Monday, December 17, 2018

Monica Sementilli & Robert Louis Baker, Pretrial Hearing 7 & Sprocket News

The previous hearing on the case can be found HERE.

Fabio Sementilli
Source: Hair
December 13, 2018

Going to Court & Sprocket News
I'm trying to get used to having to spend more time getting to the Orange Line and also traveling a longer distance on the Orange Line than what I'm used to. I used to be able to get to court by 8am, if I left my house at 6:50 am. Now, I cannot leave any later than 6:30am. When I finally move in, it may take even longer than that.

It's official. My escrow closed on my new home December 3 and the court made me officially a single woman again on December 8. I hope to be fully moved in before the end of the year. Next year will be the daunting task of going back to school and finding work.

The 9th Floor
I arrive on the 9th floor a little after 8:00 am. In the center of the hallway on a bench are several people I don't recognize at first. It's CBS 48 Hours producer Greg Fisher along with Fabio Sementilli's sister, Mirella, her cousin and niece. Fabio's relatives all flew in from Canada for the hearing. Not everyone related to a case is able to attend these pretrial hearings. I'm thinking of the families of Pamela Fayed and Juliana Redding. The families of these victims all lived out of state and were not able to attend every hearing. If you were a friend of Fabio and are able to attend a pretrial hearing, I know his family would be grateful that you took the time to attend.

The Sementilli defense team of Leonard Levine and Blair Burke arrives along with their support staff. LAPD Robbery-Homicide Detective Barry Telis arrives.

Once Dept. 101, Judge Coen's courtroom opens, we all head inside. Greg and I take a seat in the third bench row, behind two of Sementilli's support staff. There are quite a few counsel in the well for other cases before Judge Coen. Almost every seat in the well is taken. There is a quick huddle of defense counsel in the well with the gentleman I believe is Sementelli's electronic data expert.

8:35 AM
Three extra sheriff's deputies arrive and cram into the well of the court. DDA's Beth Silverman and Melissa Opper arrive with two male law clerks. DDA Opper is wearing a very dark plum suit. It looks great on her.

A few moments later, Monica Sementilli is brought out and placed on the end of table seat, where Baker has sat in previous hearings. I note that Monica's hair is almost jet black now. There is only a small amount of reddish blond color left on the ends. She almost looks like she has a bit of makeup on and I'm wondering if she had access to makeup while in custody. Sementilli leans in to speak with Mr. Levine. Levine's co counsel, Blair Berk is in the very back row of the courtroom. A few moments later, she comes up to the well of the court to chat with her client then leaves. Now Berk is in deep conversation with Mr. Levine. Now Berk is walking around, almost pacing in the courtroom.

8:45 AM
Baker is brought out and Judge Coen is on the bench and quickly goes on the record. The court informs the parties that they are still scheduled for trial to start April 29, 2019 and the court calendar set on that date at zero of ten.

It appears the parties have all agreed on a return date of January 17. That's agreeable to everyone. Baker's defense attorney Michael Simmrin informs the court that he (just? recently?) received a 2 terabyte hard drive of discovery from the people. Because of the amount of discovery on this hard drive, Simmrin tells the court that the April trial start date is "...not going to work."

The court tells the parties that the trial date will stand for now and they can address it at the next hearing.

DDA Opper tells the court that the people handed over to the defense over 100,000 pages of additional discovery. The people add that this new material will add two weeks to the trial, making the trial approximately two months instead of the previous estimate of six weeks.

DDA Beth Silverman asks the court for permission to take custody of several SDT's, make copies for the people and defense and then return the originals to the court. The defense has no objection.

And that's pretty much it. The hearing is quickly over. Fabio's family flew in for a hearing that didn't even last ten minutes.

8:50 AM
Sementilli is quickly taken back into custody and the defense teams leave. Baker is still in the courtroom, waiting for the sheriff's to arrange his return to the custody area.  I see DDA Silverman is over by the clerk's counter, most likely picking up the subpoenaed documents. When Baker is finally taken back into custody, I note that he has a small book in his hand with a red cover.

Out in the hallway, DDA's Silverman and Opper patiently answer the family's questions about the status of the case and what lies ahead.

It is my understanding that the LAPD is still actively working this case and more discovery is expected to be turned over in the coming months.

The next hearing in the case is January 17, 2019.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Michael Gargiulo, Pretrial Hearing 45

Previous post can be found HERE.

