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Op-Ed: I Believe You, Elsa Newman, and Thousands Of Others Like you

By Aine O'Brocken     Sep 28, 2008 in Politics
For almost a year I have been investigating this case. Elsa Newman tried to protect her children from sexual abuse at the hands of their father. The American "justice" system failed her. She is in prison, her children in the custody of said father.
I BELIEVE YOU, ELSA NEWMAN! YES, I DO! (updated to 65 reasons)
You can prove almost anything if you are good at excerpting, as is Katherine Winfree, who pulled "snippets" of information from Elsa Newman's computer and used said "snippets" against Elsa. Let me give you an example from Judeo-Christian scriptures: In Matthew 27:5, the Bible states, "...and he [Judas] went and hanged himself." That's a snippet of scripture, right? Again the scripture states in Luke 10:37, "...[G]o and do thou likewise." Now there's another snippet. If I put them together and preach a sermon or homily, then all listeners who heard and believed my sermon or homily would immediately rush forth from the church building and find a rope and a convenient limb and hang themselves.
It only stands to reason, does it not? After all, it's in the Bible!
By such means and such snippets did Kate Winfree win the conviction of Elsa Newman for a crime she did not commit, a crime which, in fact, did not even exist, because there was neither conspiracy nor foreknowledge on Elsa's part.
And that's another reason for believing Elsa. I'm not even putting that in the numbered blog. I'm handing it to you for free: I believe Elsa Newman because she was convicted on the basis of prosecutor Katherine Winfree's "snippets."
Let us all, of whatever faith or lack of faith, hope and pray that other prosecuting attorneys
shall not take pages from Winfree's book--and do likewise.
Elsa Newman
In prison blues at Maryland Correctional Institution for Women.
Elsa Newman
Now...on to my reasons for believing Elsa Newman.
I must introduce myself as a rather obnoxious little-old-lady-type person, a retired teacher, who became interested in the Elsa Newman case and in Elsa's claims about the abuse of her sons.
My interest began with the fact that I am the full-time caregiver for a delightful Jewish artist who describes herself as "ably disabled.” My artist client sent for a list of pen pals from among Jewish people who are in prison. After some time, I also wrote for pen pals, and thus came across the name of Elsa Newman.
I have since begun to investigate Elsa's story and her concerns for her sons, and I find myself greatly dismayed by the facts my research has revealed.
Elsa Newman was twice convicted of conspiracy to commit murder. The charges resulted from the actions of family friend, Margery Landry, who broke into the house of Elsa’s estranged husband while the boys were visiting. During the break-in, Margery was carrying a gun and had taken child pornography with her, intending to plant it in the house if she could not find child pornography in the home as evidence. Instead of child pornography, what Landry found was Elsa’s estranged husband, nude from the waist down, in bed with his younger son, who was completely nude. Beside the bed were items of the child’s clothing. In the room was a small bag, which looked like it contained “sex toys”. Having apparently stumbled upon a situation of abuse in progress, Landry blew it at that point, completely losing her cool.
However, she did not act without thinking. Rather, she asked herself how she would ever live with herself, knowing what she had seen, if she made no attempt to help the child. Therefore, she entered the master bedroom and tried to pull the man away from his son. Elsa’s estranged husband struggled with Landry, and the gun when off during the struggle. He was accidently shot in the thigh, the shots leaving burn marks from the gun clip on this own hand. [Hmmmm. Is it possible that Slobodow, in the process of trying to turn the gun on Margery Landry actually shot himself?] This accidental shot in the thigh, in Slobodow’s mouth turned into “attempted murder.” After considerable turmoil, he managed to get to a phone and call 9-1-1. Landry fled.
Elsa Newman remains firm about two things: 1) she was in no way involved in the incident created by Landry, and 2) her ex-husband is a pedophile who molests her two sons sexually, as well as abusing them physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
So here goes: my list of reasons for believing Elsa Newman.
1. I am convinced that Elsa Newman is either totally delusional, or she is right. And I have not the slightest reason to suspect any delusion on her part. In short, I believe what she tells me. I am not alone.
2. There are many others who agree with me. There is even a small group of people who contact each other on the net and call themselves “Friends of Elsa Newman.” This group has recently opened a blog site, for posting their own observations and attitudes. (There is little on it, yet, since Friends of Elsa Newman tend to funnel things through me and I put items on the site for them. Nevertheless, as I have time, postings will increase hugely.)
