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Reverend Magdalen Part 3

August 22, 2008: With one week to go before the Cleveland fundraiser for her legal fund, Magdalen has received a notice that her ex-boyfriend is causing trouble once again. She has been summoned back to New York for a new custody hearing, one that supposedly accuses her of violating the settlement made at the beginning of this year. She writes:

"So today I heard from my lawyer in New York, and he regretted to inform me
that his partners will not let him appear for me on September 5th until I
pay the back fees that I owe their office, which is $32,000. So unless I
can come up with that amount, I will have to ask for a court-appointed
lawyer and hope that I can qualify for one. If neither me nor a lawyer
representing me shows up on September 5th, I will be charged with contempt
of court and could be sent to jail for six months. So basically, I'm
freaking out."

Despite the ominous sound of being charged with contempt, I've tried to reassure her that this is a standard for any of these legal notices. I received one myself, a couple of years ago (not related to her case, it was something else entirely). The idea here is, "show up in court OR ELSE." In my own case, I settled with the other party a week before, and the court date was cancelled…though I doubt that will happen here. However, maybe the lawyer might be able to come up with a settlement that would avoid the necessity of a court date.

There hasn't been any word that the Church of the SubGenius will be dragged back into this again – at least not YET. If Jeff was smart, he'd leave the Church out of this altogether. However, previous experience suggests that he may not be very smart.

Rev. Ivan Stang wrote on August 22nd: "I just heard from her and she has changed from being scared yesterday
to being REALLY PISSED OFF today. She is now planning to fight it all the way, take it to federal court if necessary."

Magdalen writes:

"I want to ask the federal government to step in and protect me from
New York State, because they violated my rights, but I just don't know
how to find a crusader who would agree with me and take up the cause.
I'm just like, hey, if a judge, presiding in open court, on the
record, calls you a "pervert," that should be the end of the matter.
They should not get another chance to then go on and interrogate you
about your religion and artwork choices, and then further order you to
remove that artwork from your home."
"I'm thinking of making a YouTube video to explain my situation and
see if anyone in the internets would be willing and able to take this
to a higher authority and say hey, there needs to be a change of
jurisdiction here, this person cannot get a fair trial in this area,
and she's just going to keep getting harassed again and again if
someone doesn't step in and say enough is enough."
"I'm getting all fired up! I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take
it anymore, by Gobbs! These things were unconstitutional and damn it
I want to be protected from it happening again, and an apology, and I
want my money back too! So until they come and take me to jail, I'm
fixing to fight it as hard as I can at the highest level I can, given
that I have absolutely no financial resources. I'm optimistic though,
because it's a lot easier to fight when your head isn't occupied with
the unbearable pain of missing your only child! I'm just going to
keep shouting for help as loud as I can until somebody who's been
waiting for a cause to champion comes along and helps me."

The major issue here is that Magdalen needs a lawyer who won't bankrupt her, because she's already bankrupt – probably someone who could represent her pro bono. If anyone reading this has suggestions for a law firm who'd be willing to do this…especially one that specializes in religion and family and custody law…then we'd certainly like to hear from you.

alt.slack discussion thread on this latest development:

August 29: Magdalen's hearing has been delayed until September 26th. Apparently the court did not provide the proper paperwork when her legal notice was sent to her via the United States Post Office (not by registered or certified mail, either), and this was not a proper serving of notice. So the hearing is now delayed until the 26th.

September 1: Rev. Ivan Stang gives a report on the Jocko Dome-o fundrasier on alt.slack: [1]

September 12, 2008: Magdalen has a new lawyer ready to represent her at the hearing on September 26th: R. Brian Goewey of Rochester, New York. He is not representing her for free, though, which means that a call for donations must be made once again. Magdalen writes:

"I was able to locate a lawyer who is a civil rights crusader, Mr. R. Brian Goewey, who is not only available on the 26th, but is also willing to represent such a degenerate artist as myself, and who is willing to do it for half of what every other lawyer has quoted me! Truly the Luck Plane tilted my way when I found him.
"We've made it so far from the days when I lived in a 10 by 12 box apartment crying myself to sleep every night, never knowing how my son was, never knowing if I would ever get him back. We're so close to being free from the threat of being compelled to return to Orleans County, which has hung over our heads since my son was a baby. All we need is $2,500 to get started, with a full retainer of $5,000. Of course, if things go badly, it could run into another $80-$100,000, but I'm focusing my slack waves on the thought that this new Judge Griffiths is going to be reasonable and let us go…I realize this is the worst possible time to ask for money again, with gas prices and food prices and unemployment the way they are, but I can't raise more than about $1,500 on my own, not by September 26 anyway. I'm forced to once again appeal to you, who've helped our family so much in the past, or one more push to finally get free."
"Thank you so very much for everything you've already done. I apologize for asking for more; I know I already owe you a debt of gratitude that I could never repay."

The complete text of her email from September 12th, which summarizes her entire situation since the beginning of the year, can be found here:

December 29, 2008: Case Dismissed…not

Magdalen has put out an end-of-the-year plea for donations. The good news is that the legal debt to the law firm that defended her until 2008 has been reduced to $24,000. More important, she writes:

"After several weeks, Judge Punch dismissed the case! I was so excited I didn’t know what to do, but then my lawyer informed me that it’s possible to appeal even the dismissal of a case. Jeff has until January 15 to submit an appeal, so I am counting down the days to find out whether the case is finally dismissed beyond all recall from the County of Orleans."

