Following is a story that a
Marietta, GA then Life Magazine reporter now writer for Esquire, Tom Junod,
wrote on Faye Yager and The Children of the Underground. Junod's words
are in blue and mine in purple.
Time Inc., Life, April, 1991
SECTION: NOTES FROM THE INTERIOR; Pg. 64
LENGTH: 5215 words
HEADLINE: THE LAST ANGRY WOMAN;
BYLINE: by Tom Junod
She reigns over a vast and shadowy underground, helping mothers hide their children from sexually abusive fathers. And everywhere she turns, she sees satanic plots to steal little souls. Her name is FAYE YAGER, and she ain't just whistlin' Dixie when she calls herself "a bitch on wheels."
Gotta agree with him here, she's as nasty as a pit bull in heat, but as far as helping mothers hide children...Faye only helps herself -- to their money and possessions. After all you can't take your car or the furnishings of your home with you when you board a plane at Hartsfield International Airport for Paris, France, eventually to a final destination unknown. So you sell everything to Faye, who turns a tidy profit, selling your things in her used car and interior design businesses. Later after you and the kiddos are all nice in cosey in Lucerne, Switzerland, she strikes a deal with your ex-hubby, but not for free, turns your file into the FBI, hubby gets the kids back and you go to jail. (See Confidential Settlement Agreement with Philadelphia millionaire Bipin Shah)
"Are you safe?" is what she always asks the children. It is what she asks the exhausted little boy who has just driven nonstop with his mother from New Hampshire to Atlanta in a rattling VW bus; what she asks the hotel-bound boy whose last vestige of a normal childhood is a collection of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles; what she asks the boy with the ancient eyes who sits in a restaurant and begs incessantly for a glass of strawberry milk. "Are you safe?" she asks them, and when they shake their heads no or stare at her in confusion, she draws them to her and says, "O.K., darling, it's all right, we're gonna make you safe."
He begs incessantly for a glass of strawberry milk because Faye won't give him one. I've watched other children beg while she drank coffee and ate bagels, never offering to buy the a coke or a doughnut.
Safe. It is Faye Yager's word, her chant and rallying cry, and yet it often seems like an incongruous tic of her vocabulary: This is a woman who craves risk and danger. If you seek her help -- if you are a woman who has accused your husband of sexually abusing your children and cannot find satisfaction in the courts -- she will meet you in a cheap motel or a bus station, some bastion of anonymity, and purge you of who you were and what you had: your name, your history, your friends and family, your Social Security number, everything. She will provide you with a new resume, a new birth certificate, and send you off to live among strangers in a string of safe houses in a country no longer quite your own -- in a place Faye Yager calls "the underground." And if she believes that you have sexually molested your own brood, she will accuse you loudly and fearlessly, on TV and in print, oblivious to lawsuits for libel and slander, pointing a finger until she has divested you not only of your children but also of what remains of your reputation.
Faye also assists mothers in mass mailings to your entire community advertising the lurid details of your alleged incestuous sex life.
In Jeffrey Rubenstein’s case, flyers were mailed via the U.S. Postal Service to most of New London, CT citizens, accusing not only Jeffrey, but the entire Rubenstein of various villianous atrocities and spun bogus tale describing the family members participating in a satanist cult. Yager claims that Jeffrey, his parents, [who have a wonderful relationship with grandchildren], and cousins tied the 4-year-old boy face down to a bed and took turns performing ritualized witchcraft, devil worship and sodomy.
The Rubenstein family members are established, warm-hearted, well-respected conservative members of the New London community. It is astounding that Faye would go so far out on a limb to accuse these folks of such bizarre activities, but then she's done it before and was caught on tape in her criminal trial trying to force a child to lie about being satanically abused.
A simple incest accusation would have been much more credible, I might have even believed that one...Faye, what could you have been thinking of, or were you too luded out on drugs and alcohol? [Faye has a criminal history of drug abuse and forgeries, and according to sources, spends her days in Brevard puttering around the Inn all day drinking wine.]
There were no allegations of any kind of abuse against Jeffrey, both during and after the divorce. It wasn't until Bonnie Rubenstien's mother, Elaine Dembroff, was fired from her teaching position for physically and verbally abusing 30 children, that custody problems started to surface.
Bonnie was barred from leaving her son alone with her mother, but she ignored the warnings, even though she had filed Temporary Restraining Orders against her mother in the past. After Bonnie began an affair with a New London police officer, she started taking her son to her mother's house and leaving him there alone. Jeffrey did not try to stop Dembroff from seeing her grandson, only that he not be left alone, unsupervised. At the time, Jeffrey and Bonnie had joint custody with Bonnie as primary caregiver and Jeffrey had standard visitation.
Fearing for his son's safety, Jeffrey filed an emergency change of custody, because Bonnie kept dropping their son off at her mother's home. Previously, Bonnie's father committed suicide in a police chase, after robbing several banks.
Bonnie, a social worker at a battered woman's shelter, contacted Faye who in turn sent her son to Atlanta psychologist Dr. Charlie Nord. Faye told me that she could get Charlie to say anything she wanted in a court of law. Charlie then wrote an affidavit and contacted Connecticut authorities attesting that the child had been sexually abused. Charlie is close friends with attorneys who represent the abusers who Faye claims to hate so much.
Desperate to find victims for an upcoming Dateline NBC story, Faye tried to convince another mother, Kimberly Brown, to run before her custody case was tried. By repetitiously taunting the young, naive mother with claims that she would lose custody and never see her children again, Kimberley kept her bags packed with one foot out the door, never did quite trusting my claims that she would win.
