here to decide that, because that was not the charge before the court.”  Additionally, Roger declared, “I personally believe that there may be other charges that may [have] been filed, but weren’t…I’m not making any determination of whether there were sexual advances or not.  That, again, was not before the court.”

Two weeks later, on April 29, 1994, a Walls’ Deposition Hogan Civil Suit COMPLETE, in the Hogan civil suit raised a number of inconsistencies, resulting in a significant out-of-court, monetary settlement for the Hogans.

April 27, 1994, per the State of Arkansas Secretary of State Ethics Division Alexander Contribution of candidate Larry Cook, Hubert Alexander of Jacksonville, Arkansas.  ALEXANDER would represent WALLS in his 1997 rape charges.

October 1994 – Charles A. Walls, Jr. is appointed new circuit/chancery judge by then Gov. Jim Guy Tucker.  (Walls, Jr. serves from Jan. 95 thru Dec. 96)

STOCKS MURDERS

January 19, 1997, HANSHAW signs an Affidavit for the arrest of HEATH by Mark Hollingsworth.

January 21, 1997, Edgar hired as HEATH’S public defender.

January 23, 1997, Mac is appointed as co-counsel to assist defense attorney EDGAR due to the fact that EDGAR was not death penalty certified and MAC was.  LANCE Womack assists MAC, as does attorney Elizabeth Johnston (“BETSY”).  None aware at that time COOK’s intentions regarding HEATH’S possible punishment.

MAC immediately expresses his thoughts and concerns regarding a gag order being put into place, especially after “channel 4 running the client’s ‘confession’” on the nightly broadcasts.  EDGAR informs MAC that the “judge and sheriff were going to view the tape that the sheriff had compiled and make a determination of what to do about this.”  EDGAR tells MAC that HANSHAW didn’t want to sign an order.

One must ask…who would a gag order benefit, who would it not?  Does a judge have that discretion?

One day later, on January 24, 1997, MAC files and hand-delivers a proposed Order to the prosecutor and the Court requesting a gag order.  MAC gives three versions of the proposed Order and asks HANSHAW if a hearing would be required to which HANSHAW states no.  This Order for Control of Publicity (gag order) was not signed by HANSHAW for almost two months, not until March 20, 1997.

 January 31, 1997, MAC is informed by LANCE that EDGAR was trying to get in touch with him on Wednesday, January 29 and that EDGAR also called back on Thursday, January 30, and was wondering why MAC had not called him back.

According to a Memo to the File, MAC states that he had hearings on Thursday and Friday and was out of the office sick on Wednesday night.  He called EDGAR’s office at 8 a.m. on Friday, January 31, and spoke with SARA Talbert (paralegal for Edgar Thompson), telling her that MAC and LANCE tried to call EDGAR’s office on Monday and Thursday but that they got no answer.  MAC called EDGAR back after a hearing he attended in Hampton and EDGAR began immediately berating him and LANCE for “messing up all the work he had done on the case;” specifically accusing LANCE of going to Lonoke and being rude to HEATH’s family.

MAC informed EDGAR that LANCE had not been to see the family yet.  EDGAR did not believe MAC.  He continued to tell EDGAR that his office was trying to keep him informed of what was going on but had trouble reaching him because on three occasions they could not get an answering machine at EDGAR’s office.  EDGAR told MAC that they had not called because they had caller ID and their number was not reflected on it.  MAC tried to explain why he hadn’t called him back on Wednesday and Thursday because he didn’t receive the message until Friday due to being out of town on other cases.  EDGAR told MAC he had other cases as well.

Eventually, they came to an understanding that they needed to work together and he told him that he would advise him of all MAC’S office’s doings on the case and EDGAR’s office to do the same.

MAC notes in the memo that his office had numerous instances documented where EDGAR had been rude to MAC’s staff and that it is obvious EDGAR resented MAC’s office for being lead counsel on two capital murder cases in his county.  In addition, he states that HANSHAW as well had had words against MAC’s office.

In this conversation with EDGAR on Jan. 31, EDGAR said that he and HANSHAW had “had enough of the Arkansas public defender commission and that they were through with us.”  MAC reminds EDGAR that HANSHAW had appointed his office to two cases.

Finally, MAC states that EDGAR informed him that the “Stocks kid was faking and that he and the judge thought the kid was a cold-blooded murderer.”  EDGAR proceeds to describe to MAC a statement about what “the kid” supposedly told him when MAC changed the subject because they “were on a soft cell line.”

Did MAC truly believe their calls were being monitored?  By whom, COOK’s office?  Does this imply MAC didn’t trust COOK?  In addition, let’s be reminded that the Code of Conduct for United States Judges, adopted by the Judicial Conference on April 5, 1973, states in part:

Canon 2A. An appearance of impropriety occurs when reasonable minds, with knowledge of all the relevant circumstances disclosed by a reasonable inquiry, would conclude that the judge’s honesty, integrity, impartiality, temperament, or fitness to serve as a judge is impaired. Public confidence in the judiciary is eroded by irresponsible or improper conduct by judges. A judge must avoid all impropriety and appearance of impropriety. This prohibition applies to both professional and personal conduct. A judge must expect to be the subject of constant public scrutiny and accept freely and willingly restrictions that might be viewed as burdensome by the ordinary citizen. Because it is not practicable to list all prohibited acts, the prohibition is necessarily cast in general terms that extend to conduct by judges that is harmful although not specifically mentioned in the Code. Actual improprieties under this standard include violations of law, court rules, or other specific provisions of this Code.

A cold-blooded killer; considered as such by HEATH’s own defense counsel and the Judge overseeing his case – an appearance of impropriety? Bias?

February 3, 1997, MAC receives a call back from SARA, informing her that she was going to call Billy Burris of the State Hospital and request that HEATH’s evaluation be expedited.  MAC asks her why she would want to do that and SARA replied that she wasn’t sure why but the “judge wanted her to.”  MAC informs SARA that they did not want to get in a hurry to try the case as there is much mitigation to discover if the PA is going for the death penalty.

SARA asked MAC, during this call, what the name was of the psychiatrist MAC sent down for the initial interview with HEATH.  SARA went on to say that the client (HEATH) was trying to “snow” MAC into thinking that he was all upset and that actually, the client was faking.  MAC tells SARA that he is not qualified to make that determination and that they cannot assume things and must rely on their experts to give the facts and any diagnosis.

Edgar’s office reiterating the fake client label is more bothersome than it appears on the surface.  From the beginning of his representation of Heath until the conclusion, it is assumed that EDGAR met with Heath face to face two times, three at the most yet such judgment is easily suggested and spread.  To what extent, one has to question.

MAC attempted to explain to SARA the mitigation, investigation, and work that must go into a death penalty case in order to prepare for an adequate defense.  She told MAC that the prosecutor was not going to make a determination of whether or not he was seeking the death penalty until the file was put together.

Still no decision regarding what punishment is being sought and no gag order controlling the talk.

February 3, 1997, MAC learns that HANSHAW has not signed the gag order and he reluctantly ask for a hearing in order to make a record of HANSHAW’s refusal should a request in change of venue needs to be made.  A call was made to COOK inquiring if the situation can be taken care of without a hearing.

MAC reminds EDGAR the importance of keeping options open since a decision on the death penalty had yet to be made.  MAC reiterates his conversation with SARA from the day before wherein he expresses his concern in expediting HEATH’s mental evaluation; all mitigation must be considered.

Should COOK waive the death penalty, all would essentially be moot, and the Commission would be removed from the case, allowing for EDGAR to proceed as he wished.  Until then, MAC states, “we cannot afford any type of infighting within our team which may jeopardize the representation of our client.”

 February 4, 1997, MAC sends a letter to Edgar advising him of the situation with the gag order, recalling the events leading up to the current situation.  Eleven days – no gag order in place.

 February 5, 1997, MAC drafts a memo to LANCE and BETTY stating:

“Be careful to reduce to writing all contact made with co-counsel, EDGAR Thompson and his assistant, SARA (date it, time it, file it).  Make notes of all phone calls and any actions that has to do with this case so that we can apprise them of the way we screw up capital murder cases and generally just sit around here on our asses doing nothing.  Thank you.”

February 6, 1997, MAC talked with COOK about the gag order (proposed on January 24).  According to MAC, COOK will take the order MAC sent to him Tuesday to see if the judge will sign it in the morning.  If the judge wants MAC’s office to sign off on it, then they will do so.  MAC informs his office of the situation and asked BETSY that, if she were not in the office, to make sure a lawyer is there to sign the order in the case it was faxed to MAC’s office.  The hearing for the gag order was set for Tuesday, but COOK said he would reset it for February 18th, if HANSHAW would not sign the order.

Twelve days after MAC files a motion for a gag order, in a small town just over 4,000 people, regarding a triple homicide, COOK allows “talk”.  People talk, especially in small towns where everyone knows everyone.  This order should have been signed immediately; each day unsigned allows for rumors, speculation, and the possibility of both adversely affecting the case.  Can a reason not to sign be fathomed?

February 7, 1997, Edgar sends a letter to Mac memorializing a meeting held at the Concord Methodist Church where people gathered to discuss what happened and why.  EDGAR took notes of information given by those in attendance who spoke up.  Keith Anthony, a college friend of HEATH, mentioned information regarding HEATH and JACKS’s relationship and how JACK was training HEATH to be an assassin.  EDGAR asked Keith for clarification if he meant Jack Walls, Keith said yes.  EDGAR stated, “Jack Walls?”  HEATH’s grandfather, Martin Stocks, chimed in, “No, he is sitting beside you, he wouldn’t do anything like that.”  Strangely and without explanation, this information was not conveyed to MAC, the notes void of such statement.  (Affidavit of Keith Anthony with Exhibits redacted).  (Keith fax to Mac re church mtg)

February 11, 1997, at approximately 4:30 p.m., LANCE and MAC went to the forensic unit to meet with Dr. Kittrell.  MAC tells him that he is not trying to circumvent HANSHAW’s orders, but that HEATH was not discussing the events specific to the incident due to the fact that MAC’s office only had a small portion of the file.

MAC further stated that he would probably advise HEATH to cooperate fully in order to get a complete evaluation and normally they would, by this time, have the complete file for months.

Dr. Kittrell stated that he was “amazed” that HEATH got in that quick.  Dr. Kittrell further commented that he was under a court order and could not promise anything but that “they would not push the evaluation this week”.  He also said that he knew Billy Burris had spoken with someone on February 11 (judge or prosecutor?).  Kittrell allowed MAC and LANCE to peruse the file COOK had sent and, according to MAC, there seemed to be a difference in the times of the Hollingsworth Statement that Dr. Kittrell had and the one that MAC had (referring to Hollingsworth interrogation of HEATH).  Dr. Kittrell advised MAC and LANCE that HEATH had been interviewed and observed by him, Dr. Anderson, Marla Gergley, and the nursing staff.