Michael Thomas Gargiulo, Arrested in June, 2008

November 2, 2018
Personal Update:

It's been a few days since I vacated my home of 21 years. I am in temporary housing until the end of December. Luckily, I chose a place where I can still take the Orange Line to the Red Line to get to the downtown Clara Shortridge-Foltz criminal court building.

The 9th Floor
8:31 AM
I'm the first person attending this case on the 9th floor. There are barely 8 people spread out along the long hallway. There are attorneys going into Dept. 106, Judge Fidler's court that I've never seen before. There must be another hearing beside Gargiulo's today. I suspect Gargiulo's hearing will not be first up on the schedule.

There is a pretty young girl on the floor obviously waiting for Dept. 106 to open. She might be a reporter or an intern with the DA's office.

8:45 AM
Second chair defense attorney Daniel Nardoni arrives in the hallway. I also see lead counsel Dale Rubin down at the center of the hallway, entering Dept. 103 or 104. Mr. Nardoni approaches a woman he recognizes on the floor and they chat.

8:50 AM
DDA's Dan Akemon and Garrett Dameron arrive on the floor. They stick their heads into Dept. 106 to check in with Judge Fidler's clerk, Wendy, to let her know they are here.  I overhear someone ask if Mr. Rubin is in Dept. 106. As always, Mr. Nardoni says hello to me, addressing me by name.  A few minutes later, Mr. Rubin comes down the hall from Dept. 103. The hallway is still very empty. Hardly any traffic. It doesn't appear that there is a single courtroom on the floor that is currently in trial.

8:52 AM
I head into Dept. 106 say hello to Wendy and take a seat. I pass the defense and prosecution teams having a very friendly chat in the ante chamber. It's very refreshing to see all the attorneys on both sides of a case treat each other with respect and deference. From what I've observed over the years, DDA Akemon and Mr. Rubin have known each other for some time and get along quite well.

There will be another hearing before Gargiulo's. Gargiulo's case will be heard at 10 AM.

9:10 AM
Mr. Nardoni enters and greets the court reporter. There are several other attorneys here for the other case, which is a multi-defendant case.  Mr. Rubin is in the courtroom. When he takes a seat, I notice his pink and blue large check-patterned socks.

9:27 AM
The other case, they are going to bring the defendant's out.

9:33 AM
Judge Fidler takes the bench. The three defendant case - possibly two trials or even three separate trials. The entire matter is held over to December 7th. And that's it. Judge Fidler is off the bench.

For the first time, I notice that there is a sanitary soap dispenser on the wall where the door to the custody area is. The dispenser is directly under the courtroom clock.

9:40 AM
There is a quick court review of a wire-tap hearing. For those of you who don't know, Judge Fidler hears and rules on, I believe, all the requests for a wire tap in Los Angeles County.

In the well of the court, I see DDA Akemon passing a document to Mr. Rubin and Mr. Nardoni. It appears the defense is officially receiving the document. Mr. Nardoni responds to DDA Akemon, "Thank you Daniel."  Mr. Rubin is mentioning something to Wendy about bringing a cart from home to place behind the defense table to hold all the files they will be working with on the case.

I see DDA Akemon dropping off a document at the clerks desk. I overhear a quick comment, "No rush." It has something to do with witnesses.

The chatter I'm overhearing at the clerks desk is a March start date for the Gargiulo trial. My heart sinks. One of the cases in the prior hearing is likely to be next up on Judge Fidler's calendar to start in January. Judge Fidler's calendar rules everything else. From what snatches of conversation I'm hearing now,and from what I believe I heard the clerk discuss with other counsel in the prior hearing, one of the three defendants in that case, is not in the greatest of health. The goal is to get his case to trial as quickly as possible. That's why Gargiulo will probably go after that case.

9:45 AM
Gargiulo is brought out. He is completely clean shaven except for a very small mustache. The green bag he carries with him is placed on the floor at his feet. He's wearing his black, horn-rimmed glasses. He looks much the same as he has in prior hearings.