After Kimberley won her case, Faye was frantic watching future revenue go down the drain. During the few months I spent at the DoNUT Shop, better known as Dunkin Donuts on Roswell Road in Sandy Springs, Georgia __ Faye sitings continue even though she moved to Brevard __ Faye was drooling over Kimberley's Mercedes, Rolex and her parent’s revenue generating CPA business in San Antonion, Texas, hoping that Kimberley would hurry up and run, which is where the Yager Family Trust resides. When that didn't happen, Faye and Hirsch Friedman devised a plan to have Kimberley fire one of her attorney's, Laura Burton, and hire Hirsch, her husband's best friend, business partner and attorney, who had just arrived on the scene after hiding out for the past ten years, after he and Howard Yager were indicted in a investigation for insurance fraud and Hirsch's legs were blown off by a pipe bomb planted in his Lincoln by the Gambino family. Hirsch, according to sources, tried to squeeze the Gambino family out of Atlanta's adult entertainment business to protect his clients' interest in said adult entertainment business by acting as an informant to the FBI. Hirsch’s new business, Finance Investment Bank, headquartered in San Antonio.
Faye wanted Kimberley to sign over half of Brown's business that she founded and owned jointly with her husband, Scott Brown. When I argued with Faye on how disreputable Hirsch's past was regarding misrepresenting his client's best interests, Faye hissed "You put a snake on snake honey!"
In disgust, I stormed out of Dunkin' vowing never to return. Sensing my outrage and worried about retaliation, Faye later called to mollify my rancor by saying in a gooey, syrupy drawl, "I love you, honey! You're just like me...you're just a little Faye."
When I called Kimberley to warn her about Faye's scheme, that she might just wind up like Faye's former best friend, Jan Kemp, whom Hirsch committed to Brawner Psychiatric Institute, took power of attorney and cleaned out her bank account, Kimberley responded by stating that hiring Hirsch and firing Laura was none of my business, not to call or write anything about her ever again, then slammed the phone down and hung up on me.
Soon after my argument with Faye and Kimberley, Hirsch was disbarred, leaving both of them without counsel. Kimberley chose do without, fired Laura and continued to retain the services of an attorney, former DeKalb County Assistant District Attorney, specializing in child sexual abuse crimes, Bob Morton, a law partner of Barry McGough, her husband's attorney, who did little to represent her on the financial settlement portion of the divorce.
Kimberley lost the $300,000 family home, got nothing out of the substantial assets of the family business, no alimony and $2,500 a month in child support. So she went back to San Antonio, Texas where her parents bought another $300,000 home for her and her children.
After Dateline NBC and WSB-TV News PrimeTime segments aired, Judge Robert V. Rodatus, a National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges board member, apparently furious over her moving out of his jurisdiction to Texas, retaliated and had her arrested on contempt charges, even though there was nothing in his order stopping her from leaving Georgia. He then sent the children to a foster home where, according to sources, they were neglected and abused.
When Scott Brown filed a motion to vacate the custody portion of the divorce, Rodatus gave custody to Scott, a man whom he had previously ruled, as a finding of fact, to be sexually inappropriate with his 6-year-old daughter. Rodatus then told Kimberley it was her turn to experience the joy of supervised visitations.
Kimberley now pays approximately $600 a week for a supervisor, to see her children on a very limited basis. While she struggles to make the payments, the upside of this arrangement is that the supervisor witnessed and filed a DFACS report after she witness Scott dragging his daughter by the neck down the sidewalk as she fought returning to his home after a few hours with her mother. Because children often balk at returning to their father fighting tooth and nail, the court has provided a "reunification plan" with Atlanta therapist Barry Alexander, the Brown children are receiving a dose Dr. Richard Gardner's "Threat Therapy", which includes admonitions that if the children don't stop giving their father a hard time, they will never see their mother again. Contrary to Georgia custody laws, Alexander sets the visitation schedule, and has cut back the children's visitations with their mother. The supervisor recently reported that the daughter said Scott was sleeping with his girlfriend's 5-year old daughter.
Just to show how little Faye really cares
about children, knowing that Kimberley's boyfriend is paying for the supervisor,
Faye refused to pay him for his work on a massive brick laying project for
Faye's Inn at Brevard, a
classic southern "Gone With The Wind" mansion. As in many
other non-custodial moms cases, the likelihood is that Kimberley is unable to
pay for supervised visits, she faces the possibility of losing all visitation
rights, because the judge could find her in contempt for non-compliance of
Does Faye care? When Kimberley called to beg her to pay her boyfriend for his work, Faye hung up on her.
She makes her decisions -- whether a man is a molester, whether a woman is on the level -- in a snap, sometimes just by reading the look in someone's eyes.
She makes snap decisions on the basis of how much money she can shnooker out him and his wife.
She is quick to judge, perhaps because she
has nothing but contempt for the judiciary; and she is comfortable in the role
of avenger, perhaps because she herself was violated so long ago when she accused
her husband of molesting her daughter and wound up in a mental ward.
She wound up in a mental ward twice before she accused her husband of molesting her daughter, and that was after her trailer park next door neighbor boyfriend committed suicide after getting caught molesting her 2-year-old daughter's 7-year-old babysitter. This isn't to say that Roger Jones wasn't guilty of child molestation, but Junod got the cart before the horse here, and it wasn't Jones fault that she wound up in a mental ward after three attempted drug overdoses.
She is resolute in almost everything she
does; and she is obsessive in pressing her case that America has given up its
children not merely to individual deviates but to a conspiracy of satanists --
preachers and politicians and mafiosi and Masons -- bent on stealing souls.
She ought to know, sources say she's the ring leader of the Dixie Mafia.
For this reason she has become an icon among fundamentalists, though she is herself no ardent churchgoer. They believe in her, even now that her romance with the media has ended and reporters constantly attack her credibility, even now that the law has charged her with one count of kidnapping and two counts of cruelty to children -- the children of a woman who wanted to go underground and then wanted out.
According to my sources, Faye frequently attended Mt. Paran Church of God, on the corner of Northside Drive and Mt. Paran Road, around the corner from John and Patsy Ramsey's mansion, not far from Faye's former mansion and easily one of the most extravagantly ostentatious neighborhoods in Northwest Atlanta. Mt. Paran is extremely popular with right-wing religious fundamentalists and charismatics who talk in tongues, roll around in the aisles and cast out demons.