At approximately 5:15 p.m. MAC and LANCE met with HEATH who appeared stronger than when they earlier met with him.  He was “very confident and composed” and said the “guards and nurses were talking about him flying” and that they “weren’t treating him the best in the west.”  HEATH stated that everyone was asking him questions.

MAC told HEATH that this was not “summer camp” and he had to comply with their rules, but to talk to NO ONE (nurses, guards, patients, etc.) about his case.

February 19, 1997, BETSY drafts a memo to MAC regarding a phone conversation she had with Judge HANSHAW. She inquired about rescheduling the hearing originally set for February 13, which was snowed out.  Defense wanted to take up their motion to compel discovery from COOK and stop the State Hospital evaluation until said discovery was received.  HANSHAW’s position was as follows:

  1. The hearing was only “tentatively set” for February 13 at 11:00. However, HANSHAW couldn’t hold the hearing at that time because HEATH would need to be present and he couldn’t attend due to his being at the State Hospital and all proceedings had been “stayed” until the State Hospital issued its report to the Court.

(This is absurd, HEATH would not need to attend a hearing wherein a motion to compel discovery was sought.  The defense simply needed the discovery of the PA’s office, which is necessary whether HEATH was being evaluated or not, acquiring discovery is essential/mandatory.  In such hearings, the judge simply demands the party that is not complying with rules of discovery to comply or be held in contempt.  There simply is no use for a client’s appearance.)

  1. The Judge felt that whatever issue the defense was having in gathering discovery from the PA, is “purely [an] honest mistake” as the PA is getting the file from the State Police in pieces, COOK’s office is understaffed, and HEATH’s case is not the only case the PA has. HANSHAW suggested that if the defense was missing something, they should call COOK’s office and simply ask for it and it would be sent to them ASAP.

(Had COOK’s office responded to any discovery requests, there would have not been a motion to compel COOK to do so.  The judge is simply not using his discretion in mandating COOK to comply but, rather, placing the burden upon MAC’s office.  One has to question bias on behalf of Judge HANSHAW.)

  1. HANSHAW wants the State Hospital to continue the evaluation, not because it’s a matter of defense strategy but done in the interest of justice. Had EDGAR not moved for the evaluation, HANSHAW would have ordered one on his own.  Since HEATH hadn’t been found fit to proceed, a defense couldn’t be formulated.  BETSY pointed out to HANSHAW that the defense was interested in more than just HEATH being fit to proceed or not, discovery was crucial.  Whether or not HEATH cooperated with the evaluation could seriously affect the efficacy of the evaluation especially since, as things stood, the possibility of the death penalty being sought was still on the table.  HANSHAW was unconvinced, stating that HEATH’s evaluation was something that was done in the interest of justice and that it was something the Court had an interest in seeing that it was done properly, and quickly.  Finally, HANSHAW believes the State Hospital can perform its evaluation whether HEATH cooperates with them or not.
  2. HANSHAW resents “Mr. MAC’s” claim that the Judge has been calling the State Hospital to hurry up HEATH’s evaluation. BETSY tried to explain that this wasn’t their claim, but the PA doing it and stating “just gotten off the phone with the Judge. . . etc.”  HANSHAW explained that the reason HEATH was sent to the ASH so quickly was out of concern for his well-being, considering the alleged facts of the case, the way HEATH looked and acted at his first appearance.  He recognized the fact defense had their own psychiatrist to see HEATH.  “In fact, the Judge said that that’s why he called the Sheriff and had HEATH placed on suicide watch.”

It’s important to note that in point #3 of HANSHAW’s position regarding HEATH’s evaluation, he states the Court has an interest in “seeing that it was done properly, and QUICKLY, yet in point #4, he makes issue with MAC’s office claiming HANSHAW was trying to “hurry up” HEATH’s evaluation, yet explains the reason HEATH was “sent to the ASH so quickly.”  Anyone else confused?  Don’t say I’m hurrying but I’m hurrying and this is why…

February 20, 1997, LANCE handwrites a memo to the file wherein he states he had a long talk with SARA.  He says she was friendly and talkative.  LANCE asked her if they had all the PA’s responses and she said they had whatever MAC had sent to them.  LANCE asked SARA if their office had been in touch with Dorothy.  SARA said that EDGAR had talked with her but she was unsure as to when.  LANCE told SARA that Dorothy had suggested the family write letters to give to COOK, asking him not to seek the death penalty.  SARA believed she had heard that from either MAC or EDGAR.  LANCE asked SARA if she would allow MAC to relay that to COOK’s office and she said ok.

SARA tells LANCE that she had known “Larry” since he was 10 years old and she “did not think he was going to seek death in HEATH’s case” but would in Jason’s case (another independent matter).  (Today, SARA Talbert is a paralegal in the Lonoke County Public Defender’s Office.  The Public Defender is Larry COOK.)

 February 24, 1997 – BETSY and LANCE meet with HEATH.

February 25, 1997 – LANCE hand writes a memo to the file.  He stated that he and BETSY visited HEATH at the Lonoke County jail and discussed the supposed escape attempt.  LANCE stated that HEATH was a little upset because MAC had told him to go ahead and cooperate with ASH for the evaluation and then EDGAR came out and told HEATH not to talk.

Cooperate – don’t cooperate.  The defense team can’t agree on HEATH’s defense, he’s left wondering what to do, who to listen to, etc.

Wednesday, February 26, 1997, BETSY drafts memo to MAC/file.  She states that a complete account of the conversation with HEATH during their Feb. 24th visit can be found in LANCE’s memo of February 25, 1997.

BETSY continues by saying that after they returned from Lonoke, LANCE called the State Hospital (ASH) to get copies of the reports of the alleged escape attempt by HEATH.  Bobby Hankins, chief of Public Safety at ASH advised that he had planned to go to Lonoke to talk to HEATH about what happened.  BETSY informs Hankins that one of HEATH’s attorneys would have to be present when they talked but that such a meeting would not be arranged until they had a complete copy of the investigation.

BETSY states that she called EDGAR to make sure he knew what was going on (escape attempt).  EDGAR had already spoken with Hankins and pretty much agreed with all Hankins said.  EDGAR offered, if needed, to be present when they talked.  EDGAR further states to BETSY that he had a “buddy” that would work on the UAMS police, so if they needed something, he might be able to help.

LANCE spoke with HEATH on Tuesday a.m. and advised him not to talk to Hankins without MAC’s office or EDGAR present.

BETSY finishes her memo to the MAC/file by stating she spoke with SARA to give her the name of the ASH Public Safety Chief, Bobby Hankins, and to have her “buddies over at the jail” keep their eyes out for Hankins trying to talk to HEATH, just in case.  LANCE had since spoken with Hankins again, who indicated he really may not even need to talk to HEATH since “everyone was saying pretty much the same thing.”  Hankins declined to tell LANCE what everyone was saying so MAC’s office still didn’t know what the ASH Chief thinks happened.

March 11, 1997, LANCE writes a note detailing the following:

EDGAR told HEATH (according to HEATH) somewhere in the 40-year range due to defendant’s age and how close he was to family, etc.  According to HEATH, EDGAR has been saying that for “awhile”).  EDGAR told HEATH he would probably have 3 possibilities: LWOP, L w/parole or 40 years with parole.

Sheriff told HEATH that COOK calls the sheriff and asks sheriff what he thought – sheriff will back up whatever COOK does.  Sheriff is trying to be HEATH’s friend, according to HEATH.

February 24, 1997, BETSY spoke on the phone with EDGAR inquiring about his feel for what’s going to happen with HEATH.  His response:

HANSHAW and COOK are currently in the middle of a “nasty name-calling contest.”  It seems that Judge HANSHAW thinks that “COOK is afraid to try cases, and that COOK and his staff are incompetent when they do try them.”  Apparently, HANSHAW and COOK’s victim coordinator (name??) have had some sort of misunderstanding because HANSHAW has openly called her a liar, which has created another problem between the judge and the prosecutor.

In light of this tiff, EDGAR thinks that if MAC backs off, HEATH will get a better deal in the long run.  If they tried to “make something happen” before HANSHAW and COOK get their problems worked out, or before COOK convinces the judge that it’s “none of his business which cases he tries”, we might not get as good of an offer.  EDGAR didn’t believe anyone was in a hurry with HEATH’s trial.

EDGAR further believes a current case (Gates), his trial, will occur before HEATH’s allowing for EDGAR to become death penalty certified by the time HEATH’s case goes to trial.  BETSY tells EDGAR that they would be “tickled for him” to be certified and, if that turned out to be the case, EDGAR might not even want MAC’s office around for HEATH’s case.

Bottom line, according to EDGAR, who said according to HANSHAW, hates his “commission” (MAC’s office) and wants EDGAR certified ASAP so he wouldn’t have to “fuck with us anymore.”  In addition, EDGAR suggested that MAC’s office handle the judge with kid loves because there’s this “whole string of tragic illnesses, deaths, etc. in his family” that he’s having to deal with and it’s making him a “real horses ass (more so than usual, apparently)”.

Tuesday, April 1, 1997, BETSY receives a phone message from Diana stating that SARA had called and that the plea date had been set for April 8, 1997, and trial set for June 3, 1997.  BETSY immediately called SARA to find out why these dates had been set and whether she/EDGAR thought that the case would actually go to trial in June.  SARA stated that HANSHAW had been “exceedingly difficult” lately, he had been the one to set the dates without really consulting anyone.  SARA reassured BETSY that all that needed to happen on April 8 was for HEATH to enter a plea. . . “no big deal.”

Wednesday, April 2, 1997, defense received notice from HANSHAW’s office that stated the dates given on April 1, by Diana, were indeed pre-trial and trial dates.

April 7, 1997, SARA contacted BETSY mid-morning from the courthouse to discuss Tuesday’s (April 8) hearing.  SARA inquired as to what time defense wanted to do it, because the judge had told her that he didn’t want to even bring HEATH over until all counsel were there and that it didn’t matter to him what time the plea was entered.  BETSY told SARA that she’d talk to MAC and call her back.  When she called back later that afternoon, BETSY informed her that if it was all the same to everyone else, MAC and his staff would be there around 10 a.m.  SARA said that was fine with them and that she would call Jeannie (Judge’s case coordinator) to confirm and set it up.  BETSY also called Jeannie, though she wasn’t sure if she actually spoke with Jeannie, and confirmed that MAC’s office had been in touch with SARA about doing HEATH’s plea around 10-10:30.  They indicated it was “no problem whatsoever.”

