Tag Archives: Ben Stein

Open Letter To Press And Law Enforcement Regarding Ben Stein The Pedophile


 

 

All the crazy Pizzagate people are confused because my story is real with witnesses & it’s a Republican pedophile.

Again.

 

This letter is addressed to me from Erika Hutchcraft, District Attorney regarding William Birch Davis, Steven Brett Davis’s brother who is still on the loose

McGovernFamilyArticleBenStein

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jim Clemente Angel List

I think he was going to make me an offer. He strung me along for 2 years and kept me quiet.

 

Rainbow Jim C Text Dec 2016

 

 

 

*Update* July 2017

I found out Jim Clemente has a multi- podcast deal with Wondery Media which is owned by Fox News Corp (Ben Stein’s longtime Network).

I think this is why he gave me misleading information and waited two years (after I told him about the attacks) to tell me that I needed to report Ben Stein to the police, and that was only after I told him that I told his colleague Allison Hope Weiner the Ben Stein story.

 

 

 

I am okay with not being okay with any part of this situation.

 

If anyone thinks I’m crazy, it’s ok.

 

Trying to tell this story is not easy. 

 

Telling this story is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. 

 

 

 

 

 

Me&Mom1984

Here is my public statement regarding my experiences with Ben
 Stein when I was 12 and 13 years old as a child actor and recently trying to
 report him and another sexual assault to law enforcement starting in 2009

 

 

Everyone told me coming forward about Ben Stein

would ruin my acting career and life.

 

 

 

 

*Update* May 19th, 2017 12:47 PM

2 more people have come forward with similar stories of Ben Stein stalking underage girls, total of 4  (Four total) people with disturbing stories of his predatory behavior.

 

March 25th, 2017 6PM PST

*Update* Two people have come forward to me since I went public.

Any information will be kept confidential and/or I urge all people to go to the police first with whatever information they have about Ben Stein.

Either way I stand with you. I will tell you what my experience has been like dealing with the cops and Feds and press.

I honestly don’t know what the laws are regarding all of this stuff.

If you don’t want to come forward and have had a horrific experience like mine and you see a piece of shit like him on TV and you know who they really are, know you are not alone and all survivors of child sexual assault are with you.

RAINN has resources and also try your local colleges for backup therapy on a sliding scale.

But if it’s 3AM and If it brings up bad memories, I suggest cranking music and singing or writing or try refinishing the kitchen cabinets, do it as loud as you can, it helps.
Thank you,

Morgain

 

 

 

I had a traumatic experience when I was 12 and 13 
years old from 1986-1987 in California and Connecticut with a
 celebrity pedophile who used his status to groom, stalk and exploit me and later on asked me to sleep with him when I was in the 7th grade. He knew how old I was.

He is an economist/political speechwriter/pundit/
journalist named Ben Stein who is currently a correspondent
 with CBS Sunday Morning News.

A police report was filed in June of 2016 at the Van Nuys Police station regarding the child sex crimes committed by Ben Stein in California  (with Officer Brandstetter and I spoke briefly on the phone with a Det Housefelder) and info is above and on file with the LAPD.

I would like law enforcement or a children’s advocacy group/
union/SAG to start an investigation of Ben Stein and his
 ongoing predatory, pedophiliac behavior.

 I want to make sure that I clarify this in my statement and make 
as clear as possible the urgency of this situation after what I 
discovered recently with photos posted of children overseas
 linked to his Facebook account. I found photos of infants and children. The girls were about 6-10 years old and had a lot of makeup on.

 The recently tagged children’s photos of children and 
infants in other countries that link to Ben Stein’s personal Facebook page and
 several articles about a pregnant woman he harassed on
 social media and the internet recently are disturbing and
 have all documented and can upload to you.

 

 

 

 

This story and situation affects a lot of industries and 
institutions. In my part of this story, we moved a lot and it’s over 
a long period of time. I tried to edit this as clearly as I can and
 cut down as much as possible.

This all started coming out when I started writing and  got a
 literary agent (Jill Marr, at Sandra Dijkstra in Del Mar) in 2010 and finally reported Ben Stein in
 2014 to Jim Clemente and told him about my experiences with Ben Stein.

I have written about my experiences online on my blog 
with Ben Stein at first not naming him due to fear, and 
reported him to a retired FBI Agent Jim Clemente in
 November of 2014 when the Bill Cosby story came out.

I met/worked Jim Clemente  sometime in 2007 when I was a stand in for the character 
Garcia on Criminal Minds for four years; from 2007-2011. He and Kirsten Vangsness both were supportive and 
gave me a quote for my book and blog after I got a literary
 agent.

