John Pash posted the following response to Websleuths on Tuesday, July 28, 2009:
I use this term because it is obvious that you all lack the skill necessary to be a true sleuth. And what is that needed skill? The ability to reason, both deductively or inductively. What you all do is take a questionable rumor, factualize it so you can make it fit your needs, and then pat yourselves on the back thinking you have made a substantial advance in criminal investigations. It is rather obvious that you are a group of “wannabes”. So get out your yellow legal pad and pencil so we can begin the process. I found 2 other sites which I will include in this discussion- the Charley Project and Finding Roger Ellison. You may want to be wearing a trenchcoat and galooshes, and have your umbrella open, because it’s about to hit the fan.
First, we need to make sure all accusations have been stated, and unfortunately you have missed a few:
1] that I was a communist agent, employed by Moscow, to use the educational system to destroy my students’ patriotism for the US;
2] that I was an atheist, in league with the Devil, to bring about the destruction of Christianity;
3] that my belief that America’s racial/ethnic minorities and gays should be accorded all the respect and rights as White Americans would “mongrelize” America’s culture and lead to the end of American civilization as we know it.
Interestingly, before I moved [for personal, familial, and professional reasons] I was invited to dinner by a very well respected Christian family. As we finished eating, the husband said he understood what I had had to endure. He did not apologize for those things [and I did not expect him to, nor ask him to], but said that he hoped that I would understand the community and not harbor any animosity. I have tried do this, and when thinking about Cedaredge, remember positive times. I would have to say that he and his family have been one of the few examples I have met of people who truly practice their faith. Please realize, this was the era of Reagan and I made the perfect villain. You have all jumped on the bandwagon. So for the moment, extinguish the torches, put down the pitchforks, and stifle the “storm the castle’ chant.
Second, the really rude insinuations made.
1] the painting above the fireplace in the 1999 picture of my best friend and I on our high school web site [and to think that I was concerned my students might find the site and make jokes about the photo from 1969]. Oh Mysterylover, nothing gets past you, does it? Only problem, the photo was taken in the family room at my friend’s home. The painting was his wife’s, and she loved it because it reminded her of their 2 sons. The idea that you and KTCan focused on it and came up with a really disturbing interpretation may say more about you both and any internal demons you may be struggling with.
2] the same can be said in regard to Kline’s question as to whether or not I had ‘counseled’ other “pretty young boys” [ah, the gay thing]. This question was reiterated by BoyzMum. This is nothing more than being rude at the least, and vicious in its manner. I’m sure that if the 2 of you were sitting next to each other, the high-5’s and giggling would be endless. So, these detective skills you are so proud of, did you learn them in junior high school? Because you are acting like some adolescent twits.
3] to top it off, Mysterylover questions if I was ever married [ah, is this the gay thing again], but then is aghast that I have been married 4 times. I am sure you are equally aghast about Larry King, Rex Harrison, Mickey Rooney, and Tony Curtis to name but a few people who have had more marriages than me. Well, that’s how life goes sometimes. By the way, we divorced in 1995, I wouldn’t call that shortly after Roger disappeared. [Sorry about that Peridot1 and Mysterylover].
Third, the lack of real analysis of ‘what is known’:
1] Roger’s height is listed as 6’. There is a skeleton found in Chaffee County of someone who is 5’6”. OK, let’s go over this–> 6’ vs 5’6”. And yet, we have a chorus of sleuthies demanding DNA tests to determine if it is Roger. Is it a common phenomenon for a skeleton to shrink half a foot? One last time people, 6’ vs 5’6”.
2] the poachers’ story. This one is very odd. There are supposedly 2 men carrying high-powered rifles who come upon a man with a shotgun, and another person who is bound. And yet they don’t do anything about it. Why? Because they are worried they will be charged with poaching? Give me a break. And one passes a lie detector test on his death bed [so melodramatic]? And of course we all know that lie detector tests are infallible. It should be very easy to get the names of the men involved if this is a true story. Still it doesn’t make sense. The other interesting thing is that the man is reported as holding a shotgun. There are 3 shell casings found with the skeleton. Are the shell casings for a shotgun, or a rifle? Big difference. By the way, I am a strong advocate for gun control, and have never owned, nor possessed, any type of firearm. This was not a good opinion to have in a community where gun ownership and hunting is both a personal choice and an economic factor.