She is, then, a figure of faith, a woman whose actions tend toward the symbolic, whose journeys tend toward pilgrimages. Last summer, along with two other women, she went on one of her pilgrimages, traveling in a van from Atlanta to Sarasota, Fla., to see her first husband, the man she once accused of molesting her daughter, go on trial for having sex with a 13-year-old girl. Vindication, she said. Justice at last, she said. She did most of the driving, stopping in doughnut shops, at pay phones along the highway, her dress flying as trucks whipped in and out of the night. A friend carried a purse full of quarters, and again and again she would ring into the underground from some shadowy outpost, asking, "Are you safe?" and then disappear into the darkness.
The ladies are lost. All day long they've been having adventures, and now, looking for one more, they've got themselves lost in Macon, Ga., on a Sunday afternoon. Why, less than a half hour ago, these very same ladies were climbing a barbed-wire fence in a futile attempt to get into some evil old buzzard's trash, and then they were snooping around a back alley, straining to find occult symbolism in obscenities spray-painted on Dumpsters and warehouse walls. They were just warming up to infiltrate a Masonic orphanage -- where they're certain that children are turned into Satan's servants -- but now they realize they've lost their way and have to pull their van into the parking lot of a Baptist church that's just releasing its flock from the last Sunday service.
Faye says that everyone in Macon are satanists.
The church is red brick, with white trim and a high white steeple. It could be any Baptist church, anywhere in the South, but wait . . . there is something about it, something about the people streaming this very moment from its doors. "Oh, God, Faye," says one of the women in the van, a woman with white hair and a nearly white face who, if it weren't for her pallor, would be a dead ringer for Mayberry R.F.D.'s Aunt Bee.
"Oh, Vicki, do you think?" Faye Yager asks, turning toward Vicki Karp, her Bible-toting companion, a woman with a daughter and grandchildren in Faye's underground.
"What's the name of this church? I'll bet . . . Oh, God, it is. It's that church," Faye says solemnly. Then, with a little squeal of pleasure, she takes the van for a lap around the parking lot, until she meets a crowd of churchgoers and comes to a dead stop. The churchgoers stop, too, and look curiously at the van with the blackened windows. They cannot see inside, so they do not see Faye Yager, the veteran of Geraldo and Inside Edition and just about every other media outlet on earth, sitting behind the wheel in judgment, her mascaraed eyes like bruises, her mouth pinched in contempt. No, what they see is a customized, wine-red, gold-trimmed Dodge Ram rigged with special antennas and an alarm system and fancy alloy wheels and God knows what other accoutrements, and so for a few moments they stop and stare, until they accept the van's presence or just lose interest.
Then the van starts rolling. Faye's foot is on the gas, and people have to get out of the way, the plump burghers in golf shirts and pastel pants and madras button-downs and white belts and shoes. It's a congregation with a sartorial debt to Pat Boone, but Faye has a gift for seeing what's not readily apparent, and besides, this is the church of a man she has accused of sexually abusing his children in satanic rituals. "This is the most evil church y'all have ever seen," she pronounces cheerfully, although a court called her charges baseless and lawmen snatched the man's children from a safe house in South Carolina and returned them to Macon.
This is the Washburn family, another one of Faye's victims, Dona Washburn was, according to sources, turned into the FBI after her husband paid Faye $50,000.
"Look at them staring," Vicki says.
"Homosexuals, queers, the whole bit," Faye says. "Look at that guy in that blue T-shirt over there. I'll bet you he's as queer as a two-dollar bill. The way he walks . . . Look at that guy in that red T-shirt. You don't think he ain't queer? See that blue shirt? He's queer, too, I'll tell you right now."
"How do you know, Faye?" asks Faye's sister Mary, sitting in the back of the van.
"I can just spot them a mile away. The way they walk. They walk like they got a corncob up their behind."
Faye turns the wheel and heads for a parking lot on the other side of the church. As she drives through the lot, the congregation keeps staring, and Vicki and Mary get nervous. "Faye, where are you going?"
"Faye, let's leave!"
"Y'all calm down, you're just too excited, goodness gracious," Faye says almost giddily as she slips the van in front of the church's back door. "If you want to see, go inside that door there. Go down those stairs, and you'll see the altar where they performed the sacrifices."
"Faye, they know who you are, you can't go down there!"
"Faye, please leave now. Faye!"
But Faye just laughs, holding on to the moment, at once a lady, prim and proper in a print dress with a white-lace bib collar, and a little girl pleased by her capacity for mischief.
"She used to watch scary movies and make me hold her hand when we were kids," says Mary, as Faye finally steers the van away from the church. "Now, instead of watching them, she's creating them."
You know that's right, sister girl! After meeting one of her Mt. Paran Church of God Fayenatic's, Lynn McCullers, I was introduced to a Dixie Mafia buddie, Rocky Scarfone aka Joe Boffa, who claimed he left the mob after being born again and setting up a Christian ministry, YouthofAmerica.com and the Lighthouse Sanctuary of God. And I believed him, when he offered to help me set-up a free website. In turn, as an offer of appreciation, because I'm an artist, I offered to assist in refurbishing his "Webmobile" a rotting, vintage Chrysler motorhome, a considerably daunting task, but I've got to him him credit created a "religious" masterpiece. After painting Jesus and the Disciples, I was treated to a snarling pit bull named Crusher, who ripped the flesh off my ankle and foot only to be saved by Scarfone's 3-year-old daughter who came to the foyer. Scarfone claimed his was busy on the phone in the next room of his tiny mobile home and couldn't hear my screams -- doesn't get much scarier than that -- Faye should be a Hollywood producer.
Five, six, seven, eight hours later, Faye
Yager is still on the road, just she and the trucks and the predawn haze oozing
past her headlights. She never gets tired, this woman, she never stops, and
nobody could stop her now anyway, not on the sweetest journey she has ever
taken, her last chance to settle the scores of all those Lifetimes before the
new scores started rolling in. Faye Yager, who was once known as Billie Faye
Durham, who was once known as Billie Faye Jones, who was born in West Virginia
approximately 42 years ago, the fourth of 11 children, as Billie Faye Wisen.
Actually her name is Anita Faye Wisen. Since, her mother's name is also Faye and her father's name is Bill, it could be she changed her name to incorporate both of their's, or, maybe she did it after her boyfriend, Bill Johnson fatally shot himself in the head?