Tuesday, April 8, 1997, MAC and BETSY arrive at the Lonoke County Courthouse around 9:30, earlier than need be and ran into SARA who informs MAC and BETSY that HEATH’s plea of not guilty had already been entered.  During a break in the docket, MAC and BETSY spoke with HANSHAW who denied “any such conversation” with SARA and that they waited for them “as long as they could.”  MAC tells HANSHAW that HEATH’s plea would need to be amended and he agreed, mentioning a possible date of April 22 to re-enter the plea.

Later in the evening of April 8, SARA called MAC’s office, spoke with BETSY, and apologized, making certain that they understood that she hadn’t “set them up.”  She further stated that she talked to the case coordinator about what happened and she said HANSHAW came in Tuesday morning, wanted HEATH (and 2 other high-profile detainees) brought over, and to “go ahead and get them done and out of the courthouse.”  (see Memo to Stocks File 4.14.97)

April 22, 1997 – Heath pleads not guilty and not guilty by reason of mental disease and defect.

MAC inquires COOK’s intention regarding the death penalty, gave COOK one week.

Three months after murders, still no direction of possible punishment.

April 29, 1997 Lance writes note:  “HEATH wanted to know why MAC changed the plea.  I told him to make a good record – that’s how the plea should have been entered in the first place.  EDGAR has not been to see him [HEATH] since first time.

Three months since the murders and HEATH has been visited by EDGAR one time.  ONCE.

May 12, 1997, MAC drafts a note to the file regarding a phone call with SARA Talbert of Thompson’s office.  SARA informs MAC that HANSHAW pulled EDGAR and SARA aside and informed them that if MAC waited to the last minute to file motions that he would be mad, even “contemptuous”.

MAC continues by stating that he has approached COOK again asking his intentions on how HEATH’s case will proceed, informing him that the family did not wish to go to trial.  COOK says he is aware of the family’s wishes but has yet to make a decision.

As he told COOK in April, MAC reminds him that he would be glad to assist on any damage control he may need if he worried about the press, viz, the family would stand behind COOK if he pled the case out.  The family would do the opposite if he chose to proceed with a trial.  The family would go public if COOK went against their wishes and “bowed down under political pressure.”

MAC assures COOK that nothing would be spared in showing that the family (the only surviving victims) did not want a trial where all the “problems the family was having” would be under public scrutiny.

MAC was doing as asked, as pleaded by the family; advocating no trial.  The reasoning, unknown or understood at the time, would later be contemplated.  According to hand-written notes, Jack spoke w/Larry Cook – told HEATH’s family he need to plead guilty – Did he have influence?

May 20, 1997, MAC and LANCE went to Lonoke, viewed crime scene photos, conveyed offer to Defendant, advised EDGAR of offer.  EDGAR did not know who MAC was and immediately began dishing MAC CARDER with APDC!!) drove to the crime scene on Johnson road.  Defendant said he needed one week.

June 6, 1997, HEATH is sentenced.

WALLS INVESTIGATION

 July 1997, a young boy confesses to his parents sexual abuse by Jack Walls.  A “conversation” begins among neighbors.

 August 1, 1997, Chief Charles PECKAT reports the “Department of Human Services called Lonoke Police Department and alleged that Charles A. Walls, III was a suspect in some sexual deviant activity with a minor.”

COOK and Barbara Elmore conduct meeting between victims’ parents at the Lonoke City Municipal Building from 1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

The investigation begins.

August 4, 1997, first victim gives statement at Lonoke Police Department.

Numerous victims will come forward and give detailed statements of sexual abuse by WALLS.

September 8, 1997, Investigator Karen Clark interviews HEATH at Cummins, inquiring about any improper relationship with WALLS.  HEATH give a brief statement deflecting all truth regarding WALLS, going as far as to place blame on a different scout leader.  All accusations are denied.

 September 19, 1997, PECKAT sends letter to COOK requesting certain docs from BSA, COOK refused to furnish a copy of the subpoena or letter to PECKAT – lack of cooperation or interest in case with Pros. Office.

October 5, 1997, COOK receives lengthy case file from PECKAT’s office. PECKAT had items that he needed submitted to the crime lab for serology and print testing analysis.  COOK questioned him as to whether it was wise to send this evidence to the State Crime Lab.

October 6, 1997, Charles A. Walls, Jr. (JACK) was arrested pursuant to two warrants and charged with 2 counts of rape, held in Lonoke County Jail on $100,000.00 bond.

According to a letter written by PECKAT to HANSHAW (see 10.17.97 below), COOK discussed the WALLS matter with two families and states that PECKAT is no investigator and has prepared a poor case file.  Both families expressed no confidence in Cook or the Prosecutor’s Office.  He is “playing both sides.”

October 7, 1997, WALLS is charged with two counts of rape; four victims named.

October 17, 1997, PECKAT drafts a letter to HANSHAW in which he lays out his complicated interactions with COOK.

Honorable Judge Lane Hanshaw:

The Lonoke Police Department has been investigating a multitude of sexual molestation cases where several victims have identified Charles A. Walls III as the perpetrator.  This has been a very difficult investigation because Trust and Confidence had to be instilled in victims and families that the judicial system works.  These citizens have watched politics in our community and have developed a lack of trust where certain people are concerned.

Some victims that were first interviewed showed support when Charles A. Walls received the first two charges.

The Lonoke Police Department has not received support, guidance, suggestions, or communication from Larry Cook of the Prosecutors Office.

On 9/25/97, Mr. Cook was in my office where he received the lengthy case file, I had some evidence that was to be submitted to the crime laboratory for serology and print analysis.  Mr. Cook questioned me as to whether it was wise to send this evidence to the State Crime Laboratory.

On 10/3/97, Larry Cook came to my office and stated that he was only going to pursue three of the charges against Mr. Walls.  He did not give any explanation on why he did not seek warrants for two counts of solicitation of Capitol Murder.  He stated that he was not going to seek Rape charges on behalf of one Rape victim because he had a gut feeling that he should not because this victim would steal the spotlight.  Out of seven requests for Warrants, on victim was eliminated by The Statute of Limitations and the other required more investigation to determine an age group and date of offense.

On 9/25/9, a letter recommending no bond was requested because of the seriousness of the offenses and statements of retaliation from Mr. Walls on those that testified against him in a misdemeanor trial.  If he was angry enough to solicit murder on someone that brought misdemeanor charges, what is he going to do to someone bringing serious felony charges.

On 10/8/97, Larry Cook discussed this case with two of the families of the victims.  He tells one family that I am playing Lawyer and does not know anything about how to conduct an investigation.  He tells another family that I am not a good investigator and prepared a poor case file.  Both of these families have stated to me that they do not have confidence in Larry Cook or the Prosecutors office.  He is playing both sides against the middle where he should have an open line of communication, working toward the prosecution of this case.

On 8/19/97, a letter was sent to Larry Cook requesting certain documents from the Boy Scouts of America.  We did not receive all information requested and Larry Cook refuses to furnish me a copy of the subpoena or letter.  He said he made a second request for documents not furnished, but he says that I can not have any requesting documentation.  This is only one example of lack of cooperation or interest in this case from the Prosecutors office.  I will give others upon request.

Judge Hanshaw, I respect the position of Prosecuting Attorney and have worked with Attorneys for 21 years without many problems.  I receive phone calls daily from citizens, families, and victims as to why these other charges have not been filed.  They have asked that Larry Cook and his office cease from having any further involvement in this case.

It is with the deepest regret that I must agree and respectfully ask that Larry Cook and members of his office be removed from this case and a special prosecutor be appointed.  There is an appearance of conflict including a $300,00 campaign contribution from Hubert Alexander to Larry Cook when he ran for Prosecuting Attorney.

On the same day, COOK files Motion to Recuse so as to “avoid any appearance of impropriety.”

October 20, 1997 – Order granted by HANSHAW

On October 21, 1997, COOK is quoted by The Leader as saying he “doesn’t’ know Jack Walls personally, but he feels that since he has prosecuted cases before WALLS’ father, former Chancery/Circuit Judge Charles Walls, Jr.”  HANSHAW is stated as saying, “The fact that the defendant is the son of a colleague is not a problem.”

“I’m elected to do a job,” he said.  “If I got off every case where I know someone, I might as well resign.”  (Cook asks, is taken off Walls rape case)

October 22, 1997, Betty Dickey is appointed Special Prosecutor by HANSHAW.

November 5, 1997, HANSHAW issues a bench warrant for the arrest of WALLS, who is served without incident at the Remington Arms Co. by the Arkansas State Police and charged with four counts of rape, a Class Y felony, 2 counts of Violation of a minor 1st degree, a Class C felony and 2 counts of Solicitation to Commit Murder in the 1st degree, a Class A felony.  WALLS was held in the Pulaski County Jail in Little Rock, AR on a 1 million dollar secured bond.

 November 14, 1997, charges against WALLS are again amended to include two more counts of rape by Special Prosecutor Betty Dickey.

November 26, 1997, charges are once again amended to add two additional counts of rape.

 1998 – COOK leaves Prosecutor’s office and returns to private practice.

January 6, 1998, WALLS pleads guilty to five counts of rape and no contest to one count of rape.

December 30, 1998, Betty Dickey drafts a letter of support regarding HEATH’s matter.  The letter states:

TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN:

In 1997 and 1998, as the Special Prosecutor of the Jack Walls Rape cases in Lonoke County, I learned information relevant to the 1997 murder charges to which Heath Stocks pleaded guilty.  In the course of our investigation I learned that the Public Defender knew or should have known about Jack Walls’ involvement in the murders of Joe, Bonnie [Barbara] and Heather Stocks.  This information came from interviews with Heath Stocks’ minister, maternal grandmother, as well as the defendant himself.

While my prosecutorial duties involved reviewing facts related to the rape by Jack Walls, of the defendant, and not related to the murders he committed, I was, and remain, strongly convinced that Heath Stocks was not afforded a fair trial, nor adequate representation.

Therefore, I believe it is appropriate that this matter be reviewed to determine whether it should be submitted to the Governor for clemency, or, other legal steps should be taken.  Let me emphasize that I’m not advocating the defendant’s release, only that I, as an officer of the Court, uncovered critical evidence that should have been brought out in the 1997 murder case, but wasn’t.

January 11, 1999, PECKAT also drafted a letter on behalf of HEATH.  His letter reads as follows:

To Whom It May Concern:

On January 27, 1997, Joe, Bonnie [Barbara] and Heather Stocks were found slain in their home in Furlow, Arkansas.  A few days later, their eighteen (18) year old son, Heath Stocks was arrested and charged with capital murder.  On June 6, 1997, Heath Stocks pled guilty and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

On July 29, 1997, the Lonoke Police department began an investigation into allegations that a former Scout Leader, “Jack Walls III, had bene sexually molesting members of his troop.”  Our investigation revealed that one of those scout members was Heath Stocks.