Fourth, the infamous ‘house of secrets’ [so melodramatic]
1] the shuttered windows. They weren’t when we lived there. We did have a framed piece of stained glass hanging within the small window frame. Since the house has been altered, I’m not sure what it looks like anymore. But on the north side, there were 3 large windows. The front of the house [facing east] had a large picture window. The south side had a large picture window in the dining area and in the living room, and a smaller window by the fireplace. So quite a few large windows [we enjoyed the sunlight].
2] digging up the yard. Talk about a waste of time and money. The only time I ever did any digging was to replace or add rose bushes, and to create foundation holes for my childrens’ swingset in the backyard [which remained when we left]. By the way, Cedaredge is roughly 6000’ or so, and we had snow on the ground well into April. So the ground is not easily dug up. It can be done, but would take an extended amount of time unless one used machinery. As for anomalies under the concrete floor of the garage, I am not even sure where that is since we did not have a garage. We had to park our car on the street in front of the house. That also brings into question the idea that there was a driveway. Next to the rock wall was an overgrown access road to permit the owner of the lot behind our house access to it. The reason it was overgrown is because it was never used by anyone.
3] the teenager in a fetal position in the crawl space. I love this one because it really lacks logic. How in God’s name [yes, I do believe in God] do you look at an imprint in dirt and determine it is of a teenager and not an adult? Again, doesn’t make sense.
Fifth, more odd accusations which just don’t add up.
1] the only way I can describe this one is my having “encounter groups” in my home. This is a total fabrication. If I did permit such a thing, I would like to think I would have added some type of historical theme to it, such as requiring dress-up in Roman-styled togas and speaking Pig Latin.
2] that I was “the go to guy” for marijuana. Again, another story which is totally fabricated. And then to imply that the police covered it up because…. they benefited somehow? Do you really want to go there? I guess you do. Please realize that freedom of speech, or clever
disclaimers at the bottom of one’s post, do not protect one from all liability. But then you have those clever user id’s and never have to worry about people knowing who you are. Anonymity is a shield for the irresponsible.
Sixth, refers to questions that should be asked, but haven’t been.
1] what was determined about reports that people saw Roger hitchhiking out of town that morning? Were these reports dismissed? In that regard, has anybody bothered to read the initial news articles concerning Rogers disappearance?
2] the alleged report that Roger was seen talking to 2 unidentified men the morning he disappeared. Was it inside the school building? Was it outside on school grounds? Was it some place else off school grounds? What time did this occur? Either way, the report that the men were unidentified would lead one to realize that these men were unknown to whoever made that report. Had I been one of those individuals, wouldn’t it be obvious that I would have been identified? However, I was in my classroom preparing to teach that day.
3] it is stated that Roger only had $3 in his wallet, and no additional clothes. This does seem odd for someone who is running away. You would think they would want to have as much money as possible, and some extra clothes. So it would initially seem that no such runaway plan was in effect. However a further understanding as to the type of bank account Roger had, and the bank’s policies regarding it may be necessary. Was it a checking or savings account. Since Roger was still a minor at the time, what was necessary in order for him to get the money? Would he have to write a check to somebody, and then ask for the money from them? Would a savings withdrawal require a second signature? Would it require parental notification?
4] the fact that Roger came to school that morning with his backpack full of books. It might be thought that he would need those books in every single class that day. Possible explanation, but not necessarily probable. As for my classes, I lectured everyday, and had them do book work in class sporadically. So why return all the books? Another possibility, and more probable, is that he knew he wouldn’t be needing them anymore, and wanted to return school property.
5] if we are going to focus on rumors, then we need to make sure we point out the initial rumors that went around. It was stated that Roger had either been kidnapped by a hippie religious cult for human sacrifice, or by a motorcycle gang that was reportedly in the area. Interestingly, it was also rumored a couple of years later that Roger had actually been found. This was supposedly achieved through a search of his social security number that found him living in Kansas and working in a gas station.
Seventh, comments by Chief79–> he acknowledges that “Mitch” was questioned, but he wasn’t. Why he wasn’t questioned is irrelevant at this point. But in knowing that he wasn’t, doesn’t mean he has no valuable information, especially in saying that there is a lot of misinformation. Does Chief79 have to explain anything to the sleuthies? No. It may be something that he doesn’t want to make public out of his regard for Roger. But he should go to the responsible law enforcement agency [Delta County Sheriffs] and provide such information. At that point, its relevance can be determined, and if deemed necessary, made public.
