Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Matthew Shepard 'Mythers' & His Arrest for Molesting 8-year-old Boys

Critics of Steven Jimenez's controversial "The Book of Matt", pictured, have dismissed the author, some of his sources and many readers, on the left and the right, of the book who question the official narrative of the tragic murder of Matthew Shepard in 1998 as "truthers".

The opposite side of that coin is where we find the "mythers", people who have much invested maintaining that Shepard was an angel with nary a blemish and who generally accept the suppression of evidence in the case, factors other than anti-gay bigotry and who exploited the murder for political and financial purposes.

Since I was involved with the anti-death penalty group Queer Watch, which loudly and strongly opposed executing the culprits Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson, and traveled to Wyoming with civil libertarian Bill Dobbs during the trial to advocate our position, I will read Jimenez's book. I've placed a hold on it at my local library.

However, I flipped through the book last week and learned a few things, including all this about quite a blemish on Shepard's record:

These same sources believe it was these earlier traumatic experiences - and not Morocco - that precipitated Matthew's history of psychiatric ailments and self-medicating with alcohol and drugs. Apparently, his wound from being sexually victimized also manifested in another common but tragic pattern: The victim becomes a perpetrator himself.

At age 15 Matthew was arrested for molesting two eight-year-old boys in his Casper neighborhood. According to a relative of one of the boys, Matthew received counseling to help him deal with the incident; he'd also attempted suicide and been hospitalized, she said. But a former Casper police officer who was assigned to the case expressed discomfort at how the later attack in Laramie had been mishandled by the media, as well as the fact that Matthew's juvenile arrest record had been quietly concealed.

(Court files show that on February 22, 1999, [prosecutor Cal Rerucha] filed a motion requesting "that the defense be barred from reference to or testimony regarding any information . . . which may be contained in police reports regarding Matthew Shepard obtained from the Casper police department as well as juvenile records of Matthew Shepard obtained from Natrona County [Wyoming] court records.")

News to me that he was arrested for molestation of young boys and that the case was disallowed at trial, and I am even more curious now about everything in "The Book of Matt". Have you read it yet or have plans to do so? I hope there is a rational discussion in San Francisco about the book, the aftermath of Shepard's killing and how his life and death are used in contemporary legal and LGBT circles.


Anonymous said...

Calling BS on "Court files show that on February 22, 1999". Unless he was charged as an adult, court records would be sealed.

Rusty said...

Whether or not Matthew Shepard had sex with boys may be interesting in its own right, but it was rightly excluded from being brought up at the trial of his murderers. Matt was murdered, pure and simple. It would have been a travesty to let the defense bring up Matthew's sexual interests in front of the jury so that jurors might decide that the killers were "just bringing justice to a child molester".

Stephen R. Stapleton, Sacramento, CA said...

Not to be a schoolmarm, but, in American English, commas and periods go within the quotation marks, even if they are not part of the quote. Colons and semi-colons are placed outside the quotation marks, even if part of the quote, and, finally, question and exclamation marks are inside the quote if part of the quote, outside if not.

Books and other works of significant length are typical placed in italics (or underlined if italics is not available), not within quotation marks. Thus, names of books, television shows, movies, and operas, for example, are in italics, but the name of a short story, a particular episode, scene, or an aria is in quotation marks.

Roy Steele said...

Whether Matthew Shepard had a juvenile criminal record or not, whether he knew his assailants, or experimented with drugs, doesn't change the fact that he was the victim of a grisly murder. I'm reading the book right now, and it's largely based on hearsay and speculation. Juvenile criminal records are sealed for a reason, and this author's attempt to rewrite history disgusts me.

Anonymous said...

the issue is not necessarily the murder of Matt but whether or not he deserves to be elevated as martyr for the pro-gay agenda.
Why shouldn't the truth come out? If his negative attributes are based on speculation and hearsay, can it not be inferred that his positive attributes are also based on speculation and hearsay?

Anonymous said...

Stephen Stapleton, the assumption that the posters are American is absurd. The posts were correct for British/Australian English, and your attack on their grammar is not related to the article.

Jacob said...

I am a little worried that he gives an uncited case as evidence.