I started writing about Ben Stein privately in 2009, but emailed
 a retired FBI agent and former co-worker named Jim Clemente 
in Nov 2014 about my experiences being groomed and stalked 
by Ben Stein when the Bill Cosby story came out.

I came forward to Jim Clemente in 2014 when the Bill
 Cosby story came out because he was an expert in child sex
 crimes and dealing with pedophiles.

Jim Clemente told me he would report Ben Stein to the FBI in 2014. I do not remember him telling me to file a police report in 2014, he may have but I don’t think he did, he told me he would notify the FBI during that phone call.

A year and a half later, he told me to file a police report in 2016 after I commented on Allison Hope Wiener’s show “Crime Time” did a report on Elijah Wood, child actors & pedophiles. She replied and was adamant that I go to the police ASAP and file a report. I did not want to file one and he spoke to me on the phone and told me I needed to go in in June 2016.

I feel like Jim Clemente completely failed me after my experiences coming to him as an adult survivor of child sex abuse after what happened from 2014-2017.

He told me my child rape story was boring in June of 2016 when I called him to read him my statement.  I called him to read this to him because I thought he was a friend and advocate; and he interrupted me and told me to leave parts out.  I was trying to read him my sex abuse statement to him out loud for the first time ever, to anyone, before I went to the police in 2016 to file a police report.

Jim Clemente is not a bad person, he just has a different personality and one you need to do the kind of job he does, but I was shocked and really upset with the way he handled the phone conversation.

They should have a survivor’s advocate take the statement from people who come forward and not people who aren’t good with victims/survivors because someone else would’ve hung up and not gone back and never trusted a cop or Fed again.

The LAPD guy (Brandstetter)  at the station was the same gruff way and attitude, but he also tried to be kind in his own way.

Jim C. recently told me that he is busy with other projects and has health issues and cannot help me with this case.

After I found out about the Paterno report he did, I got really angry & we had a falling out. I feel that Paterno knew and covered for Sandusky and I did not know that he endorsed Paterno and his behavior with his report when I came to him. I never would have come to Jim Clemente if I had known about the report he did for Sandusky/Paterno case but I thought he was a victims advocate and my faith in him has been completely shattered.

Jim Clemente and Ben Stein both work for CBS and other major studios so I also think there’s a conflict of interest & creates problems and I believe the studios already know about Ben Stein and his predatory behavior.

I wish him the best with his life and health and am thankful for the time he spent on this but it’s not enough. Ben Stein is still on TV on CBS and FOX news.

I am reaching out so law enforcement or the press can investigate what I found online linked to Ben Stein’s Facebook pages and make sure he is exposed for what is his.

I want to protect other child actors and children in the
 entertainment  industry and expose his predatory behavior.

I want to change the way children audition in the entertainment industry,
 and also with the people who immediately surround them in the
 casting process and at all times on set.
I believe he is still targeting children and/or child actors and he still has predatory behavior due to my recent discoveries online.

Another person came forward to me (via Twitter when I 
went public with his name in January 2017) with their 
experiences with him as well and her account of Ben Stein’s
 stalking of she and her friends.

I believe that he’s a pedophile and/or predator and should be 
evaluated by a professional and/or law enforcement and he and 
his wife should never work with children. Ever.
I believe his predatory behavior and status conferral of the
 media have given him an exploitative advantage over children,
 because of my personal experiences with him

A thorough investigation should be done with the photos I 
discovered online linked to him, his background and his
 employers and colleagues and especially any children or
 children’s shows who have worked with him in the
 entertainment industry.

 

When I was 12 & 13 years old and in the 6th & 7th grades, Ben Stein groomed me, took photos of me at his home and paid 
me $50 with a personal check for them, brought me in for auditions at Universal 
Studios in a quid pro quo situation with the photos, stalked me
 over state lines, sent my mother cash to fly me out alone to
 California, offered me gifts and shopping, and then asked me to 
have sex with him and spend the night overnight at his hotel with him when he was visiting a nearby city (Manhattan) when I
 was 13 years old in the 7th grade.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Details and timeline

Sherman Oaks, CA
House on Morrison Street by the
 Galleria 1986
This all took place from about

May-December 1986

We were on the road by Dec 15th from California to  Connecticut, because
 on my thirteenth birthday and we stopped in Albuquerque, NM  on 
12/15/86 and my sister bought me a ring from the Indians.