3. As an added note, and to give one reason among many why I accept Elsa's claims, I offer a brief review of the recent Castillo Case in Maryland . You've heard of this one; the one where the estranged husband was allowed unsupervised visits with his children, despite the pleas of Amy Castillo, their mother, begging the judge not to allow unsupervised visits, because she believed the father to be a serious threat to the children. The judge ignored her pleas, allowed the unsupervised visits, and the man drowned the three children in a bathtub. The thing that many people don't know is that this family-court matter occurred in the same state as Elsa' the same the same courtroom...and with the both the same judge and the same psychologist.
Soooo…the same judge and psychologist that sent Amy Castillo's children to death by drowning at the hands of their father--despite Mrs. Castillo's pleading--placed Elsa's sons in the custody of a father accused of abuse--despite Elsa's pleading.
4. I believe Elsa because noted authorities in the field of child abuse believe her. For one example, consider Michelle Etlin, co-author of the book, The Hostage Child. One of the things Michelle told Elsa was that she believed her, believed every word she was saying. Me, too.
5. I believe Elsa because I have spoken to her several times on the phone. The things she says resonate truth, as does her voice when she speaks or her letters when she writes to me.
6. I believe Elsa because of the depth and detail of what her children disclosed to her; I have seen documents of these disclosures. I don't think anybody could invent all that garbage.
7. I believe Elsa because, even from where I sit on the opposite side of this country [I live in Washington State, which is about as far as you can get from either Maryland or Florida, where the boys live now—in the custody of the alleged pedophile.], I can see holes in the prosecution argument in her criminal trials.
• For just one example, the father of the boys called 9-1-1 and reported that his wife had sent someone to try to kill him. But even if that were true, it is impossible for him to have known it--and by everyone’s testimony but his own, it is not true.
• Among the first things Arlen Slobodow said on that 9-1-1 tape was “Don’t let my wife have my kids.” Well, of course he didn’t want her to have them! He knew what he’d been doing to them, and he knew Elsa would take them to medical authorities to have the abuse verified.
• And then there is the matter of the slide show: During Elsa Newman’s original trial, the prosecution, in the form of Katherine Winfree, presented a slide show—slides of the crime scene. It was those slides showed which showed the bag of paraphernalia that appeared to be a collection of some sort of “sex tools” or “sex toys.” No one in the trial mentioned that, not even defense attorneys.
• Another slide showed items of a little boy’s clothing, clearly visible and recognizable—near the bed.. Elsa had been leaning forward in her chair all during the slide show. It was, she says, her first opportunity to see exactly what had happened and the details about what she was accused of, and thus she was quite interested. When the slide with the clothing appeared, Elsa gasped audibly, realizing fully whose it was: it belonged to her younger son. The father informed authorities that the boy had come to his bed because he could not sleep. However, later testimony in the trial stated that the boy’s bed had not been slept in. I cannot escape this question: what in the world was a little boy’s clothing doing beside a bed where he nude and his father was nude from the waist down.
Katherine Winfree, as she showed that slide of those items of clothing, apparently heard Elsa’s gasp of shock and dismay. Winfree turned and stared at Elsa long and hard. Dare I presume that Winfree realized in that moment the significance of the clothing? Dare I presume that she knew then that the allegations against Elsa’s ex-husband were true? Dare I presume that she knew, and that she then went on with her prosecution, caring nothing for the fate of those two then-very-young children?
It is noteworthy in this regard that during the second trial, Winfree did not use those slides of the crime scene at all. She presented instead a series of slides that focused on Elsa’s ex-husband in his hospital bed after the shooting. Pretty safe, I guess. No sex toys. No little-boy clothing.
8. I believe Elsa because there were, according to my understanding, no bullet holes in the father’s pajama bottoms—although he was shot in the leg, there were both entrance and exit wounds, and those pajama bottoms were covered with blood. He couldn’t have been wearing them when he was shot, then, could he?
9. I believe Elsa because I tend to view our American justice system as a system which presents organized debates in a courtroom setting, and the best debater, as decided by judge or jury, is the winner. According to Doug Gansler, now attorney general of the state of Maryland, Katherine Winfree, now his chief deputy, is a better prosecutor than even he is.
10. I believe Elsa because disbelief--once I contacted Elsa and heard her story—became too frightening. If this kind of disastrous contact with the legal system, followed by Elsa’s subsequent imprisonment and her children’s subjection to the care of an alleged pedophile, could happen in Maryland and happen to Elsa Newman and her children, it could happen anywhere, and to any of us.