What was it, 17, 18 years ago, when she first told people that she saw her two-year-old daughter, Michelle, stroking the penis of her husband, Roger Jones? They called her crazy then, but tomorrow in Sarasota, Michelle is scheduled to testify against her father in his trial for a "lewd, lascivious or indecent act upon a child"; and so this morning Faye loaded her van with some videotapes, some video games, a couple of dozen dresses, her cosmetics, her jewelry, her hatboxes and about 10 boxes of shoes, and together with Vicki and Mary hit the road.
Of course, Faye's appetite for adventure and intrigue being what it is, she got sidetracked in Macon, and then in Valdosta she visited another sister and drank some white wine -- "the cheaper the better." Now it's one o'clock in the morning, and Sarasota is still four hours away. Faye, however, doesn't care one bit about the time. This whole trip, you see, is sort of a last binge for her: When she returns to Atlanta she has to prepare herself to go on trial for allegedly kidnapping and terrifying the very children she has sworn to protect.
Now she's having another "last binge" waiting to see if the feds are finally going to resume the grand jury investigations over the Rubestein and Ellis cases. Too bad the jury didn't get to hear the truth, ten years ago, about her criminal record, suicide attempts and subsequent visits in local hospital psychiatric wards. Faye received first offender status because The Cobb County District Attorney, Tom Charron, missed an additional forgery conviction in his own courthouse record room.
Besides, she hardly ever sleeps anyway, hardly ever eats, except for doughnuts and fast food, and now she's getting a little spooky with her sister's wine -- "I'm facing sixty-three years in prison, honey, I may as well get drunk" -- and telling the story she tells to anyone who will listen, the story that turned Billie Faye Wisen into Faye Yager, tabloid heroine. It's a sordid tale, though, and when she recites it her eyes go dead in their bony sockets, her face sharpens into a blade and her hillbilly twang -- the one that transposes all her vowels, turns "me" into "may," "think" into "thank" -- trickles from her tight little mouth in a parched whisper, the whisper of someone who knows how to tell a ghost story.
Like a lot of good ghost stories, this one starts in the mountains, in the"hollers" where Faye grew up, a wild little beauty who got baptized in a creek, got kicked out of dances for doing "the dirty dog," got married when she was 17 because her father wouldn't let her wear a miniskirt and Roger Jones came around in a car with mag wheels. She didn't even sleep with Roger on their wedding night, she says, because she didn't know she was expected to; instead, she slept in the same bed with the girlfriend who stood up for her at the ceremony, and it took a week for Roger and Billie Faye Jones to consummate their union. That was Faye's first Life, and it ended when she saw her husband's penis in her daughter's hand -- a vision that Roger called a delusion, that caused Faye to attempt suicide, and that eventually landed her in a psychiatric unit.
No she was 16 when she got married. And
again, she was already in psychiatric units twice, in January and February
1972, three or four months depending on which month it actually was that she
saw Roger's penis in her daughter's hand "in June or
"Defendant contends that in June or July, 1972, she had occasion to be informed that the plaintiff had attempted to molest a little girl that defendant was care for and after said complaint defendant began to watch the plaintiff around their little girl. Then in June, 1972, the defendant got up on morning and went into the kitchen and saw the plaintiff feeding Michelle. The plaintiff had only his teeshirt on and was allowing the little girl to fondle his private parts. The fondling was no accident inasmuch as the plaintiff's sexual organs were fully erected."
She waited from "June or July" until October to attempt a drug overdose for the third time -- not immediately after finding him molesting her daughter, but months later and it was the suicide attempt that landed her derriere in the psychiatric ward on the seventh floor of Northside Hospital, not Roger's campaign to make her look crazy. Prior to all of the suicide attempts she abandoned Roger and her daughter for her parents home in Mabscott, West Virginia -- that's why Roger filed for divorce in the first place. If she was so worried about Roger molesting her daughter, why did she leave her alone with him?
Her second Life began with electroshock and Thorazine and, for all practical purposes, nearly ended with a doctor who diagnosed her as a paranoid schizophrenic.
Hmmm...the University of Georgia's pedophile
expert, Dr. Henry Adams, a close friend of Faye's, also said she was paranoid
schizophrenic, the Tallahassee court record says she was diagnosed as
depressive. Fathers' rights trial consultants use Adams as an expert
witness child sexual abuse custody cases, which gives question as to why she
spends so much time with him. When the accused father tests positive for
child molestation, Adams hides his report in his files. If the father
tests negative, Adams testifies on his behalf. Adams says that 35-40% of
the fathers test positive and are absolutely 100% guilty.
She was just three days short of being committed to the Georgia state mental hospital, she says, when salvation arrived in the unlikely form of John Durham, another patient, her "knight in shining armor," a gambler, alcoholic and drug addict who called Faye's daddy in West Virginia and told him to get on down to Atlanta and wrest his daughter from the clutches of the psychiatrists (who, to this day, seem to be the only people Faye truly fears).
If Durham was truly her "knight in
shining armor," then why did she marry his physician, Howard Yager [who
was treating him for depression] a few months after Durham shot himself, in her
presence, in the head. One would think she would have been more
shaken and taken a longer time to recover after witnessing such an event?
In an Atlanta Journal Constitution story she described devastating guilt:
"He was a good man," she said. "He was my Don Quixote."
He was also an alcoholic who had tried previously to commit suicide. In court, Jones' lawyers used Durham's mental instability against her.
After the final appeal was lost, in the fall of 1976, Durham shot and killed himself.
"He left a note that I would be able to get
this child at last, " she said. "I was devastated. I felt like I'd
killed a man over this kid."
But in Steve Lopez' Time Magazine story, May 11, 1999, she described Durham as abusive:
"The second husband was a nut job to. A monster. He held a gun to her neck, threatened her, played with her, and when she finally told him to go to hell, he pulled the trigger and shot himself in the head."