 

May-June 1986
Sherman Oaks

Los Angeles Herald Tribune Article

Ben Stein wrote two separate articles that were published in the Los Angeles Herald 
Tribune about my mother and our family in 1986  (Articles I can
 email you or at LA Downtown Library on microfilm which is where some of these articles were found) and I have
 documentation and photos I can email you.

There were other adults, my mother’s friend from Balcom Street, Jodie Avery, who was there when he came over.

I think Ben Stein came over once or maybe twice to our house on Morrison Street.
After I met him when he came to our house to interview my
 mother and our family and some of the random people living at 
our house, he offered to help me become a working actor and 
told me he could get me a job on a TV show like Charles in
 Charge.

When I was 12,  Ben Stein brought 
me in to Universal to Al Burton’s office at the bottom of
 Universal Studios.

I thought getting a job as an actor on a TV when I was 12 would help my family out of poverty.

A lot of checks started coming in from people who read the
 articles and thought my mom was a saint for taking care of all 
these unwanted kids.

Checks started coming to our house because he wrote an article about how great my mother was and took care of vulnerable children when in reality she was a con artist and exploited teenage kids to do her scams for her.

My mother knew he was a pedophile and used me as bait to extort money from him.
I was born in Los Angeles, California to a performing family.
 My father was a Broadway actor which is how I became a child 
actor.

Most of my parent’s friends and all people I knew as a
 child and my friends and siblings all went to auditions and were 
performers and/or worked in the entertainment business or arts 
so I have been going to child acting auditions since infancy and
 performing is part of my human fabric.
My mother has borderline personality disorder and was
 frequently arrested. My father was on theatre tours mostly and/
or working or not home and we moved frequently and
 she was in and out of jails (and later prisons).

I have participated in arts and the performing arts since I was an 
infant and later on was represented by a SAG child agent and
 performed in an early Disney kid’s game show in 1983.
My love for acting is how Ben Stein exploited me, in the 
beginning.

There was an enormous amount of dysfunction at my home at 
the time and my mother was frequently arrested and mentally ill
 and also had untreated pill addictions. We moved about every three
 months to a new house or state.

Sometimes we would live in motels or hotels and on stolen credit cards or stolen rental cars.
He only brought me in to audition at Universal Studios after I
 had let him take photos of me at his home in the hills and his 
wife (Alexandra Denman) was home that day and I met her.
  She did not look me in the eye. She was in the kitchen.

My sister Nora and mother came to the “photo shoot” too.

Taking Photos at his house in the hills of Sherman Oaks, CA 
June-July 1986

I think it was June of 1986 when this happened.
He took a special interest in me at the original interview of our
 family at our house on Morrison street with my sisters and my 
mother for the article in the LA Herald Tribune and I told him I
 wanted to be an actress and he said he had a nephew who lived 
back east who was my age and he would think I was pretty.

I
 was my mother’s “golden child” and pet.

He called our house a few weeks or days after the interview and
 told me that he wanted to show his nephew how pretty
 California girls were and wanted to take photos of me by his
 pool at his house.

It might have been after the article came out and the checks were
 coming in and we had groceries and everyone was happy 
because they thought I was going to get on a TV show and save
 the family from poverty.

He requested that I wear a bikini to take the photos but my
 mother said I must wear shorts and and t shirt and he agreed.

My younger sister Nora came too and he did not take photos of
 her because he didn’t think she was “cute” enough.

Ben Stein’s wife, Alexandra Denman, is on the board of the
 California Children’s Law Center and works with vulnerable 
children and she was home the day he took photos of me by the 
pool and paid me $50 with a personal check when I was 12.

After we left, my mother said I should be grateful because my
 sister worked at Solley’s deli and she had to work really hard for
 $50.

I believe A. Denman is complicit with his exploitation of
 children. His wife should not be working with children because
 she was home the day he took photos of me and it was not
 normal behavior of the auditioning process.
Nor is it professional for any producers or directors when 
working with children to ask of kids in bikini’s at their home and 
not in an office.

 

Universal Studios

Auditons

Al Burton’s Office

 

After I let him take photos of me, he then brought me in for 
auditions at Universal Studios to Al Burton’s office and I also 
met his assistant, Steve Stark, and read with him a few times and 
kept in touch with him as an actor over the years.

I think I came in for 2-3 auditions at Universal in Al Burton’s
 office on the first floor at the base of Universal Studios.

They had an outside office patio where Steve Stark took photos of me at the office for casting in one of their T Shirts for a show called “Together We Stand”.

