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The Dark Side of Fr. Oregon Representative Betsy Close and Joe Paterno: Depraved & Inhumane Part 1Coral Anika Theill Salem-News.com
Part 1 of 6 - It is terrible for everybody when the truth does not come out. It is terrible for SOME when it does.
(SALEM) - There are individuals mentioned in my story who refused to acknowledge the horrors of my survival of marital abuse and my cry for help. They became an obstacle to my basic human rights-freedom and safety. I am holding them responsible and accountable for the continued trauma I have experienced throughout the past several years. I am requesting that the acts of disrespect, dishonesty and violence against me be acknowledged and resolved.
2012 Campaign Slogan: “I have a strong sense of responsibility for others.” – Betsy Close
Betsy Close, of Albany, Oregon, the former Oregon State Representative (R), House District 15 will seek the Benton County Commissioner Position 3 seat, now held by Annabelle Jaramillo, in the 2012 General Election, November 6, 2012. Former Oregon State Representative Betsy Close http://betsyclose.com/ served three terms beginning in 1998.
I believe life is a series of rooms. Who you are stuck in the room with is what your life is.
From 1984-1996, Betsy and Chris Close were friends with my abusive ex-husband, Mr. Marty Warner, Independence, Oregon. I was their one of their “casualties.” Their religious views distorted their ability to view me, a woman, as a fellow human being.
Mrs. Close was aware of the abuse I suffered for years, including the ritual and emotional abuse, rapes and beatings during the period of my breakdown in 1993-1994. After my 8th child was born in July 1995, I shared with her that I needed help and safety. Betsy Close told me I would have to wait for my husband to commit adultery before I could ever divorce him and seek safety. Betsy Close proclaims to be a born again, spirit-filled Pentecostal Christian and is “pro-life.”
The crimes committed against me in 1993-1994 are Rape Count I. Oregon law states: sexually using a women who is physically, mentally incapacitated and helpless is RAPE COUNT I as described in Chapter 743, Oregon Laws, 1971, 163.375. Rape in the first degree is a Class A Felony. Husbands are not exempt from this law.
Betsy and Chris Close did nothing; the courts, attorneys, family members, Pastor Ron Sutter and his church members did nothing.
I reported the crimes of battering, rape, child and sexual abuse to law enforcement agencies, attorneys, judges, the Oregon Attorney General, and the Governor. My story was also presented to President Barack Obama on Mother’s Day 2010. http://salem-news.com/
In 2003, my true life story, BONSHEA, was published. Dr. Barbara May, Professor of Nursing, Linfield College, invited me to be a guest speaker for her class in 2001. BONSHEA was used as a college text for her nursing students in 2004. Dr. May, my mentor of 15 years, as well as many physicians, counselors and advocates throughout the country describes my Oregon court case as “obscene” and the individuals who were a threat to my safety and survival “toxic.”
The price for my own safety and freedom in 1996 was an imposed, unnatural and unwanted separation from my eight children. The injustice committed against me is not just the physical separation from my children, but the willful desecration of the mother-child relationship and bond, a sacred spiritual and emotional entity.
Forcibly taking a mother's children, and then controlling her emotionally by withholding contact must be publicly recognized as one of the greatest forms of 'mis-use' of the American justice system and one of the greatest hidden vehicles for wide-spread socially approved physical and emotional abuse and control.
Dr. Clarissa Estes writes, 'A culture that requires harm to one's soul in order to follow the culture's proscriptions is a very sick culture indeed.' 1 I think this is true. By obeying the Order of the Court, I betrayed my soul, my children and myself. I was forced to make a choice that no mother should ever be forced to make.
Tens of thousands of loving mothers have lost permanent custody and contact with their children through the abuse of power of America’s Family Court judges. "Fathers who battered the mother are twice as likely to seek sole custody of their children as are non-violent fathers." -American Psychological Association (http://www.intermedia-inc.com/title.asp?sku=SM03).
FAMILY COURTS AND FUNDAMENTAL LEGALISTIC CHRISTIANS ARE THE REAL WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION Video is dedicated to court personnel, and church and family members who support abusers. Hall of Shame: Mr. Marty Warner, Mrs. Helen Warner, former Oregon Representative Betsy Close, Former District Attorney John Fisher, Cindy Haugland, Peggy Warner, Mr. Mark Lawrence, Mr. Daniel Van Eaton, Sarah & Ben Bobeda, Rachel & Jesse White, Pastor Ron & Marijo Sutter, Steve & Kay Dixon, Bill & Linda Heard, Brian and Kathy King, “Right to Life,” Bridgeport Community Chapel members. Warning: Video may be disturbing for some people - Graphic images.
