In their demise, they dragged with them loved ones, friends, colleagues, band members, and more. They victimized legions of fans and colleagues who were left forever wondering why they had not spotted the abusive behavior. If they had known, they would have intervened. I do not doubt some would have stepped in but spotting abuse is not always easy. And too many were beholden to the one hurting others.
To be frank, this book may need a trigger warning. Child abuse will always remain a difficult topic. Szereto’s own contribution is hard to read due to the subject manner. So, be warned.
In this book, Mitzi Szereto has again managed to assemble a superb selection of short story writers who tell us about crimes that will forever baffle us. The authors picked criminals we wish were unjustly targeted and factually innocent. But as each story unfolds, even those who have everything going for them, bent the rules.
There are people to whom we are attracted as they play our favorite sports, or their voices mesmerize us and brings us to tears. Because they move us, we can forgive small slides such as being rude or breaking commitments because they are terribly busy people. We sometimes even look away when a hug lasts longer than average, when a hand goes to a hip, or to the small of a women’s back.
On the other hand, we also tend to ask too much. An artist who does not drop a new album every year, an author who is taking more time than usual to draft another book, an athlete who withdraws from competition due to injuries or for their mental health, they are often met with negative media publications.
In this book, you will find twelve stories of famous people. Most were brought to court after years of hurting people. As usual, I will give you my favorite stories. They are the first two in this book. The stories are very well written and gripping.
Author Anthony Ferguson wrote a chilling account about Rolf Harris who is the Australian version of Weinstein and Epstein. A naturally talented entertainer, artist, and show host, Harris was first arrested in March 2013 in Operation Yewtree that investigated sexual offenses that occurred in the past. He was released, and no charges were filed. But in August 2013, he was arrested again.
This time he faced nine counts of indecent assault dating back to the 1980s and four counts of making indecent images (thirty-three) dating back to 2012. He pleaded not guilty. But 2013 had more in stock for Harris. In addition to the above, he was faced with three further charges of sexual assault dating back to 1984, 1975, and 1969. Harris plead not guilty. The jury found Harris guilty on most charges.
Sentencing took place on July 4, 2014. Harris, then eighty-four, was sentenced to 5 years and nine months. While incarcerated, more people came forward and a second trial started in January 2017. However, it did not materialize. Harris served just three years and was released on May 19, 2017.
Author Joe Turner wrote a harrowing piece about on Chris Benoit, a professional wrestler. He was a perfectionist who punished himself if he had not performed as he expected himself to do. Falling for a rival’s wife/manager set Benoit’s decline into motion. Taking drugs and surviving longtime friends played tricks on Benoit’s mind that became plagued by depression and paranoia. On June 22, 2007, Chris killed both his wife and young son in horrifying manners and placed a bible next to their bodies. The description is awful. When police arrived, they found that Chis had committed suicide.
He left no note and his motives seemed unclear. However, Chris’ brain helped explain part of the situation. Specialists found evidence of long-term effects of sports injuries to his head. He had severe brain damage.
The other excellent authors in this book are: Janel Comeau on Steve Rubell, the founder of Studio 54, Jill Hand on Blake Leibel & Iana Kasian, Charlotte Platt on Richard John Bingham, Alisha Holland on Roscoe Conkling Arbuckle, Mark Fryers on Jimmy Savile, Anya Wassenberg on Garth Drabinsky, Khadija Tauseef on Countess Erzsebet Bathory, Cathy Pickens on Rae Carruth, Mitzi Szereto on the Lostprophets’ Ian Watkins, Grant Butler on Robert Blake, and Morgan Barbour on Alfredo Codona.
Another highly recommended book in a series you cannot overlook if you are interested in criminology. Just pace yourself reading this one.
Note: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. My other book reviews are here.