Mr. Stark was really kind and professional and supportive of my 
book later and tried to help me find a platform but to no avail 
and he said they passed on my story in 2005, this was before I
 started writing my book and I have the email correspondence.

We moved about a month after these auditions because my mother got arrested again and she decided it was time to move across the country to Connecticut.

 

 

 

Sherman Oaks, CA to Westport, CT
 House on Greens Farms Road (243)
by ocean inlet (details in original June 2016 statement given to LAPD)

1986-1987
After we moved to Westport, Connecticut in December 1986
 and into 1987 (about two or three months after the Universal
 auditions)  I was a student in the 7th grade at Long Lots middle
 and elementary school in Westport. CT.
He (Ben Stein) contacted my mother via telephone and she spoke to him mostly. I only spoke to him a few times on the phone and the last time in CT is when he asked me to sleep with him.

The last time I spoke to him in Westport, CT sometime in early
 1987 when it was dark early outside and crowded house was on
 the radio station every 5 minutes, is when he called and asked to
 speak with me and told me he was coming back East to NYC 
and asked me to meet him in the city and “sleep” with him when
 I was 13 years old.

I was in the 7th grade at Long Lots Middle
 School.

I believe he used the words “sleep in the same bed and
sleep at my hotel in the city” or something to those words but
basically I was offered a shopping trip and to sleep with him
overnight in his hotel room in the city with him, by myself and
 nobody else.
He asked me on the phone,  when I was in the 7th grade, in Westport CT, with witnesses in the room, to meet 
with him in Manhattan and offered to take me shopping and buy
 me gifts and asked me if I would like to sleep with him 
overnight in his hotel in Manhattan after we went shopping.

His intent was clear and he was treating me like I was his girlfriend. I was in the 7th grade and he was in his forties.

 

I was really nervous and told him I’d have to ask my mom.

 

 

1987-1988 We moved from Westport to Fairfield 
Connecticut
 Hoydens Hill Lane or Road by the Black Rock Dam and
Golf Course
 Red Farm House


**REPORTED BEN STEIN TO SCHOOL IN 1988
 TOMLINSON MIDDLE SCHOOL, FAIRFIELD CT**


 

I believe I snapped sometime in Spring 1988 when I was 13-14
in the 8th grade at Tomlinson Middle school when my little 
sister was upset in the 7th grade and I didn’t want to leave our 
farmhouse in CT and my mother couldn’t find a job and I knew
she was going to start conning people again. Weird people
 started living in our yard again.

 


I reported Ben Stein’s stalking behavior to my school in
 Connecticut a year later in 1988 at Tomlinson Middle School in
 Fairfield, CT, because there was so much pain and trauma at 
home and my mother was so dangerous, I went to the guidance
 counselors at the school to tell them everything I knew about my
 mother’s illegal activities, arrests, police, child sexual abuse,
 Ben Stein and the trauma at home.


After I burst into the counselors office and told them everything,
the guidance counselors from Tomlinson middle school took us
  (myself, age 13-14 and my little sister Nora 12-13) Got my little 
sister out of class around 1-3pm and drove us from Fairfield to a
 separate admin school building in Bridgeport, CT and were 
upset at what I had told them and what my little sister Nora had 
confirmed.

I think I told them everything and the counselors and 
psychiatrist tape recorded my Ben Stein story, the grooming,
 photos taken that started in Los Angeles and then we moved to
 Connecticut and he continued to pursue me and sent money to
 my mother and asked me on the phone to meet him in the city
 and spend the night with him in Manhattan after he took me 
shopping.

I believe I originally reported Ben Stein’s harassment in the 8th
 grade but due to the chaos at my home and now believe I had
 some sort of trauma and shock and denial going on at the time,
 we moved a few weeks later up to the woods in the Adirondacks 
and not sure what exactly I told them, but I think I told them everything including Ben Stein.

I remember my mom coming to pick us up at the counselors
 office in Bridgeport and she was supposed to go back but we
 moved right after that. I remember her yelling at me on the ride 
home that it was my fault we had to move again but we were 
already getting evicted from the farmhouse.
He contacted my mother via telephone at the Fairfield house and she spoke to him only at that house.

I only spoke to him a few times on the phone and the last time in CT is when he asked me to sleep with him.

 

I confronted Ben Stein later in California when I was 19  via telephone and he pretended like he didn’t remember me or my family after I met with Al Burton again sometime between 1993-1995 for another actor/producer meeting at his office on Miracle Mile when I was about 19-20 years old and lived in Valencia and was a waitress.
At the meeting on Miracle Mile office, Al Burton gave me Ben Stein’s phone number and told me to call him, I hung up the phone after confronting Ben Stein and that was the last time I spoke to him.