11. I believe Elsa because fathers’ rights advocates have created a pendulum swing within the American judicial system, and that swing has been away from mothers’ rights. Yes, Michelle Etlin and her co-author wrote of the horrors women face in family court. But at the same time, there were no less than fourteen books written by fathers’ rights advocates. They said the exact opposite of what Etlin and her co-author documented in The Hostage Child. And they had more money. One of their authors sent a free copy of his book to every congress-person and every family court judge in this country.
12. I believe Elsa because of the interrogation of her two children by police detectives. Let me say here, quite plainly, that as an attorney who believed the American system of justice was sure to help her and her two sons, Elsa was far more than a little naïve. She was a lot naïve.
While Elsa waited for her sons in a place apart from the interrogation room, the boys were grilled literally for hours, about their disclosures to their mother. They were held in that room for so long that Elsa’s younger son—too frightened to ask permission to use a bathroom—emptied his bowels into his underwear. Shortly after that, he was apparently escorted to a different room to wait for his mother. Probably smelled bad enough that the interrogating detective didn’t want to put up with the odor.
After many hours—I believe it was over six hours—the interrogating police detective, Q. Edwina Lewis--emerged, triumphant and absolutely beaming, from the interrogation room, followed by Elsa’s older son, who had gone completely white in the face. “H***** has made a disclosure,” the detective announced. Elsa looked at her and frowned, wondering why Lewis was so happy if the boy had, indeed, made a disclosure of abuse. “Tell her,” said the officer to H*****.
White-faced, obviously anguished, the boy blurted, “I made it all up, Mom,” and hung his head.
Elsa was left to claim her younger son, clean him up as best she could in a restroom, take the two boys home and try to restore some degree of their faith in themselves and what they knew to be true.
It was Q. Edwina Lewis who put forth the falsified information—which would be used later by Katherine Winfree—that the younger boy had soiled his pants because Elsa “yelled” at him. Well…Lewis couldn’t let it be known that she was the cause of the problem, could she? She had to come up with some means of escaping responsibility. So she blamed Elsa—the mother who had sat silent and restrained in an area separate from her sons and worried terribly about them for six long hours. This mother was blamed by Q. Edwina Lewis for a problem that Lewis herself had caused.
13. I believe Elsa because of the testimony of the psychologist who testified against her. He tried to say that Elsa had or was close to a borderline personality. The truth is that testing showed Elsa well within the normal range, although a touch defensive, as well befits a mother battling for her children’s rights, for their custody--and perhaps even their lives. Tests by the same psychologist showed that her ex-husband fell outside that normal range, presumably into the range of sociopathic behavior. So what did the psychologist do? He threw out the test results and based his opinion on interviews with the two adults involved—Elsa and her ex-husband. In that psychologist’s opinion, when Elsa stated to him that she was more than a little displeased and angry with her husband (Well, duh…what decent mother wouldn’t feel angry toward someone who was sexually abusing her kids?) she was exhibiting behavior outside the normal range. And on the basis of his interview with the ex-husband? The psychologist stated that the man was normal, despite clear evidence in the testing that the man is a sociopath and a child molester.
14. I believe Elsa because of the comment on one of my blogs, by a person calling himself/herself “Ashan.” “Ashan” told an awkward, undetailed picture of Elsa as a young child, saying that he (Ashan) had known her since the age of eight, that his parents had been friends of Elsa’s parents, and that he had hated visiting her because she been demanding and petty. The problem? There never was such a little person in Elsa’s life. I wrote a comment on my blog in response to the original comment by “Ashan.” Wouldn’t you think that if any part of that letter were true, I would have received some sort of response? Nothing. Nada.
15. I believe Elsa because her conviction in the original trial was vacated by Maryland’s highest court, which said there was no evidence of her involvement in Margery Landry’s break-in and the shooting of Elsa’s ex-husband.
16. I believe Elsa because a major part of the prosecution case was apparently the testimony of her one-time attorney, Stephen Friedman. What happened to attorney-client privilege?
17. I believe Elsa because the testimony of Friedman was so obviously a matter of his lying through his teeth. Elsa Newman is a very intelligent woman. Just how stupid would you have to be to sit in front of an attorney, of all people, and plot a murder? Duh! Elsa is an attorney, herself.
18. I believe Elsa because, although Friedmen literally never took notes at his work sessions with Elsa—and I have in hand records from her computer that show she complained about this—when it came time to testify against Elsa, Friedman showed up in court with volumes of notes—red and green--ostensibly taken during work sessions with Elsa.
19. I believe Elsa because she had fired Friedman after a series of complaints about him. I have little doubt that Friedman would have considered himself justified in seeking revenge in the form of manufactured testimony.