9:48 AM
Judge Fidler takes the bench for the Gargiulo matter. The defense 995 motion is first mentioned. I've been waiting for the defense to present their 995 motion back in 2013, several attorneys ago. For those not familiar with a 995, it is a defense motion to dismiss the case. It's usually the first motion filed after the completion of the preliminary hearing. Judge Fidler asks if they wish to argue. Mr. Nardoni speaks for the defense on two motions by the people to admit evidence: the 1101b DNA evidence in the 1993 Illinois murder of Tricia Pacaccio and the People's Perkin's Operation

Mr. Nardoni briefly states that the court is well aware of Illinois v. Perkins (a ruling affecting Miranda when undercover agents are placed in a jail setting). Mr. Gargiulo was at the LA County jail (in LASD custody) when he was brought to another city jurisdiction, and placed in a cell with two undercover agents. Mr. Nardoni argues that this Perkin's Operationin Gargiulo's case was different than the usual encounters. "He was taken out of the cell and grilled. ... put back in the cell ... taken out again a grilled by LAPD and Downey police." In the people's response, they state Gargiulo had the benefit of a toilet and sleep.  Mr. Nardoni argues the People's Perkin's Operation goes beyond a Miranda type issue. Mr. Gargiulo was not given medication he required. "They took undue advantage of him." 

Mr. Nardoni then argues that, over counsel's objection, the Tricia Pacaccio evidence that was admitted in the prelim under 1101b. He argues that the Pacaccio case, as it is related to the other homicides, there is nothing that relates except the stabbing. Mr. Nardoni argues the evidence is not unique enough. 

Ashley Ellerin murder in February 2001. Nardoni argues, "Easy to say but for Pacaccio, he would [never?] been held to answer on Ellerin alone. ... There's no evidence on it's face. ... The last time [Gargiulo] was seen in the area [of Ellerin's murder] was around November 2000." From January 1st to her [Ellerin's] death he was never seen in the area. There was no DNA No footprint match. No hair fibers or anything to connect [Ellerin's murder] to Mr. Gargiulo.

With the Pacaccio evidence, they [people] are able to prove identity as it relates to Pacaccio, and they are trying to piggyback Ellerin case onto that.

Judge Filder asks to hear from the people. DDA Akemon informs the court that back in December, the people dismissed the burglary charges. I believe DDA Akemon informs the court that these issues were litigated before the prelim,  ruled admissible and it is not proper to relitigate them here. DDA Akemon goes over the basics of the preliminary hearing: 10 days long; 46 witnesses and 37 exhibits. There are over 1,221 transcript pages. In conclusion, the people had Gargiulo connected to three [attacks] and evidence of violence against three other women. Very compelling circumstantial case.

Mr. Nardoni tells the court that he thinks Mr. Akemon misspoke. We have DNA in Pacaccio. She was found at [her] doorstep at home, outside. Others, the attacker broke into apartment[s]. Mr. Nardoni mentions the Bruno case and that in the Murphy case, the same incident the attacker broke in. "Ellerin, that's not a break-in." Detective Small testified all the windows were secured and could not determine any point of entry of the residence or someone [had a] key to the entrance. Mr. Nardoni states that there were two other people who had keys to Ellerin's home: her roommate and the manager. The Ellerin case is unique. There's no DNA in Ellerin or any other physical evidence.

Judge Fidler rules. "I believe Judge Johnson had more that enough evidence..." The court mentions the 1101b and Perkin's Operation. The motion to dismiss is denied.

Mr. Nardoni tells the court, "We need a trial date." Then the case that has been in Dept. 106 for the past nine months is mentioned.  The 12 defendant preliminary hearing in the medical insurance fraud case is the one involving Kelly Soo Park. My notes are not clear on who makes the comment, 'That hearing has got to be coming to an end.'
The court tells the parties that another case will go before them in January. It's not a death penalty case. It will be tried in two separate trials and be six to eight weeks for each. There is one defendant that they need to get to trial first. The other defendant could possibly go after the Gargiulo case. Wendy reminds the court that Mr. Rubin is waiting to retire. I silently note that Mr. Rubin has been waiting to retire since 2017. The Gargiulo case will be Mr. Rubin's swan song.

A return date is finally selected: February 1, 2019 with the case calendar set at zero of 60 on that date. There is speculation that the other case could fall through and not go to trial in January. DDA Akemon, Mr. Rubin and Mr. Nardoni confer. They ask the court if there is a date in December that they can return. Wendy states there are no dates available in December. Judge Fidler's calendar is packed.

Mr. Rubin addresses the court. In 2016 Judge Gordon assigned the case over to him once Mr. Lindner was relieved. Mr. Rubin was assured the case would go to trial in 2017.

Judge Fidler tells the parties that the 12 defendant trial [prelim?] is a disaster.