Released at her father's insistence -- and against medical advice -- Faye divorced Roger, lost custody of Michelle in a jury trial and then defied the court order, fleeing with her daughter. When she found out that the child had gonorrhea, she returned to Atlanta, certain that no court would rule against her now. She was mistaken and ended up spending a brief time in jail, while Michelle went with Roger to Florida. Faye married Durham, but by then Michelle was lost, gone, learning to be the daughter of Roger Jones and to reject her mother. Faye tried to get her back, tried and tried, and when she decided to divorce Durham, whose background was always used against her, Durham shot himself in the head.
Faye's background was used against her. The jury heard evidence about the boyfriend, prior affairs, a felony drug conviction, a forgery conviction, suicide attempts using various prescription drugs and that she left her daughter with anyone who was available to go out partying. After Faye won custody in a temporary order, she never complied with Judge Hames' visitation order. Roger Jones never had any visitations with his daughter from that time on. After Faye showed up in court with an alleged report, saying the child had gonorrhea, both of them lost custody, because a Tallahassee juvenile court judge heard the same evidence that the jury heard. The gonorrhea report says "Gram negative diplocci grown resembling Nusseria gonorrhea." ["She kidnapped the child," Hames said last week. He also said he never saw evidence of gonorrhea. "I had no evidence of any molestation. I only had her statement. It was her word against his." Sanctuary for the children: Youngsters hidden after sex abuse that courts ignore, By Jane O. Hansen Staff Writer, 05-15-1988, The Atlanta Journal and Constitution.] When I called several Atlanta experts in STD's, no one could be absolutely sure what this meant. Fulton County Health officials said this meant the child did not have gonorrhea, that the doctor was "hedging" and should have sent the test to the state crime lab to find out exactly which infection the child had. Another expert, who asked not to be identified disagreed saying the child probably did have gonorrhea but that the doctor was "hedging." According to the Tallahassee deposition, since Roger did not have access to the child during the divorce, anyone could have infected the child, including Faye.
At any rate, neither one of them won custody, the court gave the grandparents get custody. Faye and Roger got supervised visitation, and even though his parents let him come and go freely in their home giving him the opportunity to molest his daughter throughout her childhood, if Faye was so concerned about her daughter, why didn't she bother to visit her in all those years?
Her daughter's psychological evaluation shows that Faye showed little interest in her daughter:
"Michelle scarcely knows her forty year old
mother, having lived with her for only a two month period since infancy.
Her mother is a former interior designer who has headed a group called
'Mothers Against Raped Children' for several years. Michelle charge her
mother with utilizing her involvement in the group to keep the past alive and
to avenge herself against Michelle's father. She also alleges that her
mother shows very little interest in her, ie does not return phone calls,
answer letters and avoids engaging Michelle in a meaningful way regarding their
relationship She believes her mother controls her family via emotional
outbursts and breakdowns, as Michelle herself does. Michelle wishes her
mother would understand that she is 'trying to get better and not be a bum.
That (she) does love her and doesn't hold anything against her in the
Michel's mother met her second husband on a psychiatric ward where she had been placed at Michelle's father's instigation during the divorce and custody conflicts. After several years of marriage, her mother's second husband suicided by gunshot in her mother's presence. Michelle and her fourteen year old stepsister from this relationship appear to be mutually jealous.
Michelle's mother's present husband is a physician who is involved with his family but takes a passive role in the relationship with his wife. Michelle distrusts his attempts to make her feel welcome. Michelle believes that he and her fourteen year old stepsister resent her mother's attention to Michelle. Michelle also has conflicts wit a twelve year old stepsister and a better relationship with two younger stepbrothers."
Also specious is the timing of Michelle’s landing on Faye’s doorstep after so many years of no contact. And the timing of Roger Jones arrest and prosecution of child molestation of three Florida teens. Miraculously these events occurred soon after Faye started the Underground.
So she married Durham's doctor, Howard Yager, and her third Life began, a different sort of Life this time, with real-estate investments and a Rolls-Royce and a big house and social obligations and her own business as an interior decorator.
She was a clerk in a supply company and now uses the interior decorator business to sell furniture left behind by women running in the Underground. The Inn at Brevard is furnished entirely with Ellen Dever's possessions.
Then one day in 1987 she read about a Mississippi woman serving time for secreting her children away from her husband. Faye didn't know why, but she had to call the judge to give him a piece of her mind. The judge told her she knew nothing about the facts of the case, and Faye, in answer to some need inside her, went to Mississippi for the trial, warning Howard that "he knew he didn't marry no Donna Reed." And indeed, it was in Mississippi that she finally met the women who cheered her when she stomped and screamed and went wild; there that she launched an ad hominem attack against the D.A. and discovered the joys of battle; there that she reinvented herself once again as the most visible link in a network called the Children of the Underground, formed to hide children from sexually abusive parents and the American justice system.
Then she came back to Atlanta to chase a "perv" from Mississippi down, and Howard [worried she would spend too much money] and Hirsch, a former New York City Cop, taught her how to be her own private detective. She got the goods on said "perv" and proved that he was receiving child pornography through the Ansley Mall post office. An thus, "Mothers Against Raping Children" was born -- brilliantly devised money laundering scam which has made them all untold fortunes.
She was ready, ready to unleash herself upon the world. She had always been, in her words, "a bitch on wheels," and now she was wired for sound. Right away, she became a star: One time, when a Hollywood actress went out with Faye to meet a mother on the run, Faye had to warn her, "This mama ain't here to see you, she's here to see Faye." She had her public now, the desperate mothers she met in the cheap motel rooms, the desperate grandmothers -- "grannies," Faye calls them, or"my grandmamas" -- who lost daughters and grandchildren to the underground and then put themselves at Faye's service, learning how to fudge resumes and forge birth certificates and carry clandestine tape recorders. Forever on the road, Faye traveled with wigs and fake credit cards and a fake police badge, giggled about all those times she outwitted the FBI and the Mafia and the Masons, and all in all acted as a curious amalgam of Joan of Arc, Blanche DuBois and Nancy Drew -- at once a martyr, an actress, a snoop, a shrew, a fabulist, a glamorous and feminine presence, a merciless avenger and a symbol of womanhood wronged.
More like Lucretia Borgia, Joan Crawford and Leona Helmsley...