Eighth, focuses on my time frame. What dictates that issue is the wrestling season. It was my second year as a coach and the first of our successful seasons. The team had won the League Championship, and had won the District Tournament the previous weekend [so I was in Grand Junction the weekend preceding Roger’s disappearance]. Because of the success of many of the wrestlers, six were to go to Denver for the State Tournament that next weekend. So not only did I teach a full day everyday, but also had the usual 2 hour wrestling practice after school every day. I did not get to leave school until at least 6 pm every night. And I left for Denver that Friday, driving the team, We did not return to Cedaredge until that Sunday. These factors would now necessitate an accomplice. I would hope that we can eliminate my 3 year old daughter and 6 month old son as possible suspects. My wife was going through postpartum depression, so I think it’s ok to eliminate her also. I don’t think that experience lends itself to the mentality needed to participate in an abduction. So who else could it possibly be? Is there anyone else on the faculty or in the community-at-large that you would like to point the finger at and disparage?
Ninth deals with “my relationship” with Roger. Simply put, there was no relationship other than the fact that he was in my class. I recall that he sat at the back of class, and never really participated in the class discussions. But on to the accusations.
1] He brought homework to my house so he could go skiing on the weekends. I cannot say he never did this. It may have occurred once, at the most twice, but not more than that. Depending on when this supposedly happened, would also be an important factor in my not remembering it. Since it was supposedly done by Roger so he could go skiing, then it would have occurred in the winter. Although November is possible as the month, it would depend on the amount of snowfall for that year. Chances are it was December or January, and the wrestling season had begun. December is taken up with tournaments every weekend, so I wouldn’t have been home. Had he showed up, my wife would have been the person he gave homework to. That is why I can’t say he never did it. But I would not have allowed it to continue more than twice. I have always had a strict homework policy. I do not accept late work. So I can see his concern that it be turned in on time, early if necessary. However, I also believe that all students must have the same opportunities, to do otherwise is to discriminate for the benefit of some, and the loss for others. So if I allowed him to do it, I would also have allowed all my students the right to do it. That is why I would have not have allowed him to turn it in at my home. It would be too easy for some students to say that they had dropped it off at my house and that I had lost it, when the fact would more likely be they just hadn’t done it. In regards to January, that was the beginning of the new semester if I recall correctly. There would have been one studysheet, possibly two, assigned for the new semester that month, and that would have been the only homework, since my classes are lecture based. And this idea that Mr. Ellison allegedly confronted me about the homework issue? Never happened. This is pure fabrication, created to support this “concern” about Roger showing up to turn in homework.
2] that I “counseled” Roger over issues that he had. Again, pure fabrication. As you have noted, I majored in history in college, not psychology. I only had 2 lower-division college courses in psychology at the time. So I knew that my knowledge base was very limited. I had never taught psychology before moving to Cedaredge, and it was only my second year at that time. It was one of those situations for a teacher where they “stay one chapter ahead of the students”. So why was I teaching psychology at all? It’s what was needed, along with history classes and a wrestling coach. And for many schools, the need for a coach outweighs the academic training of the teacher. If the teacher is credentialed in the subject area [social sciences], then they are allowed to teach any course offered in that subject area. The reality is that I taught mostly history courses. There is one interesting fact I have learned. Upper level math and science teachers are not usually considered rocket scientists. English teachers are not viewed as poets and authors. Even history or government teachers are not seen as historians or lawyers. But if you tell someone you teach psychology, for whatever reason, people think that you are a psychologist and, therefore, a therapist. I don’t have the course work, training, nor the license to do so. This also brings into dispute my “alleged diagnosis of Roger being suicidal”. For me to do that would be ludicrous, not to mention illegal. As I stated, he sat in the back of class, and rarely participated. I really didn’t know anything about him. But this fabricated story helps the contention that I either had something to do with his disappearance, or possibly knew about it. It is also made to sound like I just showed up out of the blue to talk to Mrs. Ellison. Didn’t happen that way. I was asked to talk to her. But this will be explained in our next section.
3] there is another possibility that hasn’t been considered. Is it possible that Roger told his parents he was going to my house to talk to me, and went somewhere else instead? Golly, the idea of a teenager misleading his/her parents, isn’t that a shocker?
Tenth- what do I know? I know that there is some information that has been kept from the public. How do I know this? I provided the detective with information. As to why the Sheriffs Dept. has decided to keep this from the public is something only they can answer. I was instructed by the detective at the time that I was not to publicly divulge the content of the information I provided, nor to discuss the conversations we had. Now. am I still bound by those instructions? I don’t know, but I will continue to abide by those instructions. As I said, if the Sheriffs Dept. wants to make that information public, they will. So, what can I say?