DDA Akemon tells the court that they are in agreement with the defense. They are hoping not to lose their place in line.  The clerk tells the parties there is no November date available either. Judge Fidler asks to speak to Wendy for a second. DDA Dameron tells the court that whatever date, the February 1, 2019 date would be for arguing the 1101b and Perkin's motions. The February 1st date is locked down.

The court addresses the defendant. "Mr. Gargiulo, is that agreeable to you sir?" Gargiulo responds, "Yes."

The court states they will litigate both.

Then the issue of a jury questionnaire is discussed. Mr. Rubin informs the court that the defense does not want one. They want to have individual juror questioning in voir dire.  Mr. Rubin tells the court a name of the type of questioning, I have "...Hobi preferred" but I don't know if that's the correct term. Mr. Rubin wants to question jurors individually on their feelings on the death penalty vs LWOP. Mr. Rubin states again he is against a jury questionnaire. He prefers a capitol exam.

The court responds, "If you would like to make a formal motion.... I'm disinclined." Judge Fidler recommends to the parties to prepare a jury questionnaire.

And that's it. At 10:10 AM Gargiulo rises from his chair. The sheriffs pick up his green bag and hand it to him. Mr. Nardoni goes back into the custody area with him. About five minutes later, Mr. Nardoni comes back out of the custody area.

Outside in the hallway, I ask Mr. Rubin for a moment of his time. As polite as he has been over the past three years, he appears a bit irritated by my request. I explain that I am an independent journalist who has covered this case since 2012 and am hoping that he would be willing to share copies of his motions with me. 

I don't mention to him that I am hoping he will be willing to share copies of his motions because as an independent journalist, my budget to purchase them from the court is very limited.

Mr. Rubin flatly declines. He tells me I can purchase copies of his motions from the court. I then ask him if he and his co-counsel would be willing to sit for an interview. I make it clear to him that I would not be asking about the case but to do a profile on them as defense attorneys.

Mr. Rubin's tone changes. He is quite adamant in saying no. He tells me he never cooperates with the press. He does not speak to the press. He mentions several major networks by name that have contacted him on the case. Mr. Rubin tells me he never cooperates or sits for interviews. He says that I can go online and find out everything I need to know about him.

Mr. Rubin's response is disappointing since I will have to explore other avenues for getting copies of any defense motions. I know I will not be able to purchase them all. However from a defense standpoint, Mr. Rubin's policy of not cooperating with the press benefits his client the most.

Looking back, I find some irony in all of this. Over the years, I have been contacted by a few people who knew Gargiulo.  Some have shared information. Some have not.

In June of 2015, I was contacted by a woman who stated she was in phone and letter contact with the defendant. She knew him from high school. This was during the time that Gargiulo was represented by Mr. Lindner and it was clear from the pretrial hearings that Gargiulo could not stand his counsel, refused to cooperate, was trying to get a new counsel assigned and was unsuccessful in that endeavor.

The individual stated that Mr. Gargiulo wanted me to contact him via letter and possibly meet with him in the private attorney area to discuss the court proceedings with him. The individual stated that Mr. Gargiulo thought that the judge [At the time, this was Dept 108, Judge Sam Ohta] and his defense attorney were "...being deceptive in court and he feels that he is involved in a wrongful case." I respectfully declined.

As an independent journalist with limited resources, T&T has had a long standing policy of zero contact with potential trial witnesses or charged defendants while the case is pending. Anytime someone has contacted me on a pending case, I always check with the assigned Deputy DA's to see if the individual who has contacted me is on a witness list or someone on their radar.  Some journalists might ask, How could you pass up the opportunity to sit and talk to Gargiulo? To me, the answer is easy. My goal has always been to report on the story as an observer. I don't want to become a part of the story and end up on the witness stand myself.

Uncertain Future for Trial Coverage

I was hoping that the Gargiulo case would go to trial in January and take the estimated five months for three trials: guilt, sanity and penalty phases. I had originally hoped that I could continue reporting on T&T for another year, but things have changed for me. That's not going to be possible. I will need to return to employment much sooner than I had originally projected. I was hoping that in June after the case was finished, I could brush up on my computer skills and look for work in my prior field as a compliance auditor in the financial industry.

With this trial starting in March or even later means after covering the case since 2012, I probably will not be able to continue T&T and cover the Gargiulo trial without an additional source of income at the same time. Possibly a sponsorship if I can find one or trying to raise funds through a Go Fund Me campaign.