Indeed, Faye loved to go to piano bars and request "Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song," or "Memory" from Cats, or "Don't Cry for Me, Argentina" from Evita, the play she's seen three times. Like Evita, Faye can't help herself; everything she does plays to a cult of personality. Even last April, when she was arrested -- after a woman named Myra Watts auditioned for the underground and then complained to the cops that Faye wouldn't give her kids back and had terrorized them in interviews -- the arrest became her passionplay, since she was apprehended on Holy Saturday and released at sunrise on Easter Sunday after vomiting blood.*
Faye did terrorize the kiddos in interviews. Anyone wishing copies videotapes of actual Faye Yager interviews, please e-mail me at Ohnoapr@aol.com.
* Although Myra Watts filed a petition alleging that she was physically abused by her husband, which he denied, she later dropped the petition and they reached a divorce settlement in which she had custody of the children and he had visitation rights.
"Oh honey, I'm telling you, I've been to hell and back," Faye says.
Two o'clock in the morning, Sarasota still three hours away. Vicki, one of Faye's grannies, one of the 150 or so women who came to her preliminary hearing waving Bibles, is asleep in the backseat. The van is quiet, too quiet for Faye, so she picks up the handset of her CB radio. "Breaker, breaker," she says in to it, bryker, bryker, sweetly, cooingly. And then: "This is Billie Hot Pants, and I just want to tell you it's getting hot in here!"
"Faye," says Mary, her voice a rising note of caution.
A trucker comes on the band, chuckling. "Well, Billie, heh, heh, maybe you could pull over, and I'll see what I can do for your problem." Then out of the blue he asks, "Are you safe?" and Faye's eyes come back to Life with the same look they had in the church parking lot, and she starts flicking her bejeweled hand and laughing in short, high, coquettish bursts: Ah-ha! Ah-ha! "Oh yeah,"she says finally, "I'm safe. And I'm hot! I'm slicker than a minnow's pete!"
Sleeker'n a minner's payt.
"You know, a minner's thang."
Faye is laughing so hard she can't even talk, and Mary grabs the handset. She's two years younger than Faye, with a short blond perm and a softer, less biting twang. She's always had to be more responsible than her sister, and now she says, into the static, "We're the Children of the Underground."
"Uh-oh," the trucker says.
"Do you know what that is?"
"We take children who have been sexually molested and make them safe. Would you like to help?"
"No, ma'am," the trucker says, "but I'll shoot the sumbitch who molested them."
"Oh, I like him," Faye whispers.
At 10 o'clock Monday morning, Faye enters the courthouse in Sarasota, the same Spanish-style courthouse where she once conducted some of her battles for Michelle, and goes upstairs to watch the trial of Roger Jones. That's all she's supposed to do: watch. She is not a witness, and she has promised the prosecutor that she won't make any scenes, do anything to compromise the case. She just wants to sit in the courtroom, she says, and "scare Roger Jones to death."
She is perfumed and powdered and perfectly coiffed, her short auburn hair curved across her forehead, nothing out of place. She wears a beige print dress, beige pumps, pearl earrings and a flat-brimmed straw hat trimmed with a black ribbon. "Faye," she says, "is known for her hats."
For the first day of the trial, the hat she has chosen makes her look innocent and almost childlike. "Good," Mary says. "Let that pervert know what he's been missing." For the second day, though, Faye wants something darker, more tragic -- "I'm gonna lower the black veil tomorrow, honey, I'm gonna hang some crepe" -- and for the third day, the day she expects Roger to be sentenced, she wants "something fabulous, maybe something with a feather in it, and really do him in."
She is sitting in the back row of the courtroom, flanked by Vicki and Mary, when she realizes that Roger Jones won't be so easy to scare, shame or do in. A man walks into the courtroom from a door behind the judge's bench, a man wearing handcuffs and a blue jumpsuit with the word JAIL across the back. He is as white as a grub worm, with an enormous white forehead, a mustache, glasses and what's left of his hair combed across his scalp. He is carrying a Bible. He has not seen Faye in years, and yet he finds her immediately and does not take his eyes off her. She does not take her eyes off him, either. Roger Jones is her enemy, and she is his. He comes toward her, on his way to his seat. Her head jumps back a fraction, and she swallows. Hard.
"Oh, God," she whispers when he sits down with his back to her. Her chest rises and falls, her fingers go to her throat, manicured fingernails against pale pink skin. "Oh, God."
For the next hour, she gives an exhibition of body language, her legs crossed and circling, her lips trembling, her fingers leaping to her mouth, her neck, her heart. She is waiting for Michelle to testify and, not incidentally, waiting for her daughter to show that she has finally rejected her father and embraced her mother. Although Michelle lives in Atlanta, on the other side of town from Faye, she does not often visit her mother's dark and formal Tudor home. Now 21, she works in an auto body shop and hangs out with mechanics and construction workers. Yesterday she flew to Sarasota instead of driving down in Faye's van, and this morning, when she met her mother in the hallway of the courthouse, she suffered Faye's fidgety hug with a smile of indulgence, a smile of composure and control.
Hours pass. Then, as Michelle takes the stand -- a pretty young woman in a coral dress whose only resemblance to Faye is in the severity of her eyes -- there is a bawling sound, almost a voice. It is Faye's stomach, and each time it creaks and cries she bends over, her eyes fluttering shut, her fingers spreading over her bosom in an image of wounded propriety. Finally, she turns to Vicki and says, "I think I'm gonna be sick," and heads to the bathroom, a reporter from the local paper instantly at her heels.
Michelle does not testify. The judge hears her story before a jury has been selected and deems it irrelevant to the trial he is conducting the next day, a trial that hinges upon a single question: Did Roger Jones have sex with a 13-year-old girl? So Faye gives Michelle some folded bills and tells her to buy a dress for the girl, a girl who lives in a trailer park and is now a 17-year-old unwed mother, a dress to "make her look innocent."
On Tuesday morning Michelle goes to the Maas Brothers department store across the street from the courthouse, but when she comes back she tells Mary that she has found nothing. "That's because she hasn't gone shopping with her mama," Faye says. So, before lunch, she leads Michelle, Mary and Vicki back to the department store and begins whisking dresses off the racks and holding them in front of her, saying, "This thing is right down darling. I would get it for myself. Put that on me, even I would look innocent."