In January 1998, victim impact statements were taken in Circuit Court.  The statements included information that Jack Walls had been caught with Heath Stocks at the Stocks Residence.  Heath’s mother, Bonnie [Barbara] Stocks sought advice on how to handle this problem because Jack Walls was a family friend.  Ultimately Bonnie [Barbara] and the rest of her immediate family were found murdered within three (3) weeks of her witnessing Jack Walls and Heath Stocks together.

I am not advocating that Heath Stocks be released from prison, but I do feel that there is evidence and testimony available at this time, that was not available or considered before Heath Stocks pled guilty on June 6, 1997.

In January 1998, Jack Walls II pled guilty to four (4) counts of rape and other sexual offenses.  One of those charges and plea of guilty involved Heath Stocks as his victim.  The opening of this case, may not do anything for Heath Stocks, but it may reveal the truth of what led up to these murders and why.

February 9, 1999, Joye Cook, the victim/witness coordinator during the WALLS trial wrote a letter to PECKAT in response to his sending his letter to her by fax for comment.  It reads, in part:

I received your letter by fax this morning and think it is a very good and compelling letter.  I think each one of us that has heard the “whole” story believes that justice was not served for Heath.  Like you, and I have told Heath this, I don’t think he needs to be out of confinement, but I do think he deserves a trial and possibly a confinement in a hospital where he can get help.

April, 2014 – COOK runs for election for the Twenty-Third Circuit as Judge and is defeated in the general election on May 20, 1014 by Ashley Parker.  PARKER is the Judge over HEATH’s current matter before the Court.

During COOK’s run, several individuals were interviewed about their opinions and views of COOK running for Judge.

On April 18, 2014, Charles “Charlie” and Karen Knox, parents of Wade Knox, the first “John Doe” minor victim to be identified from the WALLS’ court proceedings stated to Ed Galucki, writer for the Lonoke Democrat that COOK’s “conduct of the case shows he has no business being a judge.  No business at all.”

The Knoxes go on to say, Cook let social, political or professional influences of WALLS father, the late past Circuit Judge Charles A. Walls Jr., and Jack Walls’ standing in the community, shade his decisions.  “I don’t know if [COOK] was scared of Mr. Walls or not, but I think that is why [Cook] didn’t go after [WALLS] like he should have.”

Charlie further states, “[COOK] should have got himself out of it right away, but he tried to cover that mess up and when he couldn’t, he tried to keep it small.  Bit it was just too big.”

Per May 8, 2014, article in Lonoke Democrat entitled “On the wrong side of the ‘good ol’ boy’ system? by Ed Galucki:

One of two people central to one of Lonoke County’s most notorious cases echoed claims that Larry Cook, current candidate for Lonoke County Circuit Court Judge, allowed social and political pressures to affect his decisions as prosecuting attorney.

Heath Stocks, serving life-without-parole in the Arkansas Department of Correction (ADC) maximum-security unit at Tucker, in an interview with this newspaper Friday, also added new information to his controversial case.
Stocks said that when he shot his father, Joe; mother, Barbara; and sister, Heather on Jan. 17, 1997, Charles A. ‘Jack’ Walls III accompanied him to “make sure the job got done,” affirming a suspicion held by many involved with the case of Walls’ involvement in the killings. “It wouldn’t have ever happened if [Walls] hadn’t been there,” Stocks said. Until now, Stocks avoided saying that Walls was at the scene.

Stocks echoed the claim made by Charles and Karen Knox of Lonoke that Cook tried to either cover up or minimize the part played by Walls in the sexual abuse of a large number of boys. The Knoxes and Stocks say Cook let social, political or professional influences, specifically that of Walls’ father, the late Charles A. Walls Jr., a past circuit judge, affect his decisions as prosecutor early in the case.
Cook did not seek re-election in 1998 and has since practiced as a private attorney.

Cook, replying to a request for a response for an article April 24, released a statement. “Almost 17 years ago our community was devastated because of the shocking crimes committed by Jack Walls that came to light. I was the Lonoke County Prosecuting Attorney at that time and filed two rape charges against Jack Walls while continuing to review the file for additional charges before deciding to recuse. I made that decision to allow an out-of-county attorney to take over the prosecution to ensure there would be no question of prejudice,” Cook said.
On Tuesday, Cook was forwarded questions concerning Stocks’ claims, his responses are included.

The request to be recused was made by Cook on Oct. 18, 1997, accounts from the time are that the investigation of Walls began in early August.

In the interview, Stocks detailed why he believes it was Walls’ connection to his own case that caused Cook to shy away from questioning him about being raped by Walls. Cook, he said, had been a longtime friend to both Wallses, attending functions at the Walls family farm, and working at Walls’ law firm.

On Tuesday, Cook was asked, “Did you perform duties for or work with Charles A. Walls Jr. at his law firm prior to becoming prosecuting attorney?” Cook replied, “No, I did not.”

Cook was also asked, “Did you attend social, political or professional functions at the Walls farm prior to or after becoming prosecuting attorney?” Cook replied, “No, I did not.”

While the investigation of Walls was ongoing, and after Walls’s arrest in October 1997, Cook refused to speak with him, Stocks said. “[Cook] didn’t send anybody to talk to me… I do not remember having any conversation with him.”

On Tuesday, Cook was asked “Did you or any of your deputies speak with Heath Stocks in the course of the 1997 investigation of Jack Walls?” Cook replied, “No, I did not.”

Cook was biased in applying the law, Stocks said. “If you do something wrong the law should apply to you whether or not you are from a prominent family. You don’t need somebody like that being a judge.”

“[Cook] did not want what happened to me to come out,” Stocks said. “If he did, it would have changed my whole case, and it would have been bad for Jack.”

Stocks said investigating his abuse meant the likelihood of many more victims as well as Walls’ participation in the killing of the Stocks family being brought out if charges had been pursued related to him, Stocks said.

On Tuesday, Cook was asked, “Did you meet or speak with Charles A. “Jack” Walls III concerning the arrest of Heath Stocks in the shootings of Joe, Barbara and Heather Stocks? If so, when and where were the meetings?” Cook replied, “No, I did not.”

It was not just in his case, but in at least three others, Stocks said. “[Cook] filed only two charges after two months with the case. Just look at what Betty Dickey did in just a couple of days with the same information,” he said.

Stocks was later identified as one of the six minor “John Doe” victims of Walls.
When the Walls case broke, only then-Lonoke Chief of Police Charles Peckat spoke with him about Walls, Stocks said. Some family members also questioned him concerning one of the other victims, Stocks said.

Stocks said that Walls had been molesting boys “for a long time.” In the small-town atmosphere of Lonoke, there had to be people who knew about Walls but did nothing because it was the Walls family involved, Stocks said. “There’s a lot of families with sons that Jack messed with that they want it kept quiet. They don’t want their names tarnished.”

It took an “outsider,” in Peckat, to break the cycle of protection for Walls, even though Cook “balked at doing it,” Stocks said. “Peckat is the one who forced it.”
A copy of an Oct. 17, 1997 letter from Peckat to then-Circuit Judge Lance Hanshaw, claims that Cook was balking on pressing charges. Peckat also said that Cook told him rape charges for one victim would not be sought because of a “gut feeling” that the “victim would steal the spotlight.”

Cook asked to be recused Oct. 18, 1997.

Peckat has not responded to requests for comment.

Stocks said Walls used his courthouse connections, name-dropping to intimidate impressionable boys. “Jack was the first one to visit me in the county jail. He told me he was going to talk to the prosecutor. He was going to help me all he could. For me to be quiet,” he said. “He took care of me, all right. He got rid of me.”
It was during the prosecution of Walls for the rapes that Stocks divulged that he had killed his family at Walls’ direction; by that time Stocks had been imprisoned for about a year.

Walls is serving three, concurrent, 40-year terms, and three, concurrent, life sentences on in ADC for the rapes; he pleaded guilty on five counts and no-contest to the sixth. The sentences are levied for the life sentence to be served after the 40-year term.

Stocks said he is seeking a re-sentencing. “My main thing is I never claimed complete innocence. All I want for them to do is look to see what is there.”
Stocks said that in the family’s rush to avoid the death penalty, he had been told to plead guilty. “So, a lot of the abuse that would have been mitigating circumstances was not heard.” Life-without parole is still a death penalty, “just slower,” he said.

There are many reasons why he has waited to speak about Walls’ presence at the shootings, but much has to do with lack of evidence, Stocks said. “It’s just my word against [Walls]. Without evidence, it’s just conversation.”

This, too, is just a conversation, one we encourage sharing and contributing to.  In the name of truth, TRUST, and justice, let’s encourage…..no, let’s DEMAND transparency in our judicial system which often incorporates politics – they are bedfellows, after all.

Hope4Heath@gmail.com

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A journey begins.

Wednesday, we began a journey toward a place searched for, yet not found until now, in claiming our just reward. After two decades of searching and gathering, a Petition for a Writ of Error Coram Nobis, for the trial court to reinvest jurisdiction, was filed. This is the product of research, hard work, love and support, and professional assistance from many different sources. We have hope that this writ will relate the details long suppressed in an effort for the Stocks and Harris families to have peace and justice.

In a rare and moving display of grace and love, a representative of each family carried this petition to Lonoke and filed it on behalf of Heath. The families provided a letter to the Prosecuting Attorney, supporting this writ and its purpose, as well as asking a town and county to grant mercy.

After 20 years in prison, the families are showing by their actions that, as victims, they recognize that Heath, too, was a victim. Too long have secrets shielded so many from the truth, and we believe that the truth should and will set Heath free – at least offer the chance for it. The purpose of this writ is to seek a withdrawal of the plea, based on the many and severe violations that occurred, ultimately negotiating a plea that considers the mitigating evidence that was suppressed.

The things that were suppressed completely changed the elements of the crimes and case and this is an effort to allow the court to right the wrongs of those who were more loyal to the Walls than justice. It is the hope of the families that, in light of all the evidence not considered, the court will resolve this locally with a just result.

Sadly, such things can’t be done and not upset some, but our efforts are meant to resolve this for the families and allow Heath the opportunity of parole. Too many have suffered enough at the hands of Jack and others under his guise; it is time that we discover the full healing that comes through God’s grace.

We ask that you support the family’s wishes, support Heath’s chance to discover a purpose beyond the abuse that imprisoned him. Please pray that the Prosecuting Attorney and Judge assigned to the case use their wisdom to consider the evidence and show that 20 years later, minds no longer hear the whisperings of a Judge that enabled his son to rape its town. It is our hope that in the process people come to know just what Heath, Wade, and many others truly endured. It is our prayer that the truth sets us all free.

Heath

We are family.