Domestic Violence is a Crime
From 1993-1994, Fr. State Representative Betsy Close phoned me, during the time of my illness and told me that God had cursed me. She sent me letters exhorting me to repent. She disapproved of my taking medication (low-dose tranquilizers) during the period I had suffered a breakdown/depression. In her words, “taking tranquilizers will open you up to demonic strongholds.” (I have copies of her letters to this day).
Although mentally well at the birth of my eighth child in 1995 and mentally well at my court hearings, the testimony introduced by Mr. Warner’s attorney revolved around my post-partum depression and physical and mental breakdown/stroke that had occurred three years previously.
In 1996, in preparation for my divorce hearings, I passed all six psychiatric exams by well-respected Oregon physicians. Many of these exams were four hours long. My physicians commented that many individuals involved in my court hearings would be unable to pass the same exams. My ex-husband failed his court ordered psychological exam.
Instead of supporting me while I was seeking safety from long term domestic violence in 1996, Betsy Close met and sympathized with my abusive husband, Marty Warner, and his attorney, Mark Lawrence, to assist them in removing my six month nursing infant and younger children from me.
I believe that domestic violence is a crime. It is a complex problem with roots in an oppressively hierarchical, patriarchal violence-accepting society. There is a point at which behavior becomes predatory and malicious - a point at which one is morally obligated to separate themselves from that person. (For the past 13 years I have lived under a state address protection program from my ex-husband, Marty Warner of Independence, OR).
In 1996, Dr. Jean Furchner interviewed Dr. Charles D. South, my obstetrician. Her report states:
"I spoke with Charles D. South, M.D., who is the OB/Gyn who delivered the twins and has seen Kathy through several of her deliveries. He said she had a very difficult time at the last delivery, with Zachary, hemorrhaging and in distress; the doctor wanted to start the IV and other therapy and was opposed by Mr. Warner; he said he finally had to intervene and begin the treatment because the patient was in real trouble. Dr. South states that he has been disillusioned by Mr. Warner, who presented himself early as a doting father but who has allowed his beliefs in male dominance and his control needs to interfere. He comments that Kathy was probably passive and notes her recent depression; he comments that he has come to see this patient as mentally abused in the marriage."
Mr. Warner beat me twice during this pregnancy. His reason? I had asked him to please not send our younger children to his mother, Helen Warner. Our 13 year old son and our nine-year old year old daughter, Theresa, witnessed these beatings. On one occasion, after Mr. Warner struck me on the head, I landed in the hallway outside of the kitchen. He stood over me and said in a threatening tone, "Kathy, [Coral] look at what you are doing to the children."
This was the second pregnancy during the two year period of my depression and breakdown. During this pregnancy, I was described by friends and relatives who took care of me, as a "glassed over, empty shell." I was weak, could not eat, sleep or care for myself.
After the birth of my 8th child in July 1995, I was frail when I returned home from the hospital. While I was still recovering from hemorrhaging, my husband attempted to rape me. After blocking my door at night with a dresser, I realized living this way of life would soon kill me. I sought help from an attorney and was not prepared for the horrors of Oregon’s judicial system.
Every Victim Longs for Justice, Vindication and Restitution
The bronze statue, weighing more than 900 pounds, erected in 2001 in honor of Joe Paterno’s record-setting 324th Division I coaching victory and his “contributions to Penn State University” came down Sunday morning, July 22, 2012.
Penn State President Rodney Erickson said he decided the sculpture had to go because it “has become a source of division and an obstacle to healing.” In Washington, the White House said President Barack Obama believed “it was the right decision.” I also agree with this decision.
Every day, since Betsy Close and other hostile witnesses took the stand in March 1996 against me, I have longed for justice, vindication and restitution. Betsy Close and her husband, Chris visited with me before and after my 8th child’s birth. They knew I was physically and mentally incapacitated during the time my ex-husband repeatedly raped and impregnated me in 1993-1994. Betsy and Chris Close were “on call” to take me to the hospital in July 1995, due to my husband leaving the area for a fishing trip at the time of my due date.