20. I believe Elsa because her ex-husband was the only other major prosecution witness. Talk about “vested interest!”
21. I believe Elsa because two noted Maryland attorneys wrote a letter to the judge who was to pass sentence on Elsa, saying, “We have serious doubts regarding the guilt of Ms. Newman.”
22. I believe Elsa because those same two attorneys went on to point out that the alleged “death threat” that Elsa had supposedly made to Sandra Ashley, an employee of Mr. Friedman, would have been made some 13 months before the crime took place,” in other words, 13 months before Margery Landry broke into the home of Elsa’s ex-husband and found him nearly nude in bed with his younger son, also nude. That would make it several years before the woman actually sat in a witness chair and testified about a supposed death threat which Ashley had suddenly and--quite conveniently for the prosecution—recalled.
23. I believe Elsa because I have in hand a copy of the email that Sandra Ashley sent to her employer, Mr. Friedman, after her meeting with Elsa. This email said in total, “The children have been w/father for past several days and w/be returning tomorrow evening, Fri. She wants to have them examined and was in search of a pediatrician who ‘will tell it like it is.’” If such a horrible death threat had been made that this Ashley woman would remember it years later—why was there no mention of any such threat in the email?
24. I believe Elsa because I believe that Sandra Ashley’s testimony was not allowable any more than was Friedman’s. This testimony—because Ashley was an employee of Friedman at the time—should have been covered by attorney-client privilege, just as much as was Friedman’s.
25. I believe Elsa because I believe that Ashley, like her employer, fabricated the whole story of the supposed death threat.
26. I believe Elsa because the alleged “death threat” was stated during a bitter divorce and custody battle. In other words, even had Elsa uttered these horrible threats—an idea which is not only in doubt, but is itself ludicrous—the words were never meant in the context presented by the prosecution.
27. I believe Elsa because the prosecution removed item after item from its context and used these items to “prove” Elsa guilty. The reality is that, had the prosecution been interested in truth and justice, rather than in winning a guilty verdict at any cost, the context would have shown Elsa’s innocence.
28. I believe Elsa because of the prosecution’s denigrating attitude toward her. Prosecutor Katherine Winfree called Elsa a “delusional witch.” Winfree said of her in an email to Detective Susan Mercer, “She is so nuts!!”
29. I believe Elsa because I believe the prosecution actually harassed her. How? Well, it went like this: Elsa would always arrive early for trial, lest she should run into problems in her journey to the courthouse and end up late. This early arrival meant waiting. And waiting sometimes put her in the area outside the courtoom with Katherine Winfree. Winfree would talk about her children—how she had to do this or that with them, or pick them up after some practice or other. During these “conversations,” Elsa cringed. Hearing about a mother’s daily, normal, routine interactions with her children was pure hell for a woman who, by court order, was not permitted that same sort of interaction with her own kids. I have no doubt Winfree knew full well the effect she was having on the defendant.
30. I believe Elsa precisely because of the repeated statements by Katherine Winfree that “She wanted him dead,” “she” being Elsa Newman and “him” being Arlen Slobodow, the pedophile father of her children. Those children had disclosed horrible sexual abuse at the hands of their father, and Elsa believed them completely. If a woman of Elsa’s obvious intelligence, quality and ability had wanted Arlen Slobodow dead—then he would be dead. He is not; therefore she did not want him dead.
31. I believe Elsa because I understand that the jury foreman in her second trial stated that he knew before the trial ever began that Elsa was guilty. This was apparently reported to authorities—and the judge in question decided that the jury foreman had meant he believed her guilty before deliberations ever started, rather than before the start of the trial.
32. I believe Elsa because Margery Landry, the woman who pled guilty to the crime Elsa was accused of conspiring to commit, refused to testify against Elsa, even though Landry was more than once offered a major reduction in her own sentence in exchange for such testimony. She rejected the offer, insisting that Elsa was not involved.
33. I believe Elsa because of the testimony of Margery Landry at the second trial. With nothing either to lose or to gain, Landry testified plainly that Elsa had neither had anything to do with the crime—nor had she even known in advance that Landry had the idea of entering Slobodow’s house.
34. I believe Elsa because of the simple fact that if she had had the slightest hint of Landry’s intentions, she would never have permitted a gun to be taken anywhere near her children.
35. I believe Elsa because of the attitude of the then-state’s attorney for Montgomery County concerning her case. For example, when Maryland’s highest court vacated the decision in Elsa’s first trial, the media reported that Doug Gansler said, “They just released the woman who wanted to kill her kids.” In this and similar statements lies the opinion of the prosecutor’s office and seemingly of deputy prosecutor Kate Winfree, as well. Blessed are those who search for truth and thus learn the truth, for the truth shall make them free. Not in Montgomery County Maryland, I guess. Said prosecutor’s office appears to have been far more interested in conviction at any cost than in a search for truth and/or justice.