I was deeply moved by the story in the Friday, August 17th Arkansas Democrat Gazette, entitled, “Abuse victim: with deal, will die happy” documenting the fight of Paul Bradshaw, a terminally ill sexual abuse survivor, who has been fighting for justice since the 74-year-old was a child. The picture shows an emotional man, wiping away tears with a smile of relief on his face.

The abuse Mr. Bradshaw suffered was at an orphanage, by abusers long dead, but even 60 years later the abuse he suffered crowd the shadows of his heart and mind. Sitting here, typing out these messages about other survivors and their fights, the tears come quickly as empathy fills me to overflowing.

We are a family; survivors of institutional predators the world over and slowly the medical community is informing the legal world that denying justice to victims whose voice was shuttered is no justice at all. Courts the world over claim due to diligence issues, saying that our pleas and cases are not timely, but what child is responsible for the countless church organizations that have hidden the wolves in the flock.

Mr. Bradshaw, I praise you for setting an example to the world of determination, to be heard and, in the process, empowering countless victims without voices that still struggle to be heard.

I also want to praise the new laws passed in Western Australia that allowed Bradshaw to seek redress for what he suffered no matter how long it took to force that admission. The irony is not lost on me that a country that was once a prison colony is leading the world in reforming the way victims can address abuse in the courts. How incredibly humble of heart is this man, homeless most of his life except for those years of abuse, as he now looks forward to death knowing others won’t as easily bare the same fate.

He is grateful, yet a dying man, for the opportunity to have the settlement that allows him to care for his family in ways he couldn’t in life. The actions that took place decades ago, called ‘historical’ sexual assaults, remind us all that no matter how long ago abuse happens it is a crime that victims deserve to hold institutions accountable for.

I am praying that the U.S. can come up with its own version of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse because they have worked passionately for the well-being of those that suffered from predator priests and other church volunteers.

Since the commission began investigating how institutions respond to sexual abuse over 90 years, it has heard the testimonies of more than 8,000 survivors of child sexual abuse.

In many ways, it reminds me of what the A.G. in Pennsylvania did in the grand jury report to the Supreme Court there, and the thousands of victims that are known and unknown from 300 plus predator priests. In Paul Bradshaw’s case and in my own, those that we turned to chose not to hear the plea for help we so desperately needed.

Time and time again, these stories reveal mandatory reporters that do not report, and the authorities that claim we are lying about the abuse, what it has done to us, and suggesting that WE are the problem.

As a prisoner, sentenced to die in prison after trying to expose my abuser, I can tell you first hand that the U.S. Court System is only now coming to the realization that the lower courts have hid as much as these churches. Just as the church has been exposed for having a playbook to hide the truth of victims’ claims, my own case shows how politics often chooses the side of wealthy predators over victims.

It is my sincere hope that I can join the growing list of survivors sharing their horror stories of abuse and, in that sharing, find a way to inform reform that benefits survivors lost in the system.

As always, I thank you for reading.

Heath

Are you tired of hearing…

articleinfo
This is a blog regarding an article that appeared in the Ark. Democrat – Gazette, Thurs. August 16, entitledCover-up tactics detailed in report: grand jury lists methods that hid church’s sex-abuse cases.”  

I don’t know how many of you have been following the many stories about the grand jury report investigated by the AG of Pennsylvania after 18 months, but I pray that you haven’t been desensitized by how often abuse now fills the media and reporting. If you believe the media is overflowing with reports of sexual abuse, consider for a moment that each and every allegation is TRUE then try to fathom the number of unreported claims of sexual abuse.  It’s everywhere, no more today than before, we are simply in the day and time that victims are coming together, standing in solidarity, to find not only a solution but validation.  What marks the newest claims as different is that they reflect child grooming and molestation on a huge scale, and after gaining access to 500,000 pages of documents, something sinister was uncovered.

Not only did these mandatory reporters use tactics to hide abuse, but they urged church members to never tell the police. The AG and his team said, “It’s like a playbook for concealing the truth,” and that truth is that literally hundreds of pedophiles were using the church to groom, exploit, and abuse. It is the same story we are seeing with the Boy Scouts, who kept records of tens of thousands of pedophiles who used their institution and structure in a way that weaponized their leadership positions. One of the Cardinals went on to call it a “terrible plague” of abuse, yet even he is accused of helping to protect those identified as “abusive priests.”

Can you imagine yourself seeking to confess your sins to these powerful men, appointed agents of our God, only to have them use your confessions, vulnerabilities, and life trauma as a tool to manipulate? Already the report and coverage by the media has caused victims to finally believe that someone is now willing to hear and believe. Please, if you have been abused by a priest, volunteer with the church, Boy Scout leader sponsored by the church, or any person that has abused you, call the State Hot Line (1-800-843-6349). Report the abuse and keep reporting it until someone investigates your situation because, as you know from the Hogan case and my own, sometimes these abusers have influence in high places.

The article goes on to point out that a former Pennsylvania prosecutor was fired from his job as an attorney for a county youth services office after the report showed that, as Beaver County’s elected district attorney in the 1960s, he stopped an investigation into alleged child abuse by a priest to gain political favor from the Pittsburgh Diocese. Yes, that was a long time ago, but the years do not dilute the poisonous and malicious inaction carried out by public elected officials that chose favor over facts.

One need only look at the case against Charles “Jack” Walls III in Lonoke, Arkansas in the early 90s to witness the same prosecutor misconduct that should turn every elected prosecutor’s stomach. In that case, Larry Cook stopped an investigation into a pedophile using the Boy Scouts the same way these priests are using the church. When Doug Hogan came forward with his father, seeking to protect us all and expose the predator, Larry Cook and those in his office did all in their power to protect his mentor’s pedophile son. Not only the prosecutor’s office but Ken Murphy of the Arkansas Department of Human Services also refused to indulge Mr. Hogan with an investigation.  Judge Charles Walls II was a powerful and intelligent man, having groomed and guided the political career of those that even today fill positions of power in that county.

How do we know that Jack Walls was protected, you ask. I refer you to the documents we are sharing to prove what we suggest. Prosecutors allowing political favor to guide their interpretation of the law and investigation of certain individuals violates constitutional rights and ethical obligations as civic officials. After all, if church leaders suppress and the prosecutors suppress, then what hope do we as victims have in trying to become survivors free from mental torture, manipulation, and our very being slowly dissolved by trauma?

It is my current hope that the FBI’s National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime will review what we have collected as well, and see if there aren’t church officials, political officials, and un-investigated predators that violated children under the enabling and empowering watch of Lonoke County’s finest.

Did not Larry Cook choose to have Jack investigated for false imprisonment, knowing that the facts reported would not support such a charge?

Did Judge Walls, in his infinite wisdom help him come up with that strategy as he got an outside attorney to draft the charges against me?

You see, they know the law, what words to use, what not to say, and the prosecutor is the one that guides those investigating officers. One might even conclude that Larry Cook simply made a mistake, but he followed that up by undermining the Hogan family’s second try at justice in municipal court as well. Not only were the charges dropped against Jack, but he was allowed copies of the victims’ statements that enabled him to confront, intimidate, and cause boys to redact damaging information before the second investigation began. Go ahead, ask me how I know.

It is my hope that you become as offended and enraged at the injustice as the victims of the predator and begin asking the kinds of questions that those in PA have now gotten the answers to. What I wish for you and all those in Arkansas that were victimized by prosecutor misconduct that enabled the rapes of boys, is for you to know exactly who empowered him. Just as the church is now reeling as Bishops and Cardinals are being brought down, my prayer is that as a state we too seek to end the use of institutions for predator grooming and abuse. We don’t need fake investigations with improperly trained or misguided personnel by politicians that ensure police officers are left searching for evidence to support crimes that don’t match the facts. We don’t need elected law enforcement who have backing from predators that seek favor to continue molesting and raping children. We don’t need mental health professionals that protect predators, and then dismiss the impact of years of rapes on the mental state of those victims.

WE NEED ACCOUNTABILITY!

Lastly, to quote the article yet again, “Finally and above all, don’t tell the police. Child sexual abuse, even short of actual penetration, is and has for all relevant times been a crime. But don’t treat it that way; handle it like a personnel matter, ‘in house.’ ”

I was mentally tortured, manipulated, molested, and raped for 10 years by a man elected Man of the Year by officials that knew what he was. He had done what he did for close to 40 years, lost jobs and fled to Vietnam to avoid charges of abuse, yet no one claimed to know a thing. He was a man that used the church to research his victims, used family members to recommend his Boy Scout treatment plan for troubled boys, and even after the Hogan’s outed him the abuse went on even after my arrest.

I can only hope that in the 21 years since my family died that the state of Arkansas is at least able to see what they ignored those many years ago. I told people and told people what he did and why, but as the church and priest used their influence so did my abuser and his family.

Please read what we share, see the failures and connections, and take the time to see my life through the eyes of a victim, not the monster you’ve tried to make me. The investigation of church officials of all denominations, of mandatory reporters that fail to do what is required by law, needs to sweep the nation so that all are protected not preyed upon.

The test, the results, the TRUTH

On March 30, 1995, Dr. Kenneth Counts, Ph.D., P.A. sent a letter to Heath Stocks’s family doctor, Dr. Les Anderson, M.D. concerning his time with the patient. In that letter, Dr. Counts relates his sessions with me, the episodes of explosive anger, and then goes into his thought on why such anger is an issue. He suggests that it stems primarily from my difficulty with relationships with girls. He then points out that I have an interesting history in that I was “apparently seduced by a dance teacher” when I was thirteen, and it continued for about a year and a half. I felt that it harmed my reputation with local girls, and that was because the dance teacher was telling everyone that I was lying. Of course, no one looked into it and she wasn’t investigated, but it does beg the question, “why wasn’t more done to investigate the issues of abuse.” Dr. Counts then states that he sent me home with an MMPI to be completed for diagnostic clarity; to be taken home and returned the following week.

I can remember sitting in my room, struggling to make sense of what I felt versus what I had endured from so many, resulted in what I felt to be an accurate reflection of what was inside. It should be noted that Dr. Counts sent me home with the test, I volunteered to take and return it, and there was absolutely no reason for me to exaggerate my responses. In fact, the truth was that my father was ashamed that I had to go to a “head doctor”, saw it as more proof of my weakness, and he refused to pay for it. Mom used her school insurance to get me in, paid for the sessions herself, but dad made it clear that I would keep our home out of those sessions if I knew what was good for me.

I knew what it meant to embarrass the family name, after all, and shaming Joe Stocks got you hurt, quick. I believe that the atmosphere in our home, what I was enduring from Jack, the abuse with Lana, it all played a part in those answers. It was the most accurate reflection of my mental and emotional state at the time yet, as you will see, the results were quickly dismissed and ignored.

