One Sierra Madre resident, Mr. Bob Matheson, wrote this to our newspaper this morning: "Sierra Madre put it's best foot and fire hose forward again this year as our townsfolk celebrated the birth of our country in grand, Sierra Madre All-American fashion. The parade, the jazz band and activities for the kids in the park, and of course the Beer Garden, are the traditional 4th of July treasures of Sierra Madre. Kudos to the always fabulous Fourth of July Committee, headed now by Matt Bosse, for pulling everything together. It's a time and place that we all keep coming back to, year after year ... a celebration that singularly embodies the "Spirit of Sierra Madre." It's why we enjoy living here! Amidst all this great fun and success is there a risk of criticism? I saw a Fire Department engine occasionally stop and, very judiciously, spray a narrow patter of water directly ahead. The kids had a thrill they'll cherish for their lifetime. I can't imagine anyone being critical of doing the right thing!"
It was about a year and a half after the above was written that Sierra Madre social fixture and 4th of July Parade devotee, Bob Matheson, was arrested at a Nova Scotia airport with a laptop computer containing 2,500 photographs and 280 video shorts of naked teenage boys. With most either posing naked for the camera, or engaged in sex acts with other boys. And, in some cases, with adult men. Bob was tried in a Canadian Court, convicted, and then sentenced to 120 days in jail. Time that he served.
Upon his return to Sierra Madre it was widely expected by residents that Bob Matheson, because he had been tried and convicted in a foreign Court viewed as legitimate by the United States Department of State, would soon be registered here as a sex offender. Something that would restrict his access to things like the community swimming pool, library and, of course, the 4th of July Parade. An occasion that, to use his words, "we all keep coming back to, year after year."
It didn't happen. There are several theories on why Bob was never registered here as a sex offender. One states that since the U.S. Department of Homeland Security didn't get around to searching Bob's home until nearly 3 months after being notified of his child pornography arrest in Halifax, Nova Scotia, accomplices were able to destroy evidence to be found there. Another theory has it that the Sierra Madre Police Department didn't quite know how to go about registering a sex offender, and rather than actually making an effective effort to find out how this could be done, did what they usually do when faced with a situation of local notoriety, which is tuck in for a nap.
A third theory, one that certainly has a strong whiff of conspiracy to it (and therefore appeals to this blog), is that Bob Matheson, an inveterate socialite who partied often with Sierra Madre's most special and locally well-connected people, had pictures and other information that would have put a few of this community's leading personalities into a very bad light. And should the city have gone to the trouble of registering Bob as a sex offender, he would have released such compromising information to the press.
Whatever the reason, Bob will be able to quite legally visit with his beloved Sierra Madre 4th of July Parade again this year. And to commemorate this return to his normal existence, we have devised a game for you to play called "Where's Bob?" It is similar to the popular "Where's Waldo?" game, and if you click on the picture above, it will enlarge and you will be able to begin your search.
Which, come to think of it, is something that you will be able to do when you are at this year's 4th of July Parade as well. Thanks to the indifference of both local and federal law enforcement, along with City Hall, it is quite possible that you will also be able to spot him there, too.