Last night, and a few days over two full months after Bob Matheson was arrested in Nova Scotia for trying to smuggle a laptop computer filled with child pornography into Canada, Federal ICE agents, along with officers from the Sierra Madre Police Department, were seen executing a search warrant at 2030 Liliano Drive. Long after any number of people were made aware that Matheson had been arrested, including his live-in partner.
(For an article on last night's law enforcement event, please click here for a Pasadena Star News report.)
What this means, of course, is there was a lot of time to tidy the place up and get rid of any damning evidence. Computers that might have been seized are likely long gone, along with any other topical material. The Feds and the City of Sierra Madre are apparently now going through the motions, keeping up appearances. But as they must certainly know, the chances that they will find anything of interest is pretty much nil. A lot can disappear 8 weeks after the fact. Especially when an interested party living at that house had the necessary time to do some housecleaning.
It seems inconceivable to me that U.S. and local law enforcement officials were not informed of Matheson's arrest on October 17 at Halifax Stanfield International Airport. The place where he was discovered having thousands of sexually explicit photos and videos of children on his computer laptop.
The real problem for some in Sierra Madre doesn't seem to be what was on Matheson's computers, or whether he had accomplices in town, people that could very well still be here. For them the real problem is putting a lid on what has become an extremely embarrassing story. Matheson was politically and socially a very well connected individual in town. He even signed Joe Mosca's election papers when he ran for his now truncated second term in 2010, then hosting that candidate's campaign's kickoff party at his million dollar home on Liliano Drive.
Bob was also a member of the Chamber of Commerce, and can be seen in photos on their site performing volunteer duties on occasions such as the Beer Garden at the 4th of July parade. Photos of Bob Matheson with our current Mayor have also made the rounds on the internet, along with many other people of note in town. He attended their parties dressed in full Scottish regalia, including kilt, and was more than willing to have his picture taken with any interested dignitaries. Judging by the amount of photos that can be found on the internet, he had many requests.
Obviously our city's special class of people finds this to be a major public relations problem. One that puts certain members of Sierra Madre's self-styled social and political elite into some serious jeopardy. After all, almost all of them were friends of Bob. And this town has become very aware of that fact.
So what is their solution? Try and shut up the blog.
Here is an example. Yesterday on the Sierra Madre Patch there was a fairly even-handed article on the 2030 Liliano Candlelight Vigil planned for tomorrow night a 7 p.m. This was the brainchild of several people who post on this blog, and something I was more than glad to publicize. Yet for some this was not to be viewed as an effort to raise awareness about child pornography in the community, it was instead seen as being a threat that needs to be put down. With the messenger being target #1, of course. Examples:
sm resident: Ms. Morris (current Patch editor), I realize you are new to Sierra Madre Patch. I just want to advise you to be careful with what you receive from John Crawford and the Tattler. Take it with a grain of salt and some reservation. I would check to verify things before I rely on the words of this man.
Stranger: Is it just me, or does a candlelight vigil in front of a child porn trafficker's house seem strange to anyone else? I get that it's supposed to be in support of victimized children, but having it in front of the criminal's house makes it seem like they're supporting him...
helping him get through a difficult time or something... No?
JC = John Crawford = Jesus Christ: Not to nitpick, but it seems odd that you're almost a bit defensive here when you say "All I did was write about it on my blog." ... I don't know who the "anonymous Patch posters such as Vanessa" are, but it should be noted that every commenter on your site is either anonymous, or, at the very least, shares the same unfortunate and less than descriptive moniker. Lastly, who ever mentioned partisan politics or politics at all? You did. I suspect it's because, as usual, you are expert at turning tragedies into opportunities for self-promotion.
All of this over a candlelight vigil to help create local awareness for the victims of the child pornography trade. Something that has become necessary due to the complete and utter silence on this matter from the Mayor of Sierra Madre. Perhaps the vigil could be described as an attempt by residents to fill the leadership void created by John Buchanan's continued silence? Certainly that has made it a necessary event. If our leadership won't do it, then we must fill that gap.
You certainly can't help but wonder where all of that venom is coming from. Of course, it could have all be from the same person. You just never really know.
(As an aside, we here at The Tattler strongly support anonymous posting. People are much more likely to speak their minds if they know that somebody won't come by and knock over their mailbox late at night. Which does happen in this town from time to time. However, and as their regional editor Patrick Lee has repeatedly said, anonymous posting is not permitted on the Patch. Apparently, and for whatever the reason, in this case some exceptions were made.)
Another odd occurrence. Yesterday this site was literally bombarded with hundreds of troll posts. Many obscene, most quite uncomplimentary of yours truly, the assault began early in the morning and went on well past midnight. I don't know if this was meant to intimidate me, or merely just annoy. For me personally it was a lot of work to have to clean them all out of the blog's system. But the question must be asked - why now?
When we were exposing Moody's slashing of Sierra Madre's water bond rating no such things happened. Or when we uncovered the startling fact that despite City Hall's claims the water rate hike was not about repairing old water pipes, but instead at risk debt, none of this happened. Neither the UUT story nor the uncovering of misinformation put out by the consultant on the ALF has caused such mayhem, either. But since we have worked on the Matheson story the assault has been fierce, and relentless.
So again, the question must be asked: is all of this actually being done in defense of this guy? Are these folks trying to suppress any speculation on this story to help prepare for his return to our community? Do they want people to believe it all happened in a vacuum and, like poor Josh, they never knew the guy? I can't quite get my head around it.
Then, and in what is turning out to be the most bizarre of all the efforts to squelch our reporting on this story, an entire blog has been created for the sole purpose of attacking myself and The Tattler. And it only came into existence after we began our investigation into the Matheson situation. Called Tattler Tattler, I believe my name and the name of this blog has been cumulatively mentioned over 100 times in just three articles.
This site, which is designed to look just like mine, also has a reasonable amount of posts, most of them written by the site's anonymous editor. A person who calls himself "Lady Elizabeth Wistar." An individual out of Pasadena who is apparently also allowed to post on Patch anonymously despite their famous policies against such things.
So I have to ask the question once again. Why now? What is it about this story that has caused so much rage in some of these folks? The way they're carrying on you'd think there was a City Council election going down or something.
In some ways it could be one of the most telling aspects of this entire story.
One other thing, and I have to be straight with you, all this does make for good blog content. According to Google (who owns Blogger, the free platform that I use), The Tattler has received 13,395 hits (as of 6:00 a.m. this morning) since this story broke last week. A hit being defined as each time a person clicks on this site. These are not unique views, which in a town of less than 11,000 people would be far less. But it does mean we are certainly getting a lot of repeat traffic.
See you Wednesday evening.