What I found interesting upon learning enough to understand the basics of the testing and its results is that so much was there, all available if only someone took the time to see it. The computer-generated results determined to be:

“clinically elevated profile of a client who answered a considerable number of F scale items and the validity of the profile is somewhat doubtful.”

It does not state that it is the result of someone faking the test, but doubtful because of what the results do suggest  – not what they don’t.

Further down in the evaluation, the computer states:

“this pattern occurs among 3.0 % of adults receiving clinical evaluations.”

My question is when are results not considered somewhat doubtful when they represent only 3.0 % of patients taking the test? If that few respond in such a way, then how do they determine if it is exaggerated or the result of malingering? What reason would I have to fake my mental health or emotional state, as a Senior in High School, who had not been arrested for anything?

The computer results go on to say:

“This usually occurs when a person is confused, has difficulty understanding the questions, or is truly disturbed in a plea for help is exaggerating a variety of symptoms.”

Considering I had ADD, testing had already suggested I would need remedial classes in college so, I could have been confused or struggled to understand the questions. But, in light of what we all now know; the domestic abuse at home, 10 years of sexual abuse and conditioning by Jack Walls, at least a couple of years abused by Lana, is there any doubt that I was disturbed and pleading for help? Is that not what people go to therapy for in the first place? Did I exaggerate a variety of symptoms or simply possess the expected and quite understandable mental condition of a child that had been raped and abused most of his life?

It wasn’t until a dear friend sent me the book “The Male Survivor: the impact of Sexual Abuse” by Matthew Parynik Mendel, that I recognized what had been missing. I didn’t understand the scoring they referred to as exaggerated, and I couldn’t comprehend how I was malingering a test I volunteered to take at personal risk to myself from my father. The areas listed are numbered 1 thru 9 and 0, and my computerized test results said that clinical scales elevated in areas 2, 4, 6, 7, 8, and 9 were elevated. What did that mean?

Sure, I could see that the computer said “elevation of scales 6 (Pa), 7 (Pt), and 8 (Sc) is strongly suggestive of a psychotic disorder with autistic thinking, and did not autistic thinking reflect the impact of my brain being abnormally developed?

ADD is a recognized brain disorder that affects the prefrontal lobes, and recent studies have shown that those areas are abnormally slow to develop for someone that has a learning disability.

Did I have persecutory delusions or were my fears justified from father’s years of abuse and the manipulation that Jack had put us through for years. Did I have feelings of unreality, possibly because I had been forced to live two different lives for as long as I could remember? Did I display bizarre verbal and non-verbal behavioral patterns? Dr. Counts would later say that I displayed “bizarre symptoms,” so why didn’t the scores reflect what it said they did?

The computer results go on to say that

“the presence of elevations on scales 2 (D), 4 (Pd), and 9 (Ma) there is often a history of drug abuse.”

Does being given alcohol since you were 9 to lower your inhibitions for abuse count? What of the subsequent use to try and cope with the complex trauma of repeated, severe sexual and psychological abuse?

“As scale 6 and 8 are elevated, there is an increased likelihood of a thought disorder. During an acute phase of their disturbance, these individuals may become so preoccupied with thought or withdrawn into fantasy that they cannot concentrate enough to be amenable to psychotherapy.”

So, there is cause to suggest that a thought disorder is present, based on the testing, and struggling to concentrate is certainly a factor with ADD and my abuse would certainly explain some disassociation.

How often do child abuse victims withdraw or disassociate just to mentally survive what is happening to them?

Continuing with the computerized results:

“Individuals with this profile are ruminative, often depressed, frequently show unusual thinking, and feelings of insecurity or inferiority.”

Would you be depressed, ruminate on the negative messages beaten or molested into you? Would your thoughts be unusual based on the context of your experiences that shaped you? I was very insecure, conditioned to believe that I deserved what I got or should be thankful for it, and after 10 years of intense abuse who wouldn’t be?

“These individuals distrust others, keep them at a distance, and are likely to resent anything they perceive as a demand.”

While I felt that the testing certainly showed some material that could apply, it made me wonder why I was seen in a way different than the other victims? How could the others, who were abused as I was, have their anger seen as a symptom instead of the problem? If we all had explosive anger, the degree of which pointed towards something deeper and more troubling, then what caused multiple doctors to refuse to believe I was abused and suffering from the severity, duration, and other factors?

In the book, “The Male Survivor: the impact of child abuse” by M.P. Mendel, published in 1995, there is ample information to understand everything that went ignored and what went wrong. Clearly, the doctor that treated me was biased against the idea of a boy being a victim of abuse, and even characterized the seduction of a 13-year-old by a 30-year-old as “a relationship”. A relationship implies consent, but by law, a 13-year-old can never consent to be used for sex. Is it any wonder that this doctor would not investigate further?

In a study, presented at the 3rd National Conference on The Male Survivor, Kelly, R.J., and Gonzalez, L.S. (1990, Nov.) shared the psychological symptoms reported by sexually abused men. Kelly and Gonzalez assessed the symptomatology of men who wished to join an out-patient treatment group for male survivors of sexual abuse. (Note: these men volunteered, in out-patient treatment, to be a part of the group. I volunteered to be tested and diagnosed, yet my results were automatically questioned for validity.) The study represents “an integration of two conceptual frameworks for understanding the impact of sexual abuse – the psychiatric model, which is an extension of research on post-traumatic stress disorder (Briere & Runtz, 1989), and Finkelhor and Browne’s (1986) model of the four traumagenic dynamics of child sexual abuse.

Two checklists were used for data collection: the Trauma Symptom (Briere & Runtz, 1989), and an original measure based on Finkelhor and Browne’s (1986) theory. The problems or symptoms were then placed in one of Finkelhor and Browne’s four traumagenic categories. A complete list of the items, the traumagenic dynamics under which they are subsumed, and preliminary data on the percentages of men indicating previous or current difficulties in each area is presented in table 5.5. (page 111)

Kelly and Gonzalez also analyzed Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (Dahlstrom & Welsh, 1960) data from the first 38 men in their study and found that most profiles included multiple clinically significant elevations. Twenty-nine profiles (78%) had three or more clinical scales elevated, with 22 profiles (59%) having five or more elevated scales.

The most frequently elevated scales in this sample were Masculinity- Femininity, Depression, Psychopathic – Deviate, and Schizophrenia. 29% of the men met DSM – III – R (American Psychiatric Association, 1987) criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Kelly and Gonzalez (1990) conclude that male survivors, like their female counterparts, experience the dynamics of betrayal powerlessness, stigmatization, and traumatic sexualization identified by Finkelhor and Browne (1986). They suggest that the psychological impact of these dynamics may be different because of the very different socialization process male undergo, and call for further research on the gender-specific effects of sexual abuse.

What does all that mean to my situation and testing, in relation to the scores, and the subsequent rejection of them? I, like the men tested, had a profile of multiple clinically significant elevations and, like 59% of them, had five or more elevated scores, I had 6. Of the 4 most frequently elevated scales in the sample of men, I had 3 and they were depression, Psychopathic – Deviate, and Schizophrenia (based on their definition). What also stands out to me is the recommendation by the computer “the test should probably be retaken.”

In the early years in which the book was written, a number of studies were conducted with adult male survivors of child sexual abuse. These studies indicate a broad range of emotional and psychological difficulties. Briere, Evans, Runtz, and Wall (1988) found that

“[a]bused males reported a greater degree of psychiatric symptomatology, including dissociation, anxiety, depression, and sleep disturbance, than a comparison sample of non-abused men.”

Peter Olson (1990) conducted a study of 44 sexually abused men who got treatment at an out-patient clinic and a 25-man clinical out-patient control group. he administered five scales of the MMPI, which he hypothesized would distinguish abused and non-abused males, and found that the victim group indicated significantly more pathology than the clinical control group on all five scales and in terms of overall adjustment. The following are the scales used so that you can understand each?

Masculinity-femininity, which suggests non-subscription to traditional sex roles and/or passivity; Psychopathic Deviance, which measures level of rebelliousness or conflict, with higher scores indicating more overt struggle, an intense level of conflict with society and, possibly, criminal behavior, compulsions, or other antisocial characteristics; Schizophrenia, which measures disturbances in thinking, mental confusion, thinking disorders, a lack of logic, and possible chronic disorientation; Paranoia, which indicates a higher sensitivity, paranoia, or suspiciousness of others; and Psychasthenia, which refers to a long-term trait of anxiety and may include such attributes as a sense of dread, omnipotence, fear of falling, limited productivity, low self-confidence, and moodiness.

Clearly, those men that have been abused show a wide-ranging response to the trauma that they endure. If you look at the documentation that has been recently gathered, use it as context for my answers, then:

Why did no one see me as a possible victim of severe, sexual abuse and exploitation?

Why did the State Hospital, even after getting Dr. Counts records, refuse to make note of his recognition of my bizarre symptoms and confession of being sexually abused by the dance teacher?

The results from the State Hospital were said to be exaggerated in a similar fashion, so why were mental health professionals so unwilling to admit the obvious?

Jack has been tried and convicted of grooming, conditioning, manipulating, molesting, raping, and forcing us to protect him against our own will. How can they still deny that 10 years of mental torture and rape didn’t play a part in both my mental state or as a motive in the crimes? What no one wants to answer is now that we all know it was the truth, then how could a lie be used to find me competent and offer me what is required by law for my own defense?

Take the time to look up what is known of the impact of child sexual abuse on boys and men, and what are the known symptoms of that abuse and its impact. Please look at the impact of complex trauma, like what I endured from my father, Jack, and Lana. Ask yourself if your son endured what I had, faced with what I did for years, what would you expect of the justice system and mental health services? If they failed to even say they were wrong after clearly saying I was lying about what I thought and felt, then how can anyone say that the evaluation was unbiased and constitutional?

If you wish for further information, please consider “Bonded to the Abuser” by Baker and Schneiderman. It is filled with personal stories of the many that have been abused, in all the ways one can be, and what it did to each of their lives. What I am asking you to do is look at the vast research available, consider what it is like to be a victim that goes ignored, and ask yourself what a jury would have found in light of all that happened? Place yourself in the courtroom, watching your son on the stand, and what would you want for him with his life and future in the balance.

Heath Stocks

*for more documents on my mental evaluation and other professional commentaries please see my website www.heathstocks.info/Docs

 

 

Used with permission via http://mariafresa.net

Ink well of Innocence

The following blog is in response to the article dated Saturday, July 28th, in the Arkansas Democrat Gazette, by Nicole Winfield and Rodney Muhumuza of the Associated Press entitled “Abuse of nuns a church secret“.

Used with permission via http://mariafresa.net

I was deeply saddened to read of yet another group of the faith who have been preyed upon by predator priests. What shocked me was how widespread the harassments and assaults have been, and the disregard and disrespect that is shown everywhere towards those that heed the call of service to God. It seems that nuns are seen as second-class in the church, and the church has failed to value them as Godly women when society already recognizes women for their unique abilities and worth.