However, once again this has proven to be a false hope. The story continues with this update from Magdalen on January 22, 2009:

"Sorry I didn't reply sooner but I haven't had the internet for a while. With a few days to spare, Jeff did in fact appeal. Now it will be probably a year or more before things will be finished, as Jeff will have several months to put together his appeal, and then several more months before the court will be able to hear it. It will be going before the same Appellate Division court that voted unanimously to give custody back to Jeff, so that's pretty scary, but at this time they will only have the power to decide on the jurisdiction of the case, not custody itself.
"I'm going to need another retainer for Mr. Goewey, as the appellate case is considered a separate matter. He hasn't given me an exact figure yet, but said it would probably be more expensive than the $3,500 retainer I paid for the original case, so I'm figuring on about $5,000.
"I told him that my internet fundraising is not going so well, people seem to be pretty strapped for money, everyone is facing such hard times. He suggested to me that in the hardest economic times, the rich tend to get richer, so perhaps I should try asking them rather than just everyone at large. So, I've written an open letter to any Karmic Angels that might be out there, who want to use their money to help people."

The fact that this case has now been stretched out for three years demonstrates how absurd the legal system is. Much of the issue here stems from the fact that one party has received free legal representation while the other has not. This means that one party can continue to use the courts to harass the other for as long as he cares to…unless, perhaps, notice of this abuse of the legal system were brought to the proper authorities. (The Bar Association, perhaps?)

May 10, 2009 (Mother's Day): Poppy Z. Brite artwork auction for Reverend Magdalen

Magdalen writes:

"Dear Friends,
"I'm still working on raising the retainer for the appeals case, and I've raised about half of the $5,000 needed so far, but I'm overjoyed to report that a saintly anonymous donor has donated the framed and matted Miran Kim painting of the original cover artwork for the classic Poppy Z. Brite novel Lost Souls, and an Advance Reading Copy of the novel.
"These items are now up on eBay, and the book will be signed by Poppy Z. Brite specially for the auction winner! This is a unique set of horror genre collectibles that I'm so grateful to be able to auction. The easy to remember URL is: (case-sensitive!).
"Please share this link with anyone you know who's a fan of Poppy Z. Brite, Miran Kim, or who just loves wonderful dark vampire art.
"Please also send massive Slack Waves to this donor who wishes to remain anonymous, but who deserves an unstoppable juggernaut of Slack. This person is a really unique individual who deserves every kind of happiness, and it can't hurt to have a whole bunch of people beaming Slack their way!
"Thank you so much for taking an interest in my situation and helping me out, it means more than I can express to know so many people are rooting for me!"

October 4, 2009: Case Dismissed (again)

Reverend Magdalen writes:

"GOOD NEWS, EVERYONE!! I don't have the official documents yet, but my lawyer informs me that the Appellate Division has dismissed the case against me! This means the jurisdiction of my case will move from Orleans County, NY to here in Georgia …where I live, so I can never again be forced to leave my home & rent an apartment in New York to fight the case!
"It also upholds the current joint custody agreement that lets my son reside with me [as long as no SubGenius materials are in my house]! I'll be sure to post scans of the papers when I get them, and of course there's probably some kind of legal loopholes that might come up, but this is GREAT news! Thank you so much everyone, I could never have gotten here without you!!
"I do still owe about $50,000+ in legal bills, and the payments are getting really tough to make with my husband laid off, so if anyone has a bit to spare, I promise to send massive Slack waves of thanks for your donation!"

In short, this appears to mean that after over three years of legal wrangling and over $100,000 in costs to her, they are back to the status quo. That, plus, she is still the only SubGenius officially banned from keeping SubGenius materials in her home, where her innocent son might accidentally come across them and become corrupted into the decadent lifestyle that got her into trouble in the first place.

alt.slack message thread: The Book of the SubGenius is officially a banned book

November 24, 2009: Magdalen has a new blog:

December 4, 2009: Magdalen makes an announcement that the case will be dismissed if no appeal is filed before September 10, 2010. She has also made legal documentation available online, including the order forbidding her from keeping SubGenius materials in her home. She writes:

"I've finally received the paperwork for the Appeals Court dismissal of my ex's bid to keep the case in New York State. You can view them on Google Docs, page 1 here: * * and page 2 here: * *. Some people have asked me about the court order preventing me from having my own artwork and writing inside my home, so I have put those orders up on the web also. The legal prohibitions against me having any SubGenius materials in my home are found in numerous court docs. In the latest, currently standing order from Judge Punch it is found at the bottom of page 2 and top of page 3 here: * *. It is also seen affirmed by Judge Adams on page 17 here: * *.
"Essentially, the upshot of the latest Appeals Court decision is that for now the case is dismissed, but my ex has one year from the date stamp, September 22, 2009, to make another attempt to complete this appeal. After that deadline, if nothing further is filed, the case will finally move beyond the jurisdiction of New York State entirely. Never again would my family face the prospect of having to split up and find lodging in New York for months or years on end to fight the case. Never again will I be handicapped by not having any of my local friends and people who know our family available to testify. Although this doesn't guarantee the case would be completely over, it would return it to a fair and level playing field.
"So basically, I'm counting down to September 10, 2010!! I'll be sure to send out an update then if all is well so you can rest easy!"

September 24, 2010: The final deadline of September 22, 2010 came and went without any last-minute attempts by Reverend Magdalen's former boyfriend to appeal the custody decision. This means that the custody case is now officially CLOSED IN THE STATE OF NEW YORK. Any further attempts to disrupt Magdalen's relationship with her son would have to be filed in the state of Georgia. This means that he would most likely have to SPEND MONEY to do so.

In other words: After four years of hell, IT'S OVER.

Legal Fund

Please consider donating to Magdalen's legal fund, either directly or by purchasing a T-shirt. Direct donations can be sent via Paypal to:

Up-to-the-minute updates can be found on the IRC channel #subgenius and the newsgroup alt.slack.

The first part of this story can be found under: Reverend Magdalen
The second part of this story can be found under: Reverend Magdalen Part 2