 

Everyone told me to let it go because he was really powerful in Hollywood and later on had his own game show on Comedy Central with Jimmy Kimmel.

 

 

 

May-June 2016-

**June 2016**

June, 2016. At the urging of Allison Hope Weiner and after the phone call with Jim Clemente, I went to the Van Nuys Police station and reported to LAPD and filed a police report about Ben Stein’s child aggravation and exploitation in 1986 and 1987 to Detective
 Brandstetter and Housefelder at the Van Nuys LAPD.

When the Elijah Wood comments last year came out in the 
media I contacted Jim Clemente again after a social media post,
 and asked him if I should go to the police and file a report 
because Alison Hope Weiner (a journalist and lawyer) saw my 
comment on social media about being mentally and spiritual
ly violated by a celebrity pedophile when I was a child actor, she
 and said I needed to go to the police and file a report 
immediately.
So I called Jim and asked him if I needed to and he encouraged 
me to go to the police and tell them what happened. He said if there ever was a trial on another child assault case regarding Ben Stein, I would have to testify about my experience.

I read him my statement and then went in and met with Det. Brandstetter and think I spoke to a Det Housefelder, and they gave me a copy of the police report.

I don’t know why  he didn’t tell me to go originally in 2014 when I told him about Ben Stein, I don’t think he is a bad person, Jim Clemente, I think he was busy and I have a really chaotic back story and he also gave me a quote for my book.

I don’t remember him telling me to go file a report when I told him in 2014, only that he would tell the FBI about Ben Stein.
At first I was hesitant and fearful to go to the LAPD and file an 
actual report because of the stress, risk to my new business/pet
 hotel, acting, my book, my friends and family, my reputation,
 stress, stress for my family’s reputation and also my personal 
safety dealing with a man of his status and predatory nature
 because he’s someone that stalked a 12 year old girl from a
 vulnerable, dysfunctional family.
I had finally found happiness in my life and pet sitting business
 and but because of what happened to me I knew I had to come 
forward about this horrible man and his behavior due to my
 conscience and what I discovered recently about him.

This year 2017

I have come forward publicly with his name and
 have tried to email all news outlets that he has worked for and
 also his wife is on the board of the California Children’s Law
 Center and works with vulnerable children.

I have emailed Leslie Hemioff and California Children’s Law Center where Alexandra Denman (Ben Stein’s wife) is on the board and have not heard back from them.
My sister Nora and most of my family relatives have recovered 
from growing up in a dysfunctional family, and will confirm
 what I have written and have become reputable characters and
 are productive, kind members of society.

All of us are triumphing over a lot
 of problems and are survivors of enormous trauma of
 growing up in a dysfunctional family.
I own a pet hotel and have a thriving, happy pet sitting business 
and live on an urban farm in LA and have 5 star reviews on Yelp 
for my business, Moon Dogs Urban Farm.

 

March 2017

So far LAPD have done nothing and not responded to my new information regarding the child photos I found tagged overseas, and they said there is nothing they can do for my case because of the statue of limitations.

Jim Clemente and I had a falling out because I called him a sellout for writing the Paterno report after I found out about it in March of 2017 and he told me not to contact him again.

I wish him the best in his health and life and still believe that Joe Paterno knew those kids were getting raped and did nothing to stop it.

The FBI and the state of Connecticut can do something to stop Ben Stein and also open an investigation. They have not responded to my repeated attempts asking for help and guidance.

I have called the FBI twice and updated them. I have not had anyone call me back or give me a case number or any confirmation or even the names of the women I spoke to on the phone at the FBI’s office.

They will not give my any information on anything at all nor have asked to see the photos I’ve found on Facebook linking to Ben Stein’s account which have since been removed since I went public about him.


Connecticut has a 30 year law of some sort of child
 exploitation law of some sort but not sure and it would have to be
 filed this year because it happened in 1986-1987

I believe I reported this in 1988 to my school counselor’s office in Fairfield, CT in the 8th grade but the statue of limitations runs out this year, 2017.  The Detective I spoke with,(female, I think her name was Serenity) in Westport, Connecticut told me this year, in Feb 2017, that I was not allowed to file a police report because no crime happened in CT, only in California and to focus on CA.

Please let me know the best way to proceed with this and 
making sure he doesn’t work with children and/or can harm any more kids.