36. I believe Elsa because of the timing of the second trial. Doug Gansler was then running for (or maybe just planning a run for) state office. It would have been quite negative publicity were he to allow an innocent woman to be released at that time. He had to win a second conviction in order to advance his election campaign.
37. I believe Elsa because a timeline I have prepared offers further evidence about Gansler’s run for office. The timeline shows that Doug Gansler planned well in advance his run for state office. We have evidence of this at least as early as the summer of 2002, when Gansler is reported in the media as having driven to Annapolis and arrived there at 8:45 p.m., just before filing for office ended—in case the current Democratic AG had withdrawn his re-election bid. He was allowing himself time, you see, so that just in case the AG had decided not to run, he (Gansler) would be in time to file.
The timeline shows, of course, that Gansler actually did file in 2006, when the then AG decided to retire.
Elsa’s second trial opened on Tuesday, September 27, 2005. It seems likely, then, that by the time of this trial, Doug Gansler was at least hoping he would be running for state office in 2006, whether or not he actually knew he would have that opportunity. It certainly would not do for a man with such ambitions to allow the release of a mother prosecuted by his office for supposedly heinous crimes.
For the sake of Gansler’s political hopes, he had to send the case back to court, again in the hands of Katherine Winfree. And his office had to win the verdict.
38. I believe Elsa because Gansler was making other moves to gain positive publicity in his run for Attorney General of the state of Maryland. For example, it was about at this same time that he declared he intended to prosecute the DC snipers in Maryland, despite the fact they had already been convicted and sentenced—one to death, as I recall—in the state of Virginia. But a Maryland trial would bring additional publicity, would it not, Mr. Gansler? And would make a win in the election more likely for you, would it not, Mr. Gansler? And who cares if an innocent woman was sent back to prison just because you wanted publicity? Right, Mr. Gansler?
39. I believe Elsa because there are so many others like her. When I first read statements that there are thousands of women in the same position as Elsa, I nodded my head in vigorous assent, but somewhere down inside, I wondered. It could not possibly be, could it?
It could. It is. I have read many for myself, both in Michelle Etlin’s book and on the net. There are, indeed, thousands of women in this country trying to protect their children from abuse of all kinds. And they are being prosecuted. Try this one on for size, if you doubt me: and go to the entry for September 25, 2008, where the story of Johanna vonGeldern and her daughter is told
Or take a look at a Yahoo group called “mothersincrisiscoalition.”
40. I believe Elsa precisely because of the arguments of Winfree in court. She stated that Elsa is a “domineering personality” who pushed Landry around. Where did that assessment come from? Landry clearly and obviously was capable of acting on her own in entering Slobodow’s house.
As to some idea of Elsa as a domineering personality? It’s hogwash!
That is not the Elsa Newman I have come to know. That is not the Elsa Newman spoken of by her friends, some of whom refer to her as “gentle” or “calm” or “patient” or “funny.” In the words of a teacher at the prison, “Ms. Newman has consistently displayed a calm, patient, helpful and cooperative demeanor, even in the face of occasionally hostile and verbally abusive staff or inmates. She is thoughtful and deeply spiritual….”
41. I believe Elsa because the ex-husband who was a primary witness against her at both trials manufactured testimony out of incidents he had seen or observed in other people or in different situations.
For example, Arlen Slobodow testified in two trials that he had seen Margery Landry slap Elsa and Elsa slap her back. Neither of these women has ever slapped the other Want the real story? Here it is: Arlen Slobodow has a history of violence against women. So intense did this violence become that Elsa was forced to taking out a protective order against him. Long before she took out said order, however, he was abusing her on a regular basis, both verbally and physically.
Although it had seemed at first to be simply an invented story, it became obvious later that the fake incident related by Slobodow had based it on an incident in which he, himself, had been involved. Elsa had seen in movies where an insulting or offensive man would be slapped by the heroine. So…on an occasion when Arlen was being extremely abuse verbally, Elsa slapped him. He slapped her back so hard he nearly knocked her down. She never again tried that tactic or anything physical with him.
She did state this in testimony during divorce proceedings.
Apparently it was on this incident that Slobodow based his manufactured story of Elsa and Landry exchanging slaps.
In other words, Slobodow took an incident in which he was involved and projected it onto someone else, thus perjuring himself.