The dresses are all Faye dresses, floral prints with bib collars. As she models and discards one after another, vamping and giggling like a game-show winner on an insane spree, some salespeople attend to her with looks of alarm, and an old black woman with a crinkled face stops shopping long enough to mutter, "Who the hell is that?"
Michelle is falling farther and farther behind Faye's rush through the store; after a while she folds her arms and sulks. She does not want to find a dress at Maas Brothers with her mother; she wants to rent a car on her mother's credit card, go to the mall and then drive off to see her friends in the little town where she grew up as the daughter of Roger Jones.
The daughter of Roger Jones. That fact has always come between Faye and Michelle, for Faye could never really wrest Michelle from Roger, even after Faye learned about money and glamour and power, even after Faye became Faye. She could never erase Michelle's resemblance to Roger -- her wide brow, narrow chin, widow's peak and small feet -- and she could never erase what Michelle had learned from him about the art of manipulation and the laws of complicity and control. No, Faye could never give Michelle what her father had given her, which, strange as it sounds, was power, the license to live as she pleased in return for sex.
Hmm...sounds a lot like Faye in her younger party days when Michelle was a baby till the age of 4-years old, when she lost custody. The court record depicts Faye as a hedonistic wild woman who went out to bars after work leaving her baby with anyone available, even a 7-year-old girl.
A tomboy, she cut school when she wanted, wore pants when she wanted, drove souped-up cars while sitting on her daddy's lap. Then, when she came to understand the perversity of her situation -- and that she had the power to expose him -- she began to despise him openly. When Michelle ran away from home, Roger called Faye and said he could no longer control her wild child.
Through it all, Faye could only see her daughter as the little girl lost; she continued to send Michelle little-girl dresses, not knowing that Michelle turned around and sold them. Now, at the department store, the little-girl dresses flutter in Faye's wake like flags, and in despair Michelle finally stops short and moans, "Mom, what do you want me to do?"
Faye turns around instantly, her eyes slits. "Michelle, what do you want? Do you want me to rent you a car, so you can go out with your friends and get drunk?"
Michelle doesn't answer. She storms out of the store and down a side street, toward nothing, a woman-child who got pregnant at 16, put a baby up for adoption at 17 and enrolled in Alcoholics Anonymous when most of her peers enrolled in college. "I've been controlled all my Life," she says, her eyes full of tears."I won't be controlled now."
Mary catches up with her and tries to calm her. "She's gonna get that car from Mary, I just know it," Faye says.
"You have to have faith," Vicki says.
"I only have the past," Faye says, her eyes absolutely immobile and implacable. "I only have the past."
The next morning, the 17-year-old girl testifies in a dress that Michelle found at the mall, having driven there in a rental car she paid for on Mary's credit card. The dress is white and virginal, and on the stand the girl looks shy and unsophisticated. The prosecutor asks a series of clinical questions -- "Did Roger Jones's mouth and/or tongue make contact with your vagina . . . ?" -- and each time she answers yes, Faye flinches. Then the girl steps down, the courtroom goes dark, and the prosecutors switch on a video monitor that only the jury can see but everyone in the room can hear. They plug in a videotape Roger made with a hidden camera, and in the dark there are sex sounds, grunting noises and the voice of a 40-year-old man asking a child, "See, it didn't take me long to get hard, did it?"
Faye's crossed legs are swinging again. She seems unable to swallow, and some ladies behind her whisper, "I saw her on 20/20" and "She's been on all the shows." Then Faye stops moving, and it is as if she knows what is going to happen next, for when Roger turns around to face her, she is staring right at him, and her lips form three silent words: "You disgust me."
The tape runs for 60 minutes, and before lunch the prosecution rests. A few hours later, as the jury returns from its deliberations, Faye puts on fresh lipstick. When two bulky female bailiffs take seats across the aisle, a reporter tells Faye why they are there: to restrain her should Roger Jones be acquitted. "Maybe I should leave," Faye says, and Mary squeezes her hand. She does not leave. She has worn, as promised, a black veil, and when the court clerk pronounces the word "guilty" four times, Faye simply closes her eyes four times behind her crepe and hears her daughter say, in the voice of an unabashed child,"Yes!"
They walk into the hallway, into the heat and the glare of television cameras. Faye pushes Michelle into the light. A reporter asks what kind of sentence she thinks her father ought to receive, and with her dark lips curved into a grin, Michelle says, "He's a pervert and a sleazebag, and he should be hung by his nuts."
"Thattagirl, Michelle," Mary says.
"Oh, isn't she a devil?" Faye asks proudly. "My mouth is suicide, and that there is suicide junior."
An old woman answers the door in sweatpants and a T-shirt and invites Faye in.
An old man is sitting in a chair, in slacks and a sleeveless T-shirt, zipping up a pair of boots. He looks up and says with a nod, "Faye." They ask her to sit down. The woman speaks softly and nervously. "We've accepted it," she says. "It's been hard, but we've accepted it." The man, silent, gets up to put on a shirt. He has a mustache, sparse hair and an enormous pale forehead. When he comes back into the room, he says, "Let me tell you how we feel about this, so you know. Anything they do to him is too good. If he was a murderer or a robber, I could forgive him. But what he did to those children . . . I can never forgive him. Anything they do to him is too good."
The man and woman are Roger's father and stepmother, Bill and Lucy Jones, and Faye has come to their home, in a town outside Sarasota, to gloat. Oh, she tells them that she is there to inquire about Michelle's medical records, but long ago, during the fight for Michelle, they fought against her, and she has never forgiven them. Do they know that Michelle remembers Roger molesting her in this very house? Do they know that Roger is also accused of raping a seven-year-old in Las Vegas and of having sex with and of having sex with another 13-year-old right here in Florida?
They do? Then maybe they'd like to pose for a picture and show America their sorrow.