 

Two people have come forward to me since I went public.
Thank you,

Morgain McGovern

morgainm@yahoo.com

818-259-9346

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The Travelling Roadshow Of The Countess Maritsa


Erin, Sue (family friend), Katie, Morgain

On The Road- Mt.Shasta 1983

 The Travelling Roadshow Of The Countess Maritsa is a memoir written by Morgain McGovern, who grew up in a gypsy-like family of four rebellious sisters headed by their mother, Maureen, a brilliant con-woman on the run.

 The book starts when I was seventeen, hiding out in a Parisian hotel room with my fugitive mother, who was wanted by the French authorities, British authorities, Interpol and the FBI.

 As I lay in bed watching old “Kojack” reruns in a pill induced haze in our hotel room, I saw my Father’s episode dubbed over in French. The story then melts into our family’s history in  “The Bionic Woman” and against the backdrop of his acting career in 1970’s Los Angeles.

 Some of my earliest memories were stories of trashed movie trailers and tales of adventure with his wild actor friends: John Quade (Clint Eastwood films), Roscoe Lee Brown, Julius Harris, Jack Nicholson, Dennis Hopper and Warren Beatty.

 But after one too many affairs on movie sets and theatre tours, Mom left her womanizing husband & took her four little girls (and a furry menagerie of our animals) on the road in a Winnebago.

 Mom had a Samsonite case full of pills and borderline personality disorder, but her gift was a sharp knack for crime.

mom and paul zindel 1959

Mom and Paul Zindel 1959?

Her story is in some of his books.

   In the “Mad Men” era of the mid-nineteen sixties, New York Herald Tribune journalist Maureen Smith met Don McGovern, a Broadway actor and stage manager (1963-66) of Lincoln Center in the East Village-who also moonlighted as a Mafia henchman.

He taught her everything he learned about crime, and while running a nightclub for a famous mob family in the meat market district, Dad got knifed in an argument with a “made” man- his boss- and the couple knew it was time to hit the road and drive to a new life in California.

At first, it was an ideal family life, having four little girls and living on our ranch in trendy Agoura. Mom’s sisters lived nearby in Los Angeles and provided some stability and guidance. We visited our father’s movie sets and went to studio parties with the glitterati, but the sepia toned memories and happiness were soon fleeting.

My father’s roles (Easy Rider, The Wicked Die Slow, The Bionic Woman, Killer Bees, the Last Detail, Sleeper, Kojack and others) gave him the acclaim he needed, but alcoholism and the lure of other women soon engulfed him.

The Wicked Die Slow 1968

Dad The Wicked Die Slow Psycho Joker

One of his favorite stories was when he and his best friend Mike Whitney (Twiggy’s ex-husband) got drunk at our house in Laurel Canyon and then decided to cement over Ali McGraw’s footprints at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, because they didn’t think she deserved the honor.

Dad, Mom, Lana Saunders, Mike Whitney

About the time Dad & Mike Whitney

cemented over Ali MacGraw‘s footprints at

Graumanns’ Chinese Theatre

                    Caravanning across America, we lived in gorgeous houses in affluent areas then when luck ran out, we crashed in run-down motels across the country & abroad. Rarely staying in one town for more than six months, Mom raised us with artistic ideals, to seek truth and beauty, kindness and compassion.

Mom’s regular form of income was fraud, of all kinds, but she really came alive when she got on the phone- wheeling and dealing, putting deals together with rich people. Some of them were spectacular. She was gifted at real estate and quit claims-because she had the knack of knowing what land was about to be valuable, get the rights to buy it somehow and sell it to whoever really wanted it at a much higher price. She did this with no actual money of her own and it was dazzling. When it was working in her favor, her mind was her greatest asset.

Mom loved big, rambling farmhouses out in the country and my sisters and I would pick wildflowers and plant gardens at whatever new house we lived in, putting down roots in the ground, as if it were some sort of magic spell to make us stay in one place. As I planted, I knew we wouldn’t be there the next spring to see hollyhocks come up-but I left my mark on the earth, I had been there.

Wherever we moved, Mom would invite strange people to live with us.

She’d find them at the DMV or pick up people spare-changing for food outside of the local grocery store. We were a family like Robin Hood, doing the right thing and helping these strange drifters that Mom had found. She told us that it was the kind thing to do, people should help each other. But as I got older, I realized they were her henchmen.