42. I believe Elsa because Slobodow was so physically abusive that he often frightened her. He has been known to throw Elsa down a flight of stairs. One time she was even holding a baby when he did that. As I understand it, he also physically assaulted Margery Landry several times, one time catching her hand in a closing door and continuing to try to close it.
43. I believe Elsa because Slobodow was so verbally and emotionally abusive that Elsa used to enter a bathroom, turn the water on full force in the tub and put her hands over her ears to shut out the noise of his ranting.
44. I believe Elsa because Slobodow several times ignored protective orders against him. On one such occasion he threw her to the sidewalk and entered her house, walking out with some items he had decided he wanted.
45. I believe Elsa because Slobodow is a man of extremes, with no middle ground. During the time the family was living together, Slobodow was either involved in sports pages, in watching TV or in using a computer. OR…he was ranting and raving and violent. There was no in between. He never laughed. He never cried.
46. I believe Elsa because Slobodow showed no concern whatever about his children’s disclosures that his children were being abused. When his attorney, Stacy Talbott, told him he should appear concerned about why his children believed someone was abusing them so badly, apparently the best he could manage was to say that he didn’t like being accused of abuse. To this day, no one I know has heard him express concern for his sons. Quite the contrary, he was overheard saying, “I don’t care if the kids grow up f***** up!”
47. I believe Elsa because of two professionals that ruled out any possibility that Elsa was “coaching” the boys in their claims of abuse—Dr. Rosenberg and Dr. Lamb.
48. I believe Elsa because—despite the fact that H***** has no evidence of ADD or ADHD—Slobodow has managed to convince a Florida physician that the boy needs medication and now has him on amphetamines. I suspect this is an attempt at control, since one method abusers use to control the children and young people they abuse is giving or withholding drugs. Terrorizing their victims, of course, is another.
49. I believe Elsa because even Sandra Ashley, who testified against her, said Elsa is a person who speaks quietly, but not like she was hiding anything. And Ashley confided that she knew that Elsa knew Slobodow was molesting the children.
50. I wonder how it feels for Stacy Blondes Talbott to be the attorney of a child molester…and know he’s a molester…and win her case. I believe this to be the situation with Slobodow’s divorce/custody case.
51 . I believe Elsa because Alan Town (now deceased) who had been the court-appointed attorney for the boys during the divorce, insisted that once Elsa was charged, he [Town] had been also court appointed to protect the interest of the boys in a trust fund. Their grandmother, Elsa’s mother, had previously been in charge of that fund. The truth: The judge ordered it turned over to Alan Town only until Elsa’s trial was over, so Elsa could not use the money “for bond, fleeing, travel, etc.”
Then when the trial was over, Town refused to return the fund to the grandmother’s control, although the original court order clearly stated that he was to do so at that time.
This matter went to court, and the court left the fund in the control of Town.
52. I believe Elsa because Alan Town and Arlen Slobodow were so clearly friends that they were seen laughing and talking together at various times. It was stated in a police report that I have in hand, that the “Guardian [Town] covers up or doesn’t believe allegations.” Further, Town spent no time with the boys whom he was assigned to protect, as well as to see to their legal rights.
53. I believe Elsa because Margery Landry repeatedly tried to bring abuse disclosures by the boys to the attention of authorities—and failed. I have in hand records of these attempts on the part of Landry.
54. I believe Elsa because Arlen Slowbodow makes it so obvious that he is not to be trusted. His violence bears witness to that. His lying during testimony against Elsa demonstrates that. The disclosures of his children show that. His failure to repay a loan from Margery Landry shows it.
55. I believe Elsa because Arlen Slobodow reveals his vindictiveness against his former wife in a variety of ways. His filing of petty lawsuits and motions against her, to deplete her resources—a common tactic of abusers suing for custody--is but one example of this. His settling for $20,000 when he filed a suit against Margery Landry, to be paid when she is released from prison—and yet demanding three million dollars from Elsa, to be paid immediately, despite her imprisonment and lack of funds is another example. His invented testimony shows this. His 9-1-1 call on the night of the crime shows this, as he said, “My wife sent someone to try to kill me,” when there is no earthly or heavenly way he could have known that, even had it been true.
56. I believe Elsa because her ex-husband, Arlen Slobodow of Tampa, Florida, fits the description “sociopath” to a T. Let’s take a moment to examine that statement, based on the psychopathy checklists of H. Cleckley and R. Hare.
• Glibness and superficial charm. [Fits. Slobodow, although in many ways violent and unpredictable, can display absolutely marvelous charm in public. Thus his ability to appear believable to a jury when he lies—or to a child abuse investigator when he lies—or to anyone interviewing him about his former wife.]