When there is no justice, there is truly no healing.
It takes two to speak the truth - one to speak and another to hear.” – Henry David Thoreau
After my divorce in 1996, I sought help by writing hundreds of letters to the media and to local, state and national advocate groups, to no avail. I met with journalists and editors of The Statesman Journal, Albany Democrat Herald and The Gazette Times. They refused to expose my story. Personnel at the Albany Democrat Herald were especially rude and would not publish my editorial.
Thankfully, Tim & Bonnie King, Editors/Publishers at Salem-News.com See Salem-News.com Staff Page heard my cries for help in 2007 and have been covering my story since. *(Related Salem-News.com stories included below)
Tim & Bonnie King are not only local and state advocates extraordinaire but also advocate for victims worldwide. (See the article: Significant Honor With Tamils from Around the Globe for Sri Lanka War Crime Reports)
Since 2007, my story and case history has been posted on websites all over the world, including the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
Judges, district attorneys, law enforcement agencies and religious organizations support domestic violence, rape and child abuse/molestation when they treat the victim like a criminal and ignore reported crimes of violence.
As long as our religious and legal systems remain complacent and unsympathetic towards women and children, domestic violence will remain at epidemic proportions in Oregon and throughout America.
If we teach violence in our homes---these places that are supposed to be safe---these situations will lead to a violent society. The violence and pain in individuals, in families and communities often reflects the violence and oppression we have experienced in our homes.
Our judicial system is a product of the community we live in. The courts represent the prevalent views regarding women and children in our communities. Their judgments are a reflection of the patriarchal religious structure of this country today. Unless we speak out against the injustices in our society, we become accomplices to the individuals and institutions that are an obstacle to women and children’s wholeness, safety and wellness.
Betsy Close: Hostile Witness at my Court Hearings
In the winter of 1996, prior to my three days of temporary custody hearings in Polk County courts, Judge Albin Norblad gave me permission to live in safety and hiding from my husband. I had NO contact with Betsy Close for months before the court hearings, per the orders of my attorneys and due to my own common sense. She was a friend to my rageaholic/abusive husband. They both shared similar extreme religious ideology. I knew she would betray me, I just didn’t know to what extent.
During the years after my ex-husband’s involvement in the “People of Praise” ecumenical cult, Mr. Warner kept busy attending Knights of Columbus and Social Action Committee meetings for St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Corvallis, Oregon. Mr. Warner was also very active in the "Right to Life” movement and served as state representative for Oregon Right to Life.
From his involvement with the "Right to Life" organization, he became friends with Betsy and Chris Close in Corvallis, Oregon. In the years that I was acquainted with Betsy Close, I babysat her children, shared meals, attended social events and on a few occasions, took short trips with her. I was grieved by her spiritual arrogance and her intolerance of people who were “different” than her, i.e., the gay community. Her views extend to prejudice against anyone who does not conform to her fundamentalist doctrines.
My husband did not want my physician, Dr. Charles South, to learn of my pregnancy in 1993, so he put me under the care of an OBGyn in Corvallis, Oregon. When my husband took me to Betsy Close’s Pregnancy Crisis Care center in Corvallis for a pregnancy test during the period of my breakdown, I learned that Mrs. Close was promoting materials from her and her husband’s pastor, Stan Houghton. Pastor Houghton, an abusive Pentecostal cult leader, encouraged parents to beat their children with thick boards. I asked Betsy Close to remove the materials from her center, as I found them repulsive. Mrs. Close often bragged about physically abusing her own children. I tried to caution her of the dangers of this cult, but she dismissed my warnings.
Individuals who attended this same cult are employed at Santiam Christian School.
In her book, Trauma and Recovery, Judith Herman writes, “It is very tempting to take the side of the perpetrator. All the perpetrator asks is that the bystander do nothing. He appeals to the universal desire to see, hear, and speak no evil. The victim, on the contrary, asks the bystander to share the burden of the pain. The victim demands action, engagement, and remembering...