So unfortunately, at this time, things are uncertain for continued trial coverage into 2019.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Monica Sementilli & Robert Louis Baker, Pretrial Hearing 6, & Sprocket News

Previous post can be found HERE.

UPDATE 10/20
edited for spelling, grammar, clarity. Sprocket
Ocober 2, 2018
Fabio Sementilli

It's after 8:00 am when I arrive on the 9th floor. Mr. Simmrin arrives around the same time I do. I politely ask Mr. Simmrin if he expects the hearing to go long today. He's kindly tells me that it should be a short hearing today.

Sementilli's defense team (Berk, Levine, gray haired gentleman and the tall thin man) arrives and Monica's sister, Anna Larson is here with them.  This is the same woman I've seen at prior court hearings. The big burly Sargent Westphal arrives with his keys to open Dept. 101, Judge Coen's court.

There are several members of Fabio's family here in the hallway. Two very pretty women and three men who all flew in from Canada. They are all wearing black shirts with "Rest in Peace Beloved Fabio" printed on the back.

I rush into Dept 101 because I want to be sure I get the aisle seat where I can hear the best.

DDA's Beth Silverman and Melissa Opper arrive. Beth is wearing a red and white dress with a matching red jacket and red leather handbag. She has something on I've rarely seen her wear. Flats. They are gray and go quite well with the dress. Usually, Beth is in heels. Melissa is wearing as usual, a dark suit.

Beth comes over to greet the family and also ask how things are going with me. (See note below.) Beth does one of the many things that she does best for the family, patiently answer their questions.

In the gallery I also answer questions for Fabio's family, pointing out who is who.

8:40 AM
Judge Coen takes the bench. A minute ago, chairs were being set up for the defendants. Defendants are put in chairs that do not have rollers on them. I point out to the family member beside me where each defendant will sit.

Mr. Simmrin comes out from the custody area. He must have been visiting with his client. Defendant Sementilli comes out first in the blue jumpsuit. Baker comes out quickly after and they are placed in the same chairs as the last few hearings.

Judge Coen goes on the record.  There are discovery items filed [by the people?]. The letter seized from Baker at the last hearing. The parties discuss the discovery issue of the seized letter. Sementilli's counsel wants to see the letter. DDA Silverman tells the court that unless Mr. Simmrin has any [discovery] issues, DDA Silverman will give a copy to Sementilli's counsel.  Mr. Simmrin states he has no issues with the letter.

Judge Coen appears a bit miffed on the bench. He asks the people why this wasn't handled informally instead of bringing this in front of him. The court tells the parties that he doesn't need to be involved in these issues. That they should be resolved between the parties and not involve the court's time.

Levine brings up to the court [possibly a motion?] that deals with any other letters in the Sheriff's possession, involving communication between defendants.

Judge Coen brings up search warrant affidavits. DDA Silverman informs the court that many of the search warrants are sealed. The people have been asking for discovery from the LAPD. By October 9, the court orders all discovery turned over.  I'm not certain, but as of today's date, I don't believe the people have received a single piece discovery from either defendant.

Levine brings up something about the hard drives that are needed for the people's discovery. He asks if the prosecution knows when there will be an end to discovery. Levine tells the court, "We want to get to trial as soon as possible." Levine wants to know the end of [discovery?] inquiry.

Judge Coen informs the parties that at this time, because his calendar is getting tight, they should put in a trial date. No other reason to block out time.  Currently, Judge Coen only has 19 days in January 2019 [for a trial]. Mr. Simmrin shakes his head about being ready to defend his client for trial in January. Regardless, it's my understanding that the case will need much more time than that. Coen states the next available time is the last week of April.

DDA Silverman informs the court that there is an ongoing investigation by the LAPD, which she does not have in her hand.

Levine tells the court they want an earlier date for trial. "We are not waiving time." The court responds, "I know, but I will make [whatever?] findings I have to make." Judge Coen adds, I've known Mr. Simmrin for years.  Judge Coen rules. He states Mr. Baker's 6th Amendment rights trumps everything, even defendant Sementilli's right to a speedy trial.

Judge Coen sets a potential start date  for Wednesday, April 24, or the next week starting on the 29th. Coen states it will be a six week trial.  DDA Silverman mentions something about the time frame or length of the trial that I miss.

Simmrin tells the court that he just received a 2 Terabyte hard drive of people discovery that he has not seen yet. Levine tells the court that they have some discovery but the latest batch does not have something. They appear to be ahead of Simmrin [in receiving their discovery?].