Manipulative and Conning. [Fits. A perfect picture of Slobodow, who manipulates people as if he were a puppetmaster and people his puppets.]
Sociopaths never recognize the rights of others and see their self-serving behaviors as permissible. They appear to be charming, yet are covertly hostile and domineering, seeing their victim as merely an instrument to be used. They may dominate and humiliate their victims.
Grandiose Sense of Self. Feels entitled to certain things as "their right." [Fits. Slobodow never admits to any faults in himself. Part of this whole mess seems to be his belief that he has a right to abuse his children if he wants to. Note also his comment on MySpace:
"The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness]
Pathological Lying---[oooh…right on] Sociopaths have no problem lying coolly and easily and it is almost impossible for them to be truthful on a consistent basis. Can create, and get caught up in, a complex belief about their own powers and abilities. Sociopaths are extremely convincing and even able to pass lie detector tests.
Lack of Remorse, Shame or Guilt—[right on again]. A deep seated rage, which is split off and repressed, is at their core. Do not see others around them as people, but only as targets and opportunities. Instead of friends, they have victims and accomplices who end up as victims. The end always justifies the means and they let nothing stand in their way.
Shallow Emotions—[yup!]When they show what seems to be warmth, joy, love and compassion it is more feigned than experienced and serves an ulterior motive. Outraged by insignificant matters, yet remaining unmoved and cold by what would upset a normal person. Since they are not genuine, neither are their promises.
Incapacity for Love—[but plenty of capacity for anger, hatred, revenge, duplicity, etc…etc…etc….]
Need for Stimulation Living on the edge. Verbal outbursts and physical punishments are normal. [Oh, yes.]
Promiscuity and gambling are common. [Don’t know about gambling…but it does seem that there is evidence of promiscuity. His own sons are most likely not the only boys he has ever molested. For example, there were times when he would visit his wife and sons in London and would disappear for hours, late into the night. Hmmmm. What were you doing then, Mr. Slobodow?]
Callousness/Lack of Empathy [Notice here that the kids have disclosed that when they have begged their father to stop some form of abuse he was indulging in, “he just does it more.”]
Unable to empathize with the pain of their victims, having only contempt for others' feelings of distress and readily taking advantage of them.
Poor Behavioral Controls/Impulsive Nature Rage and abuse, alternating with small expressions of love and approval produce an addictive cycle for abuser and abused, as well as creating hopelessness in the victim. Believe they are all-powerful, all-knowing, entitled to every wish, no sense of personal boundaries, no concern for their impact on others. [Sounds like Arlen Slobodow to me.]
Early Behavior Problems/Juvenile Delinquency [I honestly don’t know about this one. I’m entertaining suspicions, but that is all.]Usually has a history of behavioral and academic difficulties, yet "gets by" by conning others. Problems in making and keeping friends; aberrant behaviors such as cruelty to people or animals, stealing, etc.
Irresponsibility/Unreliability [Unpaid debts to Margery Landry.]Not concerned about wrecking others' lives and dreams. [Does this apply to his use of his sons sexually?]
Oblivious or indifferent to the devastation they cause. Do not accept blame themselves, but blame others, even for acts they [the sociopath] obviously committed. [How about that thing of Slobodow taking things that happened to him—like the slapping incident—and turning it into something Elsa and Landry had done.]
Promiscuous Sexual Behavior/Infidelity [Oh, wow! No further comment. Oh…changed my mind. What about Anders?—apparently Slobodow’s “boy friend” for a time, at the same time that Slobodow was abusing his sons?]
Promiscuous Sexual Behavior/Infidelity Promiscuity, child sexual abuse, rape and sexual acting out of all sorts
Lack of Realistic Life Plan/Parasitic Lifestyle [Ta-dum!]Tends to move around a lot or makes all encompassing promises for the future, poor work ethic but exploits others effectively. [Moves his children from school to school frequently. Changes the name of his business frequently. Reinvents his persona; for example, he is planning to marry on October 25 of this year. Now he can present himself to the public as the good husband and father once again.]
Criminal or Entrepreneurial Versatility [Still on track. Arlen Slobodow owns his own business and as I mentioned above, keeps changing the name of it.]
And here are an assortment of related issues:
Changes their image as needed to avoid prosecution.
Changes life story readily.