“In order to escape accountability for his crimes, the perpetrator does everything in his power to promote forgetting. Secrecy and silence are the perpetrator's first line of defense. If secrecy fails, the perpetrator attacks the credibility of his victim. If he cannot silence her absolutely, he tries to make sure that no one listens. To this end, he marshals an impressive array of arguments, from the most blatant denial to the most sophisticated and elegant rationalization. After every atrocity one can expect to hear the same predictable apologies: it never happened; the victim lies; the victim exaggerates; the victim brought it on herself; and in any case it is time to forget the past and move on. The more powerful the perpetrator, the greater is his prerogative to name and define reality, and the more completely his arguments prevail.
“The perpetrator's arguments prove irresistible when the bystander faces them in isolation. Without a supportive social environment, the bystander usually succumbs to the temptation to look the other way. This is true even when the victim is an idealized and valued member of society. Soldiers in every war, even those who have been regarded as heroes, complain bitterly that no one wants to know the real truth about war. When the victim is already devalued (a woman, a child), she may find that the most traumatic events in her life take place outside the realm of socially validated reality. Her experience becomes unspeakable...
“To hold traumatic reality in consciousness requires a social context that affirms and protects the victim and that joins the victim and witness in a common alliance. For the individual victim, this social context is created by relationships with friends, lovers, and family. For the larger society, the social context is created by political movements that give voice to the disempowered...”
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
On several occasions, my ex-husband’s attorney, Mr. Lawrence made rude comments about my body odor during the time of my breakdown and my inability to care for my personal hygiene at that time. Due to decades of abuse, I collapsed after my 7th child’s home birth and suffered from postpartum depression/collapse and a partial stroke. I could not understand the relevancy this had during a child custody hearing. I was not ashamed of my breakdown and did not believe I needed to be unnecessarily humiliated about details relating to that time.
When I would share in my testimony that Mr. Warner did not allow me to go to a doctor alone or at all, etc., Mr. Lawrence would challenge me in regards to my answers. He would ask me, “Did you have your own keys? No one was threatening you were they?” Mr. Lawrence was either very naive to the fact that I was operating in the realm of the “battered wife’s syndrome” throughout my marriage, or he was very aware of the fact that I had been battered by his client. I believe Mr. Lawrence was using my previous mental history as a sideshow in Court to cover up the crimes his client had committed against me–battering, ritual abuse, and marital rape.
At my temporary custody hearings in March 1996, Fr. Oregon State Representative Betsy Close, who had been a trusted friend, also harmed me through her testimony. When my attorney asked Betsy Close what she meant when she stated that she did not believe I had grounds for divorce, she answered, "the only grounds for divorce, as described in the Bible, are ‘desertion or fornication’." Betsy Close didn't believe abuse was grounds for divorce.
When my attorney, Mr. Gearing, asked Mrs. Close what she recommended I do while living in the midst of abuse, Betsy Close said that I should call 911." Chris and Betsy Close had offered their home as a safe home for my children and me during a time I was experiencing abuse and violence from Mr. Warner in 1985. In Court, and under oath, she denied ever being a safe place for me and my children. (Please review public Court Transcripts and Tapes: Tape 2 of February 29, 1996, for more of Former Oregon State Representative Betsy Close's dangerous views about domestic violence.)
Betsy Close shared during her testimony that I had called her before the court hearing and told her I wanted to drive to a cabin and kill myself and my baby, Zachary. This was totally untrue! I had not spoken to her for several months.
One physician involved in my court trials and recovery expressed his feelings about the hostile witnesses and religious supporters of my abuser: some people go so low that even the slugs have to salt them.
As I listened to Mrs. Betsy Close on the witness stand, I was horrified at the lies and distortions. I could not understand why she acted so viciously and invented such a twisted story. I loved my baby, Zachary, loved my life and was doing all I could to escape the hell that had been created for me in the past. I was not suicidal. I desired to protect myself and my children.
The indifference and apathy I have experienced from many so-called “spiritually minded” Christian people grieves me to this day. Their response to my trauma and abuse is far removed from the meaning of “Christ-consciousness” that their institutions claim to represent. Instead of vessels of love, compassion and understanding, they became my judges, jury and executioner. They are void of spiritual and emotional intelligence. danielgoleman.info/topics/emotional-intelligence/
Some of the witnesses my ex-husband’s attorney put on the witness stand in March 1996 had only brief encounters with me and some had never met me, but testified as experts on my seventeen years of mothering skills and my present mental condition!
