I knew bits and pieces of Richard’s past, which I thought were all behind him now, tamped down by religion. But other things came out that showed his own violent streak, appalling ideas of what is “justified” behavior in certain situations, things that violated Christian principles, violent things that made my hair stand on end.
One thing was, that if his wife ever cheated on him, it was okay for him to assault the guy. We watched The Apostle, during which Richard said that if his wife cheated on him, he’d take a baseball bat to the guy just like Sonny did. This statement chilled me to the bone, and I told him he should never do such a horrible thing.
Another time, we were chatting on the phone and he made comments to the effect of, if he found his wife in bed with another guy it would be okay to commit murder.
I was amazed that a pious Orthodox Christian who wanted to be a priest, would say such incredibly wrong things.
According to the Annies in their March 11, 2011 column, threatening to kill guys who sleep with your wife is controlling and manipulative.
Also note what the Highlander said about this issue in the sixth-season episode “Justice”: A man (Armando) killed his wife and her lover after finding them in bed together. The wife, Elena, was the adopted daughter of an Immortal, Katya, who now wants revenge because Armando was acquitted at his trial.
Duncan says to Katya, “Killing’s not the answer….The emptiness you feel won’t be filled by anger. Or revenge, or hate. Armando’s death will just leave you feeling emptier.”
In another scene, when Armando says he loved Elena, Duncan says, “So much that you killed her?”
Armando says, “You weren’t there. You didn’t see them! Castillo was my protege. He was like a brother to me. With my wife.”
Duncan says, “So they had to die because you got your feelings hurt.”
Armando: “No. There was no thought. No plan. The courts understood. It was a crime of passion.”
Duncan: “It was murder. And you beat it.”
This episode may be fiction, but the lesson it teaches is real: Crimes of passion are still crimes, still murder. And no one has that right, not even a wronged husband.
This is what Orthodoxy teaches. Anyone who claims such a right has no right to be an Orthodox mentor, whether as a spiritual father, informal mentor and friend, or priest.
There were a lot of revelations the first couple of weeks of June 2009. On June 1, I learned about the hypnotism. A little more than a week later, we had the revealing talks that both shocked me and (I thought) fixed everything.
In the middle, on June 5, I learned that, some 20 years ago, Richard’s girlfriend and best friends were in Mafia families which smuggled jewels. They made him their “goomba.”
He hung around with goombas, or thugs, who witnessed and spotted while somebody retrieved stolen items or got information “in a not-so-friendly way.”
The Russian and Italian mobsters had nicknames for him, which I won’t name here for safety reasons.
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.
He ran these jewels between L.A. and Las Vegas.
Not only that, but he openly and freely shared it, did not see it as a secret. He was surprised I didn’t already know about it.
He didn’t seem at all repentant about helping the Mafia.
Dangerous people, the kind who would kill a toddler! Especially being involved with them as a Christian:
In Sicily, the birthplace of Mr. Rizzuto’s Mafia, some Church leaders have called for a tough stand. This summer, Bishop Antonino Raspanti said convicted mobsters would be refused a funeral, declaring:
“Being a Christian is incompatible with having links to Mafia organizations.” —National Post
Richard justified it by saying 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. He said Clinton’s government did 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 Mafia thug, and it didn’t sound so harmless to me.
All this was in an IRC conversation, most of which I printed (the first part, unfortunately, vanished before I could print it). I like to remember what I can about my best friends, save Internet chats and e-mails, as a personal diary. I used to print up ICQ chats with friends.
However, I did not see this as cool, like I did the hypnotism: It was startling, shocking, baffling. How could he not see this was wrong? Still, it was part of my BFF’s history, and worth remembering.
Now, I see it as proof that I did not imagine this conversation. In 2012 I thought maybe Richard was pulling my leg–but then Todd spoke of Richard’s past as a “mobster” and “mook,” gave me more details.
The next day, Richard called and said they were being evicted, that he was furious with the apartment manager.
He made it into a personal offense, and had some ideas about why. But it was probably because they trashed the place, left cigarette butts all over the yard in front of their apartment, were unreliable with the rent, and kept having domestic disputes.
(He told me a couple of months before that they had been “at each other’s throats” for more than a month; somebody could very well have reported this to the manager or the police.)
He said he was going to kill the apartment manager while she was in her office, do it so she’d never see who it was, “And I’ll make it look like I was never there.” Because of his past as a Mafia thug, he knew how to do this.
This pious, righteous guy who wanted to be a priest, whom I saw as my spiritual mentor, was telling me all this???!!!
I cried, “It’s my duty as your friend to talk you out of this!” I tried and tried, and begged, “Talk to your priest before you do this!”
He chuckled and said, “I’ll talk to my priest after I do this.” Then the kids did something, or his wife wanted something, so he had to hang up.
While I was still reeling from this and thinking what the–
He called back again. “My wife won’t let me do it,” he said. She told him to use his words to persuade, which he’s so good at doing.
I breathed a sigh of relief. If he had gone through with this horrible deed, I’d have to call the police. It was my duty to warn the police before he did it, or legally I’d be an accomplice, and that woman’s blood would be on my hands.
I thought these things were in his long-ago past, that he was sorry for his past violence, that he was now sweet and gentle and wanted to be a priest. But this…?
It was quite baffling the things both Richard and Tracy either said to me or did in front of me, apparently confident that I wouldn’t call the police or CPS:
Richard told me things like this, and violent things his wife did.
Tracy whacked her little toddler on the back of the head right in front of me, began spanking and screaming furiously at two children who did nothing wrong, right in front of me! Didn’t she realize I could’ve called the police on her for this?
Didn’t either of them realize that when Richard told me he put his children in the closet once, that when Tracy abused her children right in front of me, if I couldn’t convince them these things were wrong, I was honor-bound to report them to Social Services?
If they did these things in front of me, what did they do when I wasn’t around? Since I lived behind closed doors with them for a month and a half and Tracy controlled herself well enough not to punch Richard, but he told me she whacked and punched him about a year later, this showed she could control herself around me.
Richard became so closed-off about his life, that it’s entirely possible–or probable–that things were much worse at home than he ever told me. I’d see them once a week or so, getting cutesy with each other, being mostly controlled–though not controlled enough, because Jeff and I both noticed things that looked very wrong.
But I knew very well what I had seen and what Richard told me. I kept hearing over time that things were hidden from me. It makes you wonder what else was hidden.
Not only were they hiding things from me, but my own family had done this as well, hiding a huge chunk of my parents’ life from me while my brothers knew all about it. When the truth finally came out, it was devastating, shattering the image I had always had of my father, of the values taught in my family.
Now here it was being done again, with Richard and Tracy hiding things from me. How could anyone not turn paranoid in this situation?
(The incident involving my father was also a bonding experience for Richard and me, as far as I was concerned. Even though I e-mailed my college friends about everything ever since I left college, instead of talking to them, I called up Richard and told him everything that was going on, all the secret things that I didn’t feel I could tell others.
(He and my priest were my two confidantes outside the family. This was during Lent 2007, before I even met Richard in person. That’s how close we got before we even met.)