Contemptuous of those who seek to understand them
Do not perceive that anything is wrong with them
Only rarely in difficulty with the law, but seek out situations where their tyrannical behavior will be tolerated, condoned, or admired
Conventional appearance
Goal of enslavement of their victim(s)
Exercise despotic control over every aspect of the victim's life
Has an emotional need to justify their crimes and therefore needs their victim's affirmation (respect, gratitude and love)
Ultimate goal is the creation of a willing victim
Incapable of real human attachment to another
Unable to feel remorse or guilt
Extreme narcissism and grandiose ideas
57. I believe Elsa because I seriously question the ethics of a prosecuting attorney, Katherine Winfree, who, upon hearing that child abuse allegations had been raised in the state of Florida, where Elsa’s ex-husband had moved with Elsa’s sons, would place a phone call to Florida authorities…would lie to them, saying that similar allegations had been made in Maryland and discovered to be without foundation [this is untrue; I can provide a variety of witnesses who could or should or would testify that they believe the boys were and are sexually molested by their father—plus a few who have records of that abuse, but refuse to open said records to protect the children]…and would assure Florida authorities that there was thus no need for them to continue their investigation.
58. I believe Elsa because of the appeal written by Norman C. Usiak, Esquire, then attorney for Elsa’s mother, who wrote, “Appellant, Rose Newman, is the elderly mother of a woman named Elsa Newman. That would be one and the same Elsa Newman whose personal dismantling at the hands of the Circuit Court of Montgomery County is already quite familiar to this court.” I take that to mean that Usiak, also, pretty well believed Elsa.
59. I believe Elsa because I have in hand documents that show how at least one of the investigations of child abuse was conducted in Florida—superficially, quickly, with little apparent concern for truth and in the presence of the father they had accused of molesting them. Duh! How dumb is that?
60. I believe Elsa because the prosecutors of her criminal case apparently withheld boxes of information that would have been of help to the defense in Elsa’s criminal trial.
61. I believe Elsa because I question the ethics of Arlen Slobodow’s attorney, mentioned above. This woman’s father was once disbarred. It is difficult, in a case like this, where I see said attorney supporting a sociopath and seemingly buying into his lies, to believe that the acorn fell far from the tree.
62. I believe Elsa because the more I investigate this case the more cause I have to believe in the corruption of the American justice system in general. According to statistics, in some 54%--at least—of cases where a father is accused of some form of abuse, the father is still awarded custody. I know there must be decent and honorable people who are part of this system. I simply have yet to establish contact with them. I keep hoping.
63. I believe Elsa because CBS actually did a short piece on her and the weaknesses in the prosecution case. This 10-minute segment was prepared under the direction of Jonathan Leach, and was aired by CBS, although I do not know the date. I am, at the moment, trying to obtain a copy of this tape.
64. I believe Elsa because of the amount of time that passed between the accidental shooting and the 9-1-1 call. I believe it was something in the neighborhood of 20 minutes or more. It would seem that Arlen Slobodow took time to get all his ducks in a row before he made the call—even though he claimed in the call that medical personnel must hurry because he was bleeding so heavily. Did Arlen Slobodow use that time to plan how he would turn this event into a murder attempt and how he would create “involvement” and “conspiracy” on the part of his estranged wife?
65. Finally, I believe Elsa for another, more personal reason. I am a two-time loser to people who drive while intoxicated. When I was just a child—3rd or 4th grade—my grandmother, in the passenger seat while my grandfather drove, was put through a windshield and killed in a collision with the car of a drunk driver on the wrong side of the road. Years later, my younger sister, a college student who took off her seat belt to sit closer to her boy friend, was put through another windshield by another man who had been drinking and passed on a blind curve. You see, do you not, why I have little respect for anyone who drives under the influence of alcohol or any other drug? You see, do you not, why I tend not to trust such an individual?
About 11:55 p.m. on the 11th of December, in 2002, Katherine Winfree, then the principal deputy state’s attorney for Montgomery County, was arrested and charged with 1) driving under the influence, 2) driving while impaired, and 3) driving an unsafe vehicle (her county-issued car had a flat tire). God only knows how many times Winfree may have been in a similar state behind the wheel. I would guess that one has to indulge in drunk driving more than once in order to be caught and arrested just once. And I would like to note that on this occasion, Winfree refused a breathalyzer test—although I understand it is illegal in the state of Maryland to refuse such a test.
And that’s all I care to say about that.
In conclusion, I must admit that the longer I work on this paper, the more reasons demand my attention. I began with something like 45 or 50 separate reasons and have now reached 65 reasons--some of them long and involved and actually containing more than a single reason. I’m tired of typing, and I have other things to do today (some of those other things are also for Elsa), so I’m quitting for now, although I find more reasons every day.
Thus I believe Elsa Newman.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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