Richard the child choker

Richard the Mafia thug, potential lady-killer, child beater and child choker

This perfect friend, the saintly image I had of this person–

which was molded over the first two and a half years of our online/phone friendship–

diverges so much from the way he acted in real life, and the things which came out about him, and the way he treated me, over the two and a half years after that, that I wonder how much of this image was real.

The image I had in 2007, was not the kind of person to plan to assault a landlady, or choke a child and then act contemptuous of the cops who charged him with it.

Both things happened:

He called me up one day and said he was going to attack the woman who was evicting his family!  He would not let her see who was attacking her.  He would “make it look like I was never there.”

He claimed he used to be a Mafia thug, so he knew how to do this. 

It sounded like he was going to kill her!  And no, it was not a joke; he was serious!

He hung up, then called back a few minutes later to say his wife talked him out of it.

And a few months after our friendship breakup, he choked his eldest daughter until she passed out, and then she told police. 

He was convicted via plea bargain, declared guilty, put on probation for a year.  And this is on the public record, was published by the newspaper.

The saintly image was not the kind of person who betrays friends, bullies them, or threatens them with violence.  (He also betrayed Todd and wanted to beat him up.)

The saintly image was not the kind of person who puts politics higher than friendship.

The saintly image was not the kind of person to hang around with creeps online–

–and then tell me to “get over it,” and scold me for still being upset about them sexually harassing me.

The saintly image was not the kind of person to do various other things that caused me hurt and dismay.

Yet that’s what he turned out to be.

My image was of a righteous person trying to turn away from violence and sin, trying to stifle all the dangerous and destructive passions on his way to theosis.  Was any of this image for real?

The friend I knew in 2007 would never have choked his own child.  Yet there it is, plain as day, something he truly did and can be verified, can be proven with mug shots, details, newspaper reports.

For the past three months since I discovered what he did, my mind has been like the robots on the Harry Mudd episode of Star Trek, going in an endless loop between the truth and what I thought was the truth, until it finally blows up.

I knew by then that Richard still had a violent temper, though for most of the time I knew him, I thought this temper had been pushed down and dominated by Christian piety.

He had told me when he moved in with us that he had a violent past.  This scared me, and made me wonder if I should have let him move in, but I promptly forgot much of what he said.

I do recall something about his time as a border guard, and that when he was a kid he beat up another kid so bad that he still had the scar on his knuckle.

But he gave me the impression that much of this happened during a period of agnosticism long before he converted to Orthodoxy.  That he was using the tools of Orthodoxy to control his temper.  To me he appeared to have a very even temper.

One day I heard him screaming at his wife on the phone and found it very disturbing, but that was the only time I witnessed his own temper, except for the occasional rant against some annoying kid on the web forums.

He seemed to take in stride things that would anger Jeff, so I thought he was gentle now.

Orthodoxy has all sorts of writings and tools, such as fasting and prayer, which people can use to fight the passions.  He would talk or write to me about the books he was reading and how the Church was helping him fight his own passions.  I thought he was too hard on himself.

I thought his wife was the one with the uncontrolled temper, since he told me about it and I witnessed it myself, but rarely witnessed his own.

But then he told me in 2009 that he wanted to kill the apartment manager.

He told me he used to run around with Mafia friends as a goomba (or, as he defined it, “thug”). 

He helped out with their jewel smuggling.

He roughed people up (and was not sorry for it).

He told me in May 2010 that he’d been arrested more than 100 times for reasons I do not know.

Then he threatened Jeff in June 2010 and said he is easily triggered to physical violence.

Todd confirms this, that Richard told him he helped run smuggled Russian jewels from LA to Las Vegas.

I still have the printout of a chat in which Richard described the goomba activities to me.

He didn’t go into too much detail about what he did, but he was so well-known to the local Mafia in his home state (Italian and Russian) that they had nicknames for him.

The top of the chat got cut off before I printed it, unfortunately.  But in that part he must have described being involved somehow in the smuggling itself, because in the printed part, he talked about how much he knows about gems.

More from that chat:

Richard’s girlfriend and some best friends were in Mafia families which smuggled jewels.

They made him their “goomba.”

He hung around with other goombas who witnessed and spotted while somebody retrieved stolen items or got information.  He hinted that the information was gotten violently.

Since it involved jewels, not drugs, he felt he did nothing criminal–or which should be criminal, according to the Constitution and free market principles.

He never “killed” anyone while doing this goomba stuff.

Why did he put “killed” in quotes?  And what exactly did he do?  Not only that, but he saw it as something he openly and freely shared, not a secret.  He was surprised I didn’t already know about it.

He didn’t seem at all repentant about it.  He said his mother knew about it and didn’t seem to care, he did this while at Bible college (!), and he did worse things when he worked for the government (border guard).  He said that Clinton’s government did some terrible things that nobody knows about (which I won’t divulge here without proof other than his word for it).

But there were these hints at illegal activities when he was a thug, and it didn’t sound so harmless to me.  He hung around with Mafia people, Mafia people had nicknames for him, he helped them smuggle and rough people up, and he saw it as nothing more than a youthful lark?

He was also a dog with women back then, he says (which I’m not so sure has changed), but he saw that as worse than what he did with the Mafia?

But that is not the extent of his violence:

One day in winter or spring 2010, he even yelled in my face for taking out a wipe to clean something sticky (honey?) off his dinner table before setting down my D&D books!

In late 2007 or early 2008, he told me he put the kids in the closet once!  He said his father abused him as a kid but he “deserved” it because he was a little rat, and it made him a better person.  I still remember that conversation very clearly, and have written it down in detail as well.

You’ll often find such claims from the abused, that they “deserved” it, when their spirits are broken and the Stockholm Syndrome kicks in.  Then the abuse gets carried on to the next generation because the abused thinks this is the proper way to act.

He also hinted at some form of abuse he had done to the kids; Todd later told me that when the eldest child (whom he choked) was very small, Richard got so angry once that he beat her mercilessly.

I also have an e-mail from Richard in which he says Tracy kept throwing his own abusive episodes back in his face when he tried to get her to stop abusing the kids.

Just a week or two before the breakup of our friendship, he posted on Facebook asking for suggestions of how to get the girls to clean

without beating them into bloody submission which only gets them flinching when I raise a hand and gets them working far less than they already were.

At the time, I thought he was just joking with hyperbole.  Though when I mentioned it to Jeff, he said it was about time Richard learned that lesson.  Now I’m not so sure it was hyperbole.

And why, according to the newspaper, did Richard choke his daughter just a few months later?  Because she wasn’t listening or cleaning up.

Richard told me in October/November 2007 that he had to be around to keep his wife from abusing the kids, physically and verbally. 

But now it seems that he, too, needs someone to keep an eye on him.

I thought he was a gentle giant, reformed by the Church.  But then he said these things, and then I discovered the criminal case, that he choked his daughter on September 21, 2010, nearly three months after we ended the friendship with him and Tracy.

He was my idol with feet of clay.  And I’m left with this gaping hole in my life and heart where my idol, my perfect friend, once stood, with no clue how to fill it up again.

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