The trial start date is selected. April 29th for a six week trial. The court clock will be set at zero of ten on that date.  Mr. Simmrin is okay with that date.

The court asks for the next question. Levine is not agreeable to that date. They do not waive time. They would file a motion. The court asks, "Motion to sever, correct? ... Since you're not waiving time?"

Judge Coen states he knows Mr. Simmrin to be a top lawyer. " of the best." Judge Coen asks Levine if he thinks he [Mr. Simmrin] is slacking off.  Judge Coen then rules. As I've seen him do before, he goes to one of those long black file boxes and reads from a ruling. There is "...good cause to continue. ... do find good cause to continue Sementilli case over counsel's objection." Judge Coen continues to read from the prior case law but he's too fast for me to get it all.

Levine requests a return date of December 13, and perhaps an inquiry of Mr. Simmrin [as to his readiness]. Levine question whether they should go to another court. Judge Coen states it is not his business to question Mr Simmrin.

Mr. Simmrin tells the court, regarding an earlier trial date, "...given all the discovery, ... I highly doubt that."

And that's it. It's over quickly. Defendant Sementilli's sister in the gallery stands as Sementilli is being led out of the courtroom. As she is led back into the custody area, Sementill looks at her sister and smiles.

The friends and family of Fabio who attended the hearing are: Fabio's sister Mirella Sementilli Rota and her husband Marco; Fabio's sister Loreta, her husband, Joe, and eldest son Anthony. The family shared with me one of Fabio's sayings: "Chin up and charge that mountain." Fabio's family cannot come to every court hearing, but they tell me their souls are here if not in body. The family asks if local friends of Fabio can attend these hearings to represent Fabio since they are unable to do so.

The next hearing on the case can be found HERE.

Sprocket News
A little personal, bumpy ride here. I apologize to T&T readers that my notes on this hearing are over two weeks late. I hope you will forgive me when I share the reason why.

Over the past year, my life has changed dramatically. September 29, I sold my house. Escrow closes tomorrow. My last day on the property is October 28 where I will move into temporary housing. After 17 years of marriage, I am forging ahead on a new journey as a single woman again. Please do not be sad for me. My marriage was over many years ago. It wasn't until early this year that I realized I had to give up many things I appreciated about my life, being a wife, a homeowner, my hummingbird garden and possibly my trial reporting, to start again with a new life and new journey.

I don't know what the future holds for me or where I will be in six months. I'm hopeful that I will be able to stay in the area that I love and continue T&T for the next year, possibly two. Beyond that, it is unknown if T&T will continue operating.

If you have appreciated the eleven-and-a-half years of T&T's in-depth trial coverage, a donation to my trial reporting costs would be most appreciative and helpful at this time.You can click on the link to the right that says "Donate". Your bank statement will indicate a charge to "Betsy Ross Linens" which is the bank account I use for T&T and my sewing business.

A Personal Journey
T&T has not only a US readership but an international readership as well. T&T receives hits from people all over the globe dropping in to read the stories T&T has covered over the years.

I have been a some-what public person, at least on the web for over eleven years. In addition to covering high profile trials, I've also written briefly about more personal journeys. The retaliation that Phil Spector and his trial bride wife did to me during Spector's first then second trial; negative blog feedback; becoming friends with Dominick Dunne during Spector and his passing; my sewing business; a Thanksgiving disaster; my health; the antics of my cats; special honors; longtime friends, trial friends, and new trial friends; T&T fan mail; the loss of my beloved long-time companion, Sprocket Cat; my husband's various health issues; local wild fires; and my hummingbird nesting garden. I've shared quite a bit of my life on T&T.

I have been awed by all the women who have had the courage to come forward with their "Me Too" stories. But I also understand from a recent, very painful personal experience why many women remain silent. It is a very individual choice whether to go public or not against another person about a violation or betrayal of trust when that person may be powerful or a pubic personality. So from that, I also respect and honor those who choose to remain silent. You cannot judge someone who chooses to remain silent about an event that is overwhelmingly painful and raw.

On my own personal journey, I know my path has always been one of personal growth, and forgiveness of others, even those who have deeply wronged me. My journey has never been about causing pain to others. That is the path I walk.

The shortest and surest way to live with honor in the world,
is to be in reality what we would appear to be;
and if we observe, we shall find, that all human virtues
increase and are strengthened
by the practice and experience of them.

-Socrates (469-399 B.C.)