1] There was a class experiment/assignment that I gave to the detective. It had 10 parts to it. The students were not aware that it would be turned in to me. One thing I had learned about having students answer questions verbally in class was that it could be embarrassing for them. So, I would have students write their answers, and then I would give examples on the board, and they could check for themselves to see what their answer might mean. That way their answer stayed confidential to themselves. However, for this particular assignment, after they finished writing their answers, I had them submit their papers. I chose one section of the assignment and put their anonymous responses on the board. That way, no one would get embarrassed. It was all I was going to do, but the students were so interested, they wanted to look at other sections. However, it was at the end of the class period, and I said we would continue the next day. So I stapled the papers together, along with the sheet which had the questions, and put it in my desk drawer. We never did continue because I was falling behind and needed to complete the book within the required time, and felt the example I provided was sufficient. The stapled papers remained in my desk drawer until the detective came into my class to interview me [as he did with Roger’s other teachers]. When he asked me if I had any work of Roger’s, I explained the only thing I ever really had them do which they submitted were the studysheets, which after being graded, were returned to them. Then I remembered the assignment. I found Roger’s and gave it to the detective. After he read it, he asked me what 2 of the sections were. I showed him the question sheet. At that point, he showed me what Roger had written. Then the detective left, taking the assignment. He returned a couple of days later to ask if I had possibly found any other work of Roger’s. He then explained what else he had found out and how it related to what Roger had written on the assignment.
2] my visit to see Mrs. Ellison is made to sound like I just showed up at her house and told her I had diagnosed Roger as being suicidal. Although it is a fact that I met with her, the description of how it occurred is totally inaccurate. I was contacted by the detective that she would like to talk to me. He and I discussed what could be said. So while at the house, I was basically noncommittal about everything. The statement that I “diagnosed” Roger as suicidal” is ludicrous. I know that I am not a psychologist, and have never pretended to be. So I didn’t say that, and never would have said that. The next day or so I met again with the detective and [as best as I can describe it] was “debriefed”. That was the last time I met with the detective.
3] in 1997, I had a telephone conversation with a person who identified himself as a detective from the Sheriffs Dept. who had been given the assignment of looking into Roger’s case again. He asked if I was willing to come out to Colorado for a new interview. I asked if I would be compensated for all costs–> gas, food, and lodging. I was told no. I asked if there was a departmental budget that would allow him to come out here. He said there was, and that he actually had a conference to attend in LA in a couple of weeks. He asked if he could come up to my house at that time. I told him that was fine. I then asked if they still had Rogers paper that I had given the detective, and his notebook. He really didn’t give me a solid answer. Bottom line, this person never showed up.
So that’s it. If the Sheriffs Dept. wants to comment on the class assignment and what is contained in the detective’s notebook, that will be their decision.
Now I would like to present some awards.
1] For the “Are You Really That Stupid” Award–> that goes to peridot1. You wrote “ I did hear once that Mr. Pash was arrested in Washington State for manslaughter and was in prison. Well that turned out not to be true. So unless I can prove it I will only post if I’ve heard it from more than one source.” Not only did you state that it was false, but you still stated it, and then you restated the rumor later. Added to that there is the rumor that I confessed? If that was even remotely true, doesn’t that require an arrest? And then your last posting says that you have nothing more to add, because anything else would be rumor. Everything you posted was rumor. But what clinched the award for you is your belief that 2 sources for a rumor makes it a fact. Based on that logic, since both Chicken Little and Turkey Lurkey stated that the sky was falling, it had to be true. Undoubtedly, this viewpoint is based on the reality that professional reporters do use 2 sources before they state anything. However, and this is where you messed up, their sources are actually people who they know are in positions which deal with the topic being investigated. They don’t rely upon anybody who happens to stroll by. So I repeat my question… Are You Really That Stupid?
2] For the “Best Way To Trivialize An Important Issue” Award–> that goes to those of you, and especially Mysterylover, for your wonderful use of the smiley face icons. If there is any thing that can minimize the seriousness of an issue, the use of smiley faces would have to be near the top of the list. And you all use such a wonderful array of them.
3] For the “Best Use of Yellow Journalism” Award–> that goes to the website Finding Roger Ellison. It is obvious that