They would live in our guesthouse, attic or basement and fixed things around the property. As time went by, Mom’s choice of house guests would get scruffier and lower on the moral ladder. Drug addicts, dealers, low-lifes, crackers, swamp trash, anti-socials, squatters, whores, trailer trash, junkies, whatever she could find-the dumber, the better. The more affluent ones had their van or trailer they’d been living in towed to our newest property.

They would lights cars on fire, burn things down, return stolen items back to a pricey store (for cash or store credit), stage a robbery or whatever else she could think of to collect the insurance money.

Sometimes, they would get high, drunk or just completely misunderstand Mom’s directions and fuck things up so badly that we’d have to move sooner than anticipated. Most of her vagabond victims would only be around for a few months and the smart ones moved on to roam after they collected their share.

She’d order one of them to roll a dying car with a shot transmission off of a cliff or flood the basement of whatever house we were renting. We would gather up all of our clothes we were sick of, broken electronics (and anything else we didn’t want or feel like packing) and throw it into the dark, smelly lake that used to be our playroom. She told us that the basement had flooded overnight and while it was an unfortunate accident, we could get new stuff this way.

When my oldest sister Meagan was about ten, she got electrocuted when she flipped on the basement light before Mom could warn her. She looked down and realized she was standing in deep, electrified water on the top step but her puffy rubber-soled moon boots saved her from death.

Before we’d leave town and move on to our next new life, our basements morphed into something that looked like the end scene of the movie Titanic, with a shaved head Barbie doll floating face down in the black water, dismembered and abandoned to a watery death.

But when Mom was really upset or nervous, she would set things on fire. Torching rental houses was her signature way of letting the world know that she was angry, horrifying hysterical landlords who wanted their three-month’s of back rent.

My sisters and  I would wave goodbye from the back of the station wagon with our cats and dogs to the bad town that wasn’t right for us. We knew other people led normal lives but Mom told us the new town was going to be better. This town was bad luck.

In some classrooms we’d be popular and never want to leave, in others, we’d be pariahs and didn’t bother with doing our homework. We knew it was only a matter of time before we were on the road again.

After our eighth or ninth school, my sisters and I began to create cover stories to tell our newfound friends. Growing up in chaos created a defiant kind of camaraderie for us. The secrets of our sisterhood banded us together to kept us sane.We began to realize what our Mom was, but we didn’t have the word for it. I told friends that my mom was freelance writer with a gypsy streak. We knew that soon she’d find a real job as a writer, eventually.

Some dogs we stole.

The magic box of pills that also doubled as a seat for me in the front of the van.

Halloween 1982. Kingwood, Texas.

With warrants and detectives trailing us, the bills were paid with insurance fraud, clever scams and bad checks.We wanted to believe our mother- that the next move was permanent and we would settle down, but we all knew better.

Our father called occasionally, and told us he never wanted to be a parent, just an artist in a garret.

Morgain and Mom 1986
Cousin Judy, Morgain, Katie. Moved to Oregon, 1985

Mom’s brilliant mind would come through and save us every once in awhile.

When I was in the 3rd grade, she auditioned and became a contestant on a trivia game show called “Sale Of The Century”. She gave the other contestants a beating, and after a long week of tapings, she  won $75,000 in cash, plus a bunch of prizes and a trip up to Monterrey, California.

Her winnings on the show changed our nomadic lives. For the first time, we went to a school for two years in a row and even though we still took road trips in our custom van up to Oregon, Washington and Idaho; we had a home to go back to in Los Angeles. We had food in the refrigerator and the cops didn’t come by to arrest Mom every few months. It was peaceful.

Things got bad again once the money ran out.  We ended up living in a motel on Sepulveda Boulevard for three months until Mom could think of something. I’ve driven by that motel recently and families are still living there.

Three years later, we were living in a motel in Upstate New York when Mom found out that the game show was hosting a “Return Of The Champions” and wanted her to be a contestant on the show to defend her game show queen title-in Australia.

The show was a huge hit in Australia and the producers were willing to fly her and one other person to Melbourne and put her up in a hotel for at least a week or so. She convinced them to pay for Me and Erin to go, since we were both under fifteen. Mom had warrants out and detectives looking for her in New York-so a trip to Australia to escape certain jail time in New York was an opportunity that Mom couldn’t refuse.

Crocodile Mumdee

When we got to Melbourne, There were about thirty other “champions” from various “Sale Of The Century” shows around the world, mostly Britons, Americans and Australians. I’ve never seen people who loved to drink so much (and for free) in a hotel bar.

All the contestants were shuttled to the studio every day, and the producers would randomly pick the contestants who would be on the show for the day. Everyone would come back by five or six for cocktails and hors d’oeuvres in the lounge. Mom finally had a 9 to 5 job.

