Monday, August 25, 2014

Does The Mountain Views News Have A Questionable Record On Child Pornography Coverage?

From a Chamber of Commerce site - link
In this weekend's edition of The Mountain Views News there is a notable expose' that discusses the registered sex offender Andrew West, a gent who was convicted and imprisoned in part for having been caught possessing child pornography. Apparently Mr. West's term in prison is now completed, and for whatever reason he is moving back here to Sierra Madre. Despite the high real estate prices. Why this town attracts people such as Andrew West being a question that needs to be asked. Perhaps we'll do that today.

The paper's coverage of the Andrew West situation is, in my opinion, commendable. A local newspaper should make the affairs of such persons available to the public. Photos, plus information about where this individual plans to live, is very important information. It is also something everyone needs to be made aware of, and the Mountain Views News has been doing just that. At least lately.

However, what isn't quite so good is the inconsistency of this paper's coverage about these matters. We are talking in particular about the case of the once upon a time well-connected Sierra Madre society bon vivant and political activist, Robert "Bob" Matheson. Arrested, convicted and imprisoned in Canada for the possession of child porn, Mr. Matheson later managed to escape being registered here as a sex offender.

It is perhaps the only instance in this city's checkered history where a person convicted of trafficking in child pornography ever was let of the hook in that way. Why this happened remains quite a mystery, even to this day.

In February of 2012 the following article ran in The Mountain Views News. It was the last time this story was ever covered in our city's adjudicated taxpayer supported newspaper.


Two notable passages stand out. The first being Sierra Madre Police Chief Larry Giannone's claim that he could not discuss the matter because an investigation of some sort was still going down. The other statement comes from MVN Publisher Susan Henderson. She also talks about a continuing investigation, and again that nothing may be said. This despite her acknowledgement that many residents in Sierra Madre were upset by this City's apparent refusal to register Mr. Matheson as a sex offender, even after his conviction and imprisonment for possessing child pornography.

There was an earlier Mountain Views News article on the Matheson case, which ran in December of 2011. In it Susan Henderson lamented that so much of the media coverage being given to this story was focused upon Matheson's local political and social connections, and not about the victims themselves. Which makes sense since most of the people being linked to Matheson in the press were close political associates of Susan at that time. 

It must also be noted that the topic of child victims in the Matheson case, oddly enough, was never discussed by Susan, either. At least not in any real depth. Apparently her concerns lay elsewhere. 

That article was titled "Reports On The Arrest Of Child Pornographer Fail To Focus On Victims," and can still be linked to here

So here are some elephant in the room types of questions. The most recent of the two MVN stories cited here is now more than two and a half years old. Certainly that official investigation should have turned up some useful information by now, right? Isn't it time these findings were shared with the public? Yet we have never heard anything more on this matter, either from city authorities or Susan's paper. 

Nor has Bob Matheson, convicted and jailed for some of the same things as Andrew West, ever been registered as a sex offender. He has apparently received some kind of a pass, both from the City of Sierra Madre and the Mountain Views News. At last report he still lives up on Liliano Drive, and remains free to go wherever he likes.

Why is this? Why did Matheson get let off, yet the likes of Andrew West did not? As longtime Tattler readers can attest, I have been mulling this issue over for a while. And in the absence of any additional information from the law enforcement agency in town (and for more than two and half years, let me remind you), I have been forced to come up with theories of my own. The Tattler abhors a vacuum, as you know. 

I have two of them, and if true they might also be linked. 

Theory # 1)  Matheson's influential social and political connections worked behind the scenes to get him off the hook. At that time his erstwhile allies held 4 out of the 5 seats on the City Council. Their argument could have been that, as an already imprisoned convict, he had suffered enough and, given his years of volunteer work and social popularity in Sierra Madre, deserved a break. So they quietly gave him one. Accompanied by a lot of marginally effective spin and damage control, of course.

Theory #2) The socially vibrant Bob Matheson was not the only person in Sierra Madre who enjoyed viewing child pornography. It could be that a few others, perhaps notable, were also in on the action. Bob let it be known to certain persons that, should he ever be forced to register as a sex offender by Sierra Madre's authorities, he just might decide to talk in public about certain things. Those with something to hide made certain Bob was never registered.

There is another theory. That Bob made a deal with the Feds and has turned in some of his compatriots. But I am not certain there is much of a reason to buy into that one. 

If you have any others, I'd love to hear about them. Since this matter continues to be covered up by the local authorities, theories are pretty much all we have.

So how well-connected was Bob Matheson in Sierra Madre? Both socially and politically? Any cursory exploration of "Google Images" should give you that answer. Just insert his name along with "Sierra Madre" and dig in. He was a guy who loved to have his picture taken, and a lot of folks were glad to join him in the fun.

This is not to say these people had anything to do with his failings, and it is likely none did. But what it does show is that without a doubt Bob Matheson had connections with what were (at least at that time), some of this city's most elite residents. Or at least they liked to think of themselves that way. Certainly they controlled our local government, and happily lorded it over the townies with their pretentious social outings. These people had juice.

Here are some of the photos that I found.


At the beginning of this article I said that we should speculate about why Sierra Madre seems to attract registered sex offenders. My guess is this town has developed a reputation for being soft on such behavior. One reason being the treatment Bob Matheson received when he returned from prison in Canada.

That someone convicted of the kinds of crimes Matheson was jailed for had been let off scot-free when he returned here was pretty much unprecedented at that time. I am certain some people noticed.

And that Sierra Madre officials, along with our in part taxpayer funded adjudicated weekly newspaper, should continue to remain silent about this particular case, to the point of possibly withholding information, would seem to indicate that such tolerance is still very much in effect.