What is it about the positions of power in our institutions that draw those who lust for that power and control over all beneath them? Even the children find their worth to the body of Christ negated by priests not-so-celibate desires. Of course, what can be done when you are a woman or child, isolated in a house of God, and a priest seeing himself as an agent of God decides you are to serve his needs? Who do you turn to? In confession you are told that what you say is in confidence, so where can you have confidence in your ability to expose what you have been exposed to?

Wolves wrapped in robes of righteousness, preying on the vulnerable, and who is it that they claim to serve? I applaud the brave nuns who have witnessed women come forward in the #METOO movement, seen society rise in support, and believe that they have a worth in Christ that far exceeds the treatment measured out to them. These women, who have given their lives to God’s service, have been taken advantage of and used by men that can’t claim to be acting under the influence of the Holy Spirit. It is like the choir boys that find priests seeking to check their development, use them for sexual release, and then finding sympathy in the eyes of all their friends.

What inspired me the most was a growing acknowledgment and recognition that even adults can be victims of sexual abuse when there is an imbalance of power in a relationship. It is one of the messages we have tried to communicate to the courts, Boy Scouts, and church ourselves, because of the failures that enabled Charles “Jack” Walls resulted in the molestation of hundreds and the deaths of more than a few.

As a prisoner, I face the same judgment these women face, as a second-class and second-rate human being; defined as such by the labels I’ve been given. The Church leaders that knew Jack Walls was abusing kept those secrets because the church was liable as a sponsor of the troop, and it benefited them more to hide the truth than face it.

As I read the account of one nun, assaulted in the process of confessing, it made me shudder to recall the disdain Jack had for the sacrament. Jack thought it funny to offer boys wine on Sunday, and then have them become “his bread” in his rejection of Christ’s offering gift. Is there any question who one serves when the holiest of spiritual acts is manipulated into a sacrilegious seduction?

What must we do to rid our institutions of these predators that use their positions to gather information on the hurt, use it for their own gain and, after grooming them, assault the trusting with sensual lusts?

Please don’t turn away, read every story that comes out, and see in it what we need to prepare and protect. I pray for a day when the Church will be led by leaders devoted to the Word and Christ, and not predators wrapped in pretty robes violating the masses so that they flee our houses of healing, no longer trusting in God.

This isn’t a condemnation of the Catholic church, but a call for society to see the danger and recognize the signs of those that seek such positions to hurt, not help. Jesus told those who would follow that if they couldn’t control their lusts to marry, and there share with a wife those needs that threaten to overcome their walk. Sadly, we see that many in the church are in denial, and want to appear to be celibate while using all that serve beneath them to appease their sensual nature. Pride keeps them from admitting their weakness and, in that weak, arrogant state, the devil uses them with as much love as his fallen angels.

I am thankful that society is seeing clearly the power these men and women wield as abusers, and in that understanding can recognize the damage such abuse and manipulation does to heart, mind, spirit, and soul. The prisons are filled with the lost, many abused at home, church, Scouts, sporting clubs, or simply neglected in a way that the void calls to any voice rather than silence. It is my hope and prayer that the purging of institutional pedophiles will become the rally cry of the masses, before the abused masses give birth to other abusers in an unending cycle. We operate only as well as the scripting that goes into our development, and its time we pay attention who is holding the paper, guiding the pen, and dipping into the inkwell of our innocent.

 

H. S.

*Clip art used with permission at http://mariafresa.net

ACE (Adverse Childhood Experiences)

Recently, it was suggested that Heath look into completing the ACE (Adverse Childhood Experiences) Test.  Not familiar with such, we did a little research.  What we uncovered is invaluable and absolutely on point.  The information on the website Acetoohigh.com is vast and, instead of trying to interpret, I’ve simply placed the information below that I felt was the most applicable, as the article is rather lengthy.
Heath did take the test and his detailed results are found at the end of this blog or can be read here.
*NOTE:  Some information in the answers contains information not suitable for all readers.
The ACE  Study has impacted the public health community tremendously since its accidental conception.  What began as an obesity study by Dr. Vincent Felitti has ended up correlating childhood experiences both mentally and physically with mental and physical health.  It seems logical, yes, but when the proof is abundant, it becomes science; a cause for immense study.
The accidental miswording of questions to participants in the obesity study prompted an uncovering a pattern of sexual abuse in the participant’s youth.  According to Aces Too High:

The first shocker: There was a direct link between childhood trauma and adult onset of chronic disease, as well as mental illness, doing time in prison, and work issues, such as absenteeism.

The second shocker: About two-thirds of the adults in the study had experienced one or more types of adverse childhood experiences. Of those, 87 percent had experienced 2 or more types. This showed that people who had an alcoholic father, for example, were likely to have also experienced physical abuse or verbal abuse. In other words, ACEs usually didn’t happen in isolation.

The third shocker: More adverse childhood experiences resulted in a higher risk of medical, mental and social problems as an adult.

To explain these results, the ACE scoring system was developed.

The ACE Study became even more significant with the publication of parallel research that provided the link between why something that happened to you when you were a kid could land you in the hospital at age 50. The stress of severe and chronic childhood trauma – such as being regularly hit, constantly belittled and berated, watching your father often hit your mother – releases hormones that physically damage a child’s developing brain.

This was determined by a group of neuroscientists and pediatricians, including neuroscientist Martin Teicher and pediatrician Jack Shonkoff, both at Harvard University, neuroscientist Bruce McEwen at Rockefeller University, and child psychiatrist Bruce Perry at the Child Trauma Academy.

To further quote the article:

As San Francisco pediatrician Nadine Burke Harris recently explained to host Ira Glass on the radio program, “This American Life”, if you’re in a forest and see a bear, a very efficient fight or flight system instantly floods your body with adrenaline and cortisol and shuts off the thinking portion of your brain that would stop to consider other options. This is very helpful if you’re in a forest and you need to run from a bear. “The problem is when that bear comes home from the bar every night,” she said.

If a bear threatens a child every single day, his emergency response system is activated over and over and over again. He’s always ready to fight or flee from the bear, but the part of his brain – the prefrontal cortex – that’s called upon to diagram a sentence or do math becomes stunted, because, in our brains, emergencies – such as fleeing bears – take precedence over doing math.

For Harris’ patients who had four or more categories of adverse childhood experiences “their odds of having learning or behavior problems in school were 32 times as high as kids who had no adverse childhood experiences,” she told Glass.

Together, the two discoveries – the ACE epidemiology and the brain research — reveal a story too compelling to ignore:  take precedence over doing math.

For Harris’ patients who had four or more categories of adverse childhood experiences “their odds of having learning or behavior problems in school were 32 times as high as kids who had no adverse childhood experiences,” she told Glass.

Together, the two discoveries – the ACE epidemiology and the brain research — reveal a story too compelling to ignore:

Children with toxic stress live much of their lives in fight, flight or fright (freeze) mode. They respond to the world as a place of constant danger. With their brains overloaded with stress hormones and unable to function appropriately, they can’t focus on learning. They fall behind in school or fail to develop healthy relationships with peers or create problems with teachers and principals because they are unable to trust adults. Some kids do all three. With despair, guilt and frustration pecking away at their psyches, they often find solace in food, alcohol, tobacco, methamphetamines, inappropriate sex, high-risk sports, and/or work and over-achievement. They don’t regard these coping methods as problems. Consciously or unconsciously, they use them as solutions to escape from depression, anxiety, anger, fear and shame.

What all this means, says Anda is that we need to prevent adverse childhood experiences and, at the same time, change our systems – educational, criminal justice, healthcare, mental health, public health, workplace – so that we don’t further traumatize someone who’s already traumatized. You can’t do one or the other and hope to make any progress.

“Dr. Putnam is right — ACEs changed the landscape,” Anda says. “Or perhaps the many publications from the ACE Study opened our eyes to see the truth of the landscape. ACEs create a “chronic public health disaster” that until recently has been hidden by our limited vision. Now we see that the biologic impacts of ACEs transcend the traditional boundaries of our siloed health and human service systems. Children affected by ACEs appear in all human service systems throughout the lifespan — childhood, adolescence, and adulthood — as clients with behavioral, learning, social, criminal, and chronic health problems.”