Erin and I would take the trolley all around Melbourne and explore. It was brilliant.

It was in the lounge where Mom picked off her prey. Mom liked pills more than the drink, so she would wait it out while the other contestants got drunk and mingled. In 1989, there was no Internet. It was hard to tell if a credit card was stolen and they were run by hand machines and carbon copies. The stores would only phone in a suspiciously large purchase, so it would be weeks before English banks would know anything was up.

Mom’s day to finally be a contestant on the show came-and she didn’t do well at all. She was very sick on the day of the taping and only made about $1700. It was time to go back home to the states.

We tried to look on the bright side, even though she didn’t bring in the kind of money we needed, at least we had gotten a free trip to Australia. We tried to reassure her, the cops from New York were probably looking for somebody else by now.

For a last hurrah, Mom rented a car and drove us to see the fairy penguins march up the beach at dusk, back to burrow in their sand cave homes, all nestled in and warm with their furry families in the cliffs overlooking the Tasmanian sea.

We started to drive the car north, through the Snowy River Forest and then up to ninety mile beach where massive waves  and a blue wall of water could come up slowly or quickly, and if you weren’t paying attention, you’d get soaked sitting 100 feet from the faded water lines.  We were on our way to Sydney-we were going to fly back to the States from there.

After we got back to New York, we crashed at Katie and Meagan’s apartment. My sisters and I couldn’t joke about this anymore, we all started to unravel. We needed a Mom and she was wanted by the police all over New York for various thefts and fraud.

Mom checked herself into fancy mental hospital because she said that the cops can’t arrest you if you’re a patient. The four of us were on our own until she could figure something out. She was there for a few weeks when the cops found her and it was a matter of time before they figured out a loophole in the mental patient protection law. Mom checked herself out and announced that we were moving to Hilton Head Island, in South Carolina. Tomorrow.

Rich people from Ohio, New York and Connecticut usually go to the Carolinas for a vacation and expect to find golf, warm weather and Margaritaville. They’d have someone safe watch their kids at the hotel so they could go out and party.

Mom was waiting for them like a grandma spider nanny in a beautiful  hotel. After the kids came back from swimming, tennis or golf lessons, Mom would put them to bed and help herself to whatever cash or jewelry she didn’t think the parents would miss. Most of the time, they hadn’t realized they’d been robbed until they got back to their northern homeland and sobered up.

Mom had a way of making sure she only robbed super rich people who on their last day of vacation and were leaving early for the next flight back home.

“I was a boutique thief, I never robbed anyone who’d be left with nothing”, she told me recently. “Morgain, there is no honor among thieves, I’ve never seen it. But I never stole from someone who’d be left with nothing. I stole from the rich.”

Detectives were searching the house on a regular basis and Mom got arrested for grand theft, robbery and insurance fraud. Meanwhile, New York State had several warrants out for her and was trying to extradite her back.

My sisters were done. They decided to move back to upstate New York and break free from Mom, but I couldn’t. For years, we had been raised on a roller coaster ride of torched houses, cross country road trips, international hotel rooms, run down motels, a gunfight, foreign authorities, Australian game shows, addiction and madness.

After Mom posted bail on Hilton Head, my sisters had already left and I was alone with her. Mom presented me with a new plan. We were going to start a new life in England. I knew how sick she was, but I couldn’t leave her. She had already programmed me to protect her.

In England, I started going to a posh school in Kensington and started hanging out with my friends. I tried to stay away from home as much as possible. While I was at school, Mom had started doing some very bad things and ended up in Holloway Women’s Prison, in London. The detectives confiscated my passport and I was trapped in London, homeless for the rest of the winter.

After Mom escaped from her bail hostel in Oxford, we left England in the night. From there, our journey took us to Spain, France and back to the United States-which escalated into a FBI manhunt and America’s Most Wanted.

Provence

For years, we were raised on a roller coaster ride of torched houses, cross country road trips, international hotel rooms, run down motels, a gunfight, foreign authorities, Australian game shows, drug and alcohol abuse, a Parisian dungeon, French nuns, a house chicken and madness.

The Travelling Roadshow of the Countess Maritsa a story about the American dream unraveling.

As the Internet age came upon her, Mom was caught just before her segment on “America’s Most Wanted” aired, and she was sent to Federal prison for several years. One detective in Fort Bend, Texas thought she was affiliated with the notorious “Irish Travelers” band of gypsies, but nothing has ever been proven.

The Countess