My attorney read a letter in Court that Betsy Close had written me praising me for being a loving, nurturing mother, and thanking me for the gentle mothering style I had not only with my own children, but with her children as well. I babysat her children while she attended “Right to Life” meetings and other political events.
Although it is illegal to mentally abuse someone in court and in depositions, my former depression and mental/nervous breakdown became the subject for ridicule in court. The judge didn't seem to mind Mr. Warner's attorney ridiculing me about my mental breakdown, or my physical shortcomings while I was on the witness stand. In court, Mr. Warner's attorney made numerous comments about my sexual abuse and molestation as a child. (Each night my mother put me in a bedroom with a convicted murderer and sex offender from the time I was six until ten years old. My great-uncle’s probation officer was missing in action).
His questions were intrusive, inappropriate and abusive. I had not yet had the opportunity to seek professional help regarding my childhood sexual abuse issues and was traumatized by his questions. These issues did not pertain to my divorce or the temporary custody hearings.
In depositions, Mr. Mark Lawrence also made light of my concern for my daughters sexual safety in the home. My young daughters had sought help from me. They had been sexual abused, too. These crimes are documented. Sadly, my daughters never received professional help after my ex was given sole custody. I was also concerned for my daughters because of the way my husband had treated me for twenty years. Mr. Warner had never exhibited any sexual restraint or self-control. There was no healthy-minded individual in the home to monitor the situation. (It is reported that one in three girls and one in four boys are sexually molested by the age of eighteen.)
I was also questioned extensively on my personal interpretation of scripture while on the witness stand in court and in depositions by Mr. Lawrence. This was the first time my thoughts had been on trial.
Making Known the Unknown
There is a dark side of human nature when all people are not valued. My intent in sharing my story is an effort to reclaim dignity, equality and honor, not only for myself, but for everyone. I envision a world that values freedom, and diversity, and humanity.
The important lesson to be understood from the horror I, and others, have survived is not so much that it is happening, but that it is being allowed–not only on an individual level, but under the disguise of church and state.
In her book, The Dark Side of Christian History, Helen Ellerbe writes, "The Christian (and Catholic) Church has left a legacy that fosters sexism, racism, and the intolerance of difference. The Church, throughout much of its history, has demonstrated a disregard for human freedom and dignity. The Church's control of people through dictating and containing their spirituality has been the most devastating slavery throughout the history of mankind. We must recognize the fact that ideas and beliefs which foster the denigration of human rights and the intolerance of differences must be examined and brought to light."
Historically, religion has upheld the mentality that encourages and condones abuse. The courts are an extension of our patriarchal heritage that views women as less value than men. By ignoring these facts, we perpetuate the cycle of violence. The religious organizations, community and the courts have closed their ears to my cry for help.
My task is to "make known the unknown."
(To be Continued: Part 2)
1 “Women Who Run with the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype” by Clarissa Estes, Ph.D.
Radio Program: Listen to Coral Theill's guest appearance on the "Majority United" Radio Program, Feb. 13, 2012: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/
Jan. 11, 2012: Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Calls on Congress to Reauthorize Violence Against Women Act http://www.salem-news.com/
Coral Anika Theill, reporter and advocate, is author of "BONSHEA: Making Light of the Dark." Her published works address abuse, trauma recovery and healing from post-traumatic stress and most recently, wounded Marines, the Warrior Games and Montford Point Marines.
Her writings have encouraged and inspired numerous trauma victims and wounded Marines/soldiers recovering from PTS and TBI. Coral's positive insights as a survivor have also earned the respect of clinical therapists, advocates, attorneys, professors and authors. BONSHEA has been used as a college text for nursing students at Linfield College, Portland, Oregon and can be ordered at: http://amazon.com, http://barnesandnoble.com or http:// iUniverse.com
"Those who serve may already know the toll of having to kill or be killed, but civilian society should also recognize that those who go into battle defending our way of life pay a price. I feel a deep gratitude to our servicemen and women and believe our society needs to do more to respect, understand and support those returning from deployment in conflict zones.” – Coral Anika Theill, Contributing Writer for Leatherneck Magazine
The Commandant of the Marine Corps on Post-Traumatic Stress and Traumatic Brain Injury and Invisible Battle Scars: Confronting the Stigma of PTS and TBI www.
Catch Coral's military articles published on Salem-News.com at this link
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