_____________________________________________________________
Heath’s ACE Results
*NOTE:  Some information in the answers contains information
not suitable for all readers.
Prior to your 18th birthday:
  1. Did a parent or other adult in the household OFTEN … Swear at you, insult you, put you down, or humiliate you? or Act in a way that made you afraid that you might be physically hurt?
Yes, my father was very verbally abusive from a young age, and he was prone to rages that were laced with cuss words and put-downs. He and my mother fought regularly over the financial burdens my physical ailments caused, and they ranged from my being pigeon-toed as a baby, allergic to Rice dust and Pollen, underbite, IBS, and ADD. My father raged at me for not understanding what he wanted, cussed, called me worthless, a failure, an embarrassment, and the slang word for a woman’s privates.
My father talked down to me around others, sighed over slights that I never grasped, shamed me in front of my mother and sister, and on one occasion had my mother call a neighbor so I could apologize for gambling. After apologizing, he had my mom hold the phone while he beat me so that she could hear my screams and weeping of remorse. The next day, I returned the money, coins from playing “even or odd”, and shamefully avoided the kids that had heard about it. NO matter where we were or what we were doing, my father found fault in what I did, vented at my stupidity, and cussed me when I cried from his attacks. I was hit so much, so often, that I was in constant fear from him, and shamefully used the bathroom on myself several times just hearing him scream. He raged so powerfully that his eyes bulged, spit flew from his mouth, and he shook with disgust. I don’t remember a time when he was ever pleased, everything he saw was flawed and short of his standard, and he often reminded me what shaming the family name would cost me.
When my sister and I were caught playing doctor at a young age, I was accused of rape or incest which made me both nasty and sick. Nothing happened, my body wasn’t capable of it, but for the rest of my life he found ways to bring it up.
When our beagles inbred and had deformed puppies, he blamed me for not keeping them separated. He had me put them in a box, crying and blind, and told me that they were what happened when a brother and sister had sex. They were doomed in their deformity, he said, and made me watch as he took the first by its back legs. I thought he might straighten them, know some fix, but it was a fool’s hope knowing him as I did.
Blood showered the snow as he slapped its little head against the cinder block wall around our well. Tossing its lifeless body at my feet, I wordlessly looked up in disbelief as he told me to do the rest. I watched them struggle, the cold biting, tears spilling down my face, begging him not to make me. He reminded me that he had told me to keep them apart, so this was my fault. I caused it, now I had to fix it. At first I tried not to do it too hard, but then realized I was only beating them up not killing them as he wanted. Sobbing, I swung and watched them paint the snow with my failure, then looked up to see him snort and walk away.
As a young boy, my sister and I had a dog named Bear. She was a long-haired sheep dog that loved to run back and forth around the chicken coop, barking excitedly as they took flight, safely inside. Father had all kinds of chickens and turkeys in there, that I fed and watered as chores, and on weekends he would go stand and watch them. Well, we had gone on vacation to Florida with some friends of my parents, and when we returned the whole property was bathed in down pillow stuffing or so it seemed. The wind had scattered them everywhere, but nothing remained of their wearers or their plucker for that matter.
Bear was hiding somewhere when we drove up, Dad in a rage as he looked at what was left of his birds. Shaking and eyes bulging, he told mom to get us in the house and keep us there. I knew when he went to the gun cabinet it was over and I joined my sister in pleading that she be spared. Mom could only tearfully hold us as he stomped outside, called for Bear, and cussed when she slipped by and into the carport under mom’s car.
Dad would never shoot her there, risking the bullet damaging the car, so inside he came and altered his plan. Going to the fridge, He got some lunch meat, a small sledge hammer, and told us to go to our rooms. Calling sweetly to her, dangling the meat far enough to expose, I saw the swing and yelp. Yet, he didn’t stop, he never stopped, and peeking out the window I saw his arm rise and fall, blood splattering everywhere. Unable to go outside, I watched him use a water hose to wash away the blood, but no amount of calling brought her to me when I did get out. It wasn’t until the sweet stench of rot, coming from the ditch, lead to her discovery. Head crushed, she had been tossed into the ditch close to where mom threw out scraps, discarded for displeasing my father. His brutal justice terrified me to my core, and I always believed when he punished me that I might end up the same way.
  1. Did a parent or other adult in the household OFTEN… Push, grab, slap, or throw something at you? or Ever hit you so hard that you had marks or were injured?
Yes, I was pushed, grabbed, shook, slapped, punched, and beaten with everything my father could find that might “get my attention.” He never thought that I was paying attention, it was why I struggled to read and understand, and nothing sharpened the attention like a few slaps. The words swam on me, I felt shamed that others could do well what I struggled to, and dad saw my learning disability as evidence of what he had known. Stupid, worthless, a waste of time and air, I was often reduced to tears, stuttering until he got tired of hitting me. Once he started, it always lasted until he was tired, and I was always reminded that it was I who made him do it.
Mom said if I was just good it wouldn’t happen; try harder, study more, but I knew what she didn’t about him. He hated me for being less than he expected me to be, and he often used my sister to compare me to. If only I could be more like Heather, and that was saying something since she was a girl. If I was taken to help him work on the truck, it was easier for me to crawl under and around than him, it wasn’t long before he was pecking me on the head with wrenches. I wasn’t paying attention, not listening to him, so he beat on my head like he did those tires when he changed them. He slapped me until I tasted blood, whipped me with his belt until I was covered in welts from upper back to thighs and, when circumstances dictated, whatever he thought might work. Extension cords, weeping willow limbs, fan belts, and even a swing set chain once until he realized it might be too much.
Mom always made sure that my clothes covered any marks, and there was little that she couldn’t fix with makeup, Preparation H or ice. I think it began when she had to do it for herself, she didn’t please him often either, so she knew what would work and what wouldn’t. She also knew what would happen if people talked, how he would respond, because no one shamed Joe Stocks and went unscathed.
His father was the only other one that I remember hurting me, and he had whipped me with a razor strap for leaving running over grandma’s plastic cooking spoons. She had given them to me to use in the mud hole I had been playing it, creating mud pies and cookies for no one in general, because they didn’t taste like grandma’s in the least, I knew. I had been clothed in the long red marks, it stung even to wear cloths, and when I got home mom saw after a bath. Never understood why my dad got mad enough to slam his father into their house, picking him up off his feet, shaking him, but I saw the spit as he raged and threatened him. Grandpa didn’t touch me again after that, but it really made no difference considering how much dad did on his own.
  1. Did an adult or person at least 5 years older than you ever… Touch or fondle you or have you touch their body in a sexual way? or Try to or actually have oral, anal, or vaginal sex with you?
I was 8 or 9 the first time my Boy Scout leader, Jack Walls, introduced me to alcohol and porn for the purposes of molesting me. The alcohol made me feel relaxed and care free, the porn inflamed desire in me for the first time, and Jack assured me it was natural for a man to show a boy what felt good. Over the next 11 years or so, Jack would continue to use alcohol and porn to lower my resistance, and progressed from masturbation, to oral, and then anal sex. He performed on me in front of my peers, told me to please others and them please me, and touched me in ways I was raised to believe were wrong. Most of what he did he said I wanted, my body had clearly responded, and if we all responded that way it was what we wanted or were asking him to do.
Jack used to love using adult novels for us to read, telling us to listen as he touched us, and in the fantasy those words created used us in every way a child can be. He encouraged us to touch one another, abused us in front of others to show it was ok, and asked us to recruit other boys or friends so that they could enjoy all that we did.
By my late teens, when I was trying to pull away, dad had begun slapping me around and threatening me for avoiding Jack. After all that man had done for me, the time and energy to make something out of nothing, and all I wanted to do was quit? My father didn’t raise a quitter, damn sure didn’t raise a fag, and he would be damned if I shamed him.
So, Jack molested me at will at the farm, his home, in his truck, and then at my own home since dad gave him permission to seek me out. If I was avoiding him, not going by when asked to, then he could come to our house. He would bring over alcohol, a porn tape, and rape me in my own bed as he told me how much he loved me. He was the only one that loved me, saw me for all that I was, and no one appreciated me the way he did. All that I knew is that there was no escaping my dad, no escaping Jack, and I soon began thinking of suicide, fondly.
The church said what Jack did was wrong, and Jack said that it was only natural. My dad said it was wrong, yet he did what he always condemned others for doing.
  1. Did you often feel that… No one in your family loved you or thought you were important or special? or Your family didn’t look out for each other, feel close to each other, or support each other?
All that I knew for certain was that I existed to please others, never met their standard, and it made me question who I was and what purpose I had for living. I knew that my mom knew about my dad first hand and what she saw him do to me, and while she told her parents she swore them to silence for fear what he might do. Family couldn’t have missed all the signs, they simply ignored what they heard, because they were raised that what happened in the home stayed in the home.
I was a very affectionate child, hungry for attention, but when the sexual abuse began shied away from contact where possible. It made my sky crawl when people said they loved me and then touched me, because I could see and hear him do so in my mind. Jack had suggested as well that it was natural for a boy to experiment with his sister, only natural that they had sex together. He even had books that talked about it, how sisters craved that kind of attention and affection, and he was full of suggestions. He also wanted all the details, what we did and how they responded, and he suggested that any relationship could offer some form of pleasure if you only knew how.
He wanted us to try and seduce other boys’ mothers, sisters, family members, anyone that might be interested in one of his boys. He wanted to sexualize every relationship to undermine it, so we either perverted them or withdrew to protect them. I withdrew from everyone that I could, not wanting to damn others to my hell, and endured the abuse that I believed was my just reward for being so flawed.
When my abuser was exposed later, his wife and my mother convinced my father to allow him to use his name to continue his involvement in our out of state scouting. He continued to do what he had been, all the campouts were on his father’s farm, and none of the parents believed he had done anything.
No matter how angry I was, how troubled I became, how hard I tried to quit, it was always me who had the problem. I felt betrayed at home, abused and manipulated, but had no idea how to free myself with my family supporting my abuser. They even brought me to his home so that he might prepare me to defend him in court, and my parents saying how I owed him for the young man he helped mold me into.
I knew that Jack used the church to gather information on family problems, knew his father shielded him from trouble, and the churches that sponsored the scouts wouldn’t dare cross the Walls family. Jack used everyone to gather information, and he then used that information to control and coerce us all to his will. I had no will of my own, each day was a toss to see who I would be or what I would do.
  1. Was your mother or stepmother: Often pushed, grabbed, slapped, or had something thrown at her? or Sometimes or often kicked, bitten, hit with a fist, or hit with something hard? or Ever repeatedly hit over at least a few minutes or threatened with a gun or knife?
Yes, I saw my father regularly scream at, push, point at, and even shake when she failed to do what he had asked or expected. From having a meal prepared to balancing her checkbook, dad expected her to reflect well on him even if his own behavior made him look the worst of all.
What made it worse is that when she had bruises on her it was me that she told others didn’t know my strength. Word would get back to dad, who wouldn’t abide a son that hurt his mother, and then I got beat for leaving marks that he had put on her. Mom got to where she would cover up, not risking others seeing, and certainly not wanting my father to have another excuse.
When I was in high school, after an argument about him being a bully, I told him that if he ever put his hands on mom again I would kill him. I was on the floor before I even knew what hit me, him sitting on my chest so that I couldn’t breathe, finger in my face, as he spat out that if I ever even said such again he would beat me to death with his bare hands. No gun, no hammer, just those hard fists my body had absorbed for years.

 

May – Mental Health Month

I am writing this message to encourage all to commit each day to better understanding the struggle of those with mental health issues. There isn’t anyone alive that hasn’t endured traumatic situations on some level and, based on the support system and coping tool available, was impacted by them. You see, in our walk through this world, seeking to make it better and be agents of change for the betterment of all, then it is our duty to seek an understanding that transcends our own lives.

The truth we all must grasp is that those with mental health conditions or disorders do not choose to be that way, and we must begin searching for answers into what made them reach that point or be born into it.

We have put together this website and other social media platforms to share my life experiences, how they impacted me, what signs were missed, who enabled my abusers, and hoping that sharing leads to others being helped. I am limited to what I can do, in many ways, but it is my choice to offer what I can in the ways I can. If you have endured the nightmare of abuse, in one of its many forms, then you know how difficult it can be to process those experiences even with professional help.

It goes against our very nature as human beings to air those things our mind naturally represses for survival, yet some do and strive to offer their form of enlightenment so that others may see. Thank you for those professionals that have visited, read and benefited from my efforts to bare my soul, and I pray that you will continue to use my case and life to teach others. Not only can the things I share be used to further educate those seeking to help victims in need of advocates, but also expose those who enable and empower such predators by failing to investigate or prosecute them based on who they are.

We are living in a new world, made transparent through the bravery of those willing to say #timesup or #metoo, and the message should resound with all who endure abuse and harassment. We, who have endured abuse and live with its reality-warping impact, need your help to heal, grow, and be successful in a world that often exploits the troubled and vulnerable.

I encourage you to read the personal accounts of those with mental wounds and conditions; educate yourself, so that we see the world and all in it more clearly than ever before. In our search for answers, to all the why’s of our suffering, none is greater than seeing that which molds all minds into vessels – our identities.