They do not want to pose. In fact, Bill Jones gets ornery, threatening to tell the press about the unsavory character of Faye's ex-husband, John Durham. Faye walks out to the porch, smiling. Bill disappears into the darkness of his home, but Lucy Jones gets up and follows Faye. "What I want to know, Lucy," Faye says very softly, "is who molested Roger?"
"Oh, I don't know, Faye."
"It had to be someone," Faye says, well aware that it could have been anyone who came into contact with him, even a babysitter. "People like Roger don't just start molesting kids. They learn how to do it. Who was it, Lucy?"
Lucy's fingers are trembling at her lips, a not unusual reaction to Faye's innuendoes. "Well, I just don't know, Faye."
C'mon, Lucy, who do you think it could be?" she asks one more time. Then she says goodbye, climbs in the van and heads back to Atlanta, toward her own trials, her own troubles. But right now, as she gets on the highway, she's laughing, laughing at Lucy's trembling fingers, and there's a brightness in her eyes. "Well, I'll bet I made someone's Life miserable today," she says.
Then, suddenly, her eyes go dead again. They are the eyes of a woman who talks always of the devil, rarely of God; always of revenge, never of mercy. She puts on a pair of black sunglasses. "I'll teach them to mess with Billie Faye Wisen," Faye Yager says.
Three months later: on the road again, and on the attack, heading to Florida with her wigs and her grannies, to dig up dirt on Myra Watts, her accuser and, in the minds of Faye's supporters, her betrayer. Myra worked as a waitress in a Cocoa Beach steak house, and now Faye has been hanging around, sniffing for restaurant rumors and visiting the police station, hoping to find something she can use against Myra.
At this writing, Faye doesn't know when her trial will start, but she does not believe that she will be beaten by Myra Watts -- not by this woman with the model's legs and the haggard face, who wears her bleached-blond hair in a flip. With Roger in jail, Faye has a new enemy now, a woman who, in her opinion, sold herself out to the sinister forces that want to prevent Faye Yager from telling the world what she knows. And what Faye knows is something dear to the heart of every conspiracy theorist: that nothing is as simple as it seems, that everything is connected and that no malefactor can exist in isolation.
Classic Faye, she abducts Myra Watts' children, takes them to her Sandy Springs Tudor mansion, terrorizes them with a camcorder and Bible for days and then blames the victim for being a government stooge.
Faye is sure she is right, that there's a giant conspiracy afoot, that she is a valuable woman in a country unspeakably evil; others are sure she is wrong, that she is a dangerous woman in a country unspeakably gullible. Right now, though, she's just somebody trying to beat a rap, and when she comes back from Florida, she is obsessed with Myra Watts, and she can't help talking about the new information she claims will vindicate Faye Yager once and for all. "Oh honey, don't you know," she says with a twinkle, "we always have something cooking."
Faye is right, there is a giant conspiracy afoot, and it is of her own making. She, Howard and Hirsch along with George Stern, President of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, Sheil Edlin his partner, former Governor Zell Miller along with his randy buddy Pres. Bill Clinton, V.P. Al Gore, "It Takes a Village" Hillary and U.S. Attorney Jane Reno -- they all have made it virtually impossible to get justice in the Wrightson, Rubenstein cases.
GRAPHIC: Picture 1, Faye Yager (near right) and her daughter, Michelle Jones, together at the beach in Sarasota, Fla., make a telling study in contrasts. "Ladylike" Faye swears she doesn't own a bathing suit or blue jeans and has never taken a sip of beer. When Michelle threw a party and invited boys with tattoos, Faye had a fit and accused her of consorting with minions of Satan. descColor., PHOTOGRAPHY: DONNA FERRATO; Picture 2, In Valdosta, Ga., Faye pulls off the highway at midnight and places a call to a woman in one of her "safe houses." When Faye travels, she invariably assigns to one of her sidekicks the job of finding pay phones and carrying a change purse stuffed with quarters.
descColor: Faye Yager. , PHOTOGRAPHY: DONNA FERRATO; Picture 3, From her hotel room in Sarasota, Faye phones her lawyer in Atlanta and asks him for the latest details about her indictment for kidnapping. The room she shares with Vicki Karp is a chaos of cosmetics, jewelry, hatboxes, shoeboxes and designer dresses. descColor: Faye Yager, Vicki Karp., PHOTOGRAPHY: DONNA FERRATO; Picture 4, While Roger Jones, Faye's ex-husband and Michelle's father, is on trial for sexually molesting a 13-year-old girl, Faye and Michelle have a spat in front of a Sarasota department store. Michelle turns to Faye's sister, Mary Simpson, for comfort. "A lot of people think I'm Michelle's mother," Mary says.
descColor: Four photographs: Faye Yager, Michelle Jones, Mary Simpson (3); Michelle Jones, Mary Simpson., PHOTOGRAPHY: DONNA FERRATO; Picture 5, Because they had both been molested by the same man, Michelle and her father's victim feel a certain affinity. Having purchased a prim, virginal dress for the girl to wear in court, Michelle helps her to put on her makeup before she takes the witness stand. descColor: Michelle Jones applying lipstick to another girl.,
PHOTOGRAPHY: DONNA FERRATO; Picture 6, Roger Jones, who claims he has become a born-again Christian, has both an attorney, Stephen Watson, and a Bible at his side during the trial, but neither faith nor forensics will prevent his conviction. At the conclusion of the three-day proceeding, after the verdict has been pronounced, Jones keeps his eyes carefully averted from his ex-wife and his daughter, who taunt him gleefully. To the bailiff assigned to guard her father, Michelle makes a grim recommendation: "Torture him." descColor: Two photographs: Roger Jones, Stephen Watson; Roger Jones, Stephen Watson, Faye Yager, Michelle Jones, Mary Simpson after trial., PHOTOGRAPHY: DONNA FERRATO; Picture 7, For years, Michelle and Roger had lived next door to Roger's folks, who supported their son against Faye in the custody battle. With Roger sentenced to 60 years in prison, Faye pays a visit to Bill Jones and his wLife, Lucy, so she can see them squirm. descColor: Faye Yager, Lucy Jones., PHOTOGRAPHY:
1991 Time Inc., Life, April, 1991
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH http://nafcj.org/FayeCrimTrial.htm