Among other things.

http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

44 comments:

  1. Sounds like we may have a few sex offenders here in town that want to keep this out of the news. Who knows what evil still lurks around our city? It is disgusting to think that prominent people in our city harbor the likes of Matheson.

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    1. In Sierra Madre, it's all about who you know. If you are buddies with the right people, you get a free pass.

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  2. Police investigations in Sierra Madre go on for as long as it takes for people to forget and stop asking about it.

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    1. I hate this comment. But it is probably true.
      What I dislike is not just that the Police say they can't comment because it is an active investigation(not!). What I really resent there are reasonable grounds to believe the Police are lying about it.
      Forget "Protect & Serve" !
      So why is there anyone who would rather have SMPD than the Sherriff ? The Sheriff wouldn't do anything either but at least they would be cheaper !

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  3. The laptop filled with child pornography that Matheson was arrested for in Halifax began its journey in Sierra Madre.

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  4. Is this disgusting evil man still on the loose in Sierra Madre?

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    1. Yes. 2030 Liliano Drive.
      http://losangeles.blockshopper.com/property/5764003013/2030_liliano/

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    2. Here's what the Canadians required:
      "Matheson can't have contact with anyone under the age of 18 and can only go on the Internet for banking purposes. He can't go within 250 metres of parks, playgrounds, pools, daycares, schools and other places frequented by children or hold any paid or volunteer job that would put him in a position of trust over children."
      Why don't we?
      http://thechronicleherald.ca/metro/27273-crown-agrees-california-mans-release-child-porn-charges

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    3. That is what Canada says. Here they didn't do anything. It is disgraceful.

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  5. He is in the closet hiding with his close friends. Some of his friends have left town. Wish he would leave town. Has anyone seen him lately?

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    1. I have. He is a little old man now. It is like his infamy shrunk him. Hard to believe he used to be the town blowhard.

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    2. No matter how little and how old - we know these guys do not get better. Only reoffend.

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    3. Very true. Which makes the city's lapses even worse.

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    4. Matt and Joe Bosca, left town shortly after this scandal broke...they left the country! Very strange.

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  6. The slimeballs always seem to float to the top, regardless of their "peccadilloes". Money and power, even in small ponds. The ethical people won't play ball, so you won't find them in public office, is the tragedy of it. Bread and circuses go back to the beginnings of organized government.
    http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-leon-ancient-campaign-finance-20140825-story.html

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    1. I agree, but in Sierra Madre there is also the creep factor. These Matheson types were able to get influence in this town.

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  7. sierra madre has a barney fife like police force... let the gold shine

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    1. Finally, somebody gets it! Our boys in blue love to spend time code-5 on the stop sign at Grand View and Santa Anita while the burglars run rampant in the parts of town nearest the PD HQ. Great job!!!

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  8. re 9:43 all they want is more health benefits, more salaries, new uniforms. They love the over time but feel over worked!

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  9. The SMPD is a vanity police force, kept in place to appease the gullible. There will never be a report on the Matheson investigation because one was never done. The file is probably as empty as the Chief's head.

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  10. if there was ever a real crime, I believe that the police force would let everyone walk off with the evidence...

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  11. Why did Canada have so many protections against this person when he doesn't even live there and Sierra Madre, the place where he spends all of his time doesn't offer any protections for the kids? That is a bigger scandal. How do we go about finding out what's going on here. I can say this that the recidivism rate for these guys is pretty high. For those protecting him, they are really putting themselves on the line for this guy.

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    1. The article from Canada says he owned a house in Nova Scotia. Wonder if he sold it.

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    2. Canada will never let him cross their borders again. I suspect he had to sell it.

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    3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  12. The city doesn't care. They're just focused on getting more money out of us. In return we get yellow water and a footloose and free Bob Matheson.

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  13. what is the status - regarding taking away all the uut monies ?

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    1. The petition language was wrong. There were legal issues. This came out of their Arcadia effort. My take is this has delayed things and the UUT repeal won't be on the ballot until sometime next spring. At this point I do not see how they'll get it before the voters in November.

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  14. FACT>>>
    1) city hall spends $24,000,000 not $7 million a year as they would like us to believe,
    2) city hall has $40,000+ a yearly in bank fees... Why?
    3) Why in the hell does city hall need more long term debt?
    4) when asked, our city manger doesn't even know how much money is in any specific water fund or sewer fund... why
    waiting a logical reply

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    1. And we're all waiting for you to supply the documentation that backs claims such as this up. What has it been, 2 years now?

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    2. 11:31 you can request the documents from city hall, by evidence of public records request, just like I asked! Cheers

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    3. by my reading, the residents have little back bone... why is that?

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    4. 11:42 - it's your baby, you wash it. I am tired of reading accusations that make no sense and provide no proof.

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    5. 11:44 - how so?

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    6. 12:02 Then why are you here? lol that's all this blog is unfounded accusations? Yellow Journalism if it can be called journalism........

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    7. So what is it that you believe is not true?

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    8. Let me take a shot:

      1) $24 mil is the total budget; $7 mil is the general fund. Do you know the differene 11:24 am?
      2) $40K in bank fees? Yeah? So what?
      3) City Hall doesn't incur long debt; We The People are the ones ultimately saddled with long term debt.
      4) Are you saying that the City Manager can't, off the top of her head, respond to ambush questons or that she and no one on her staff has any idea of fund balances?

      I so doubt the veracity of your arguments I've taken to skipping right over any post that smacks of your craziness. Please crawl back into your hole.

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    9. My favorite posts from this guy are when he claims Sierra Madre has plenty of water and people should be able to build whatever their little hearts desire. Because, man, that's what freedom is.

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  15. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  16. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  17. The Civility Party has paid us a visit this evening.

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    1. They were just in a bad mood, Mod. I think they had a bad Monday.

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  18. I see Elaine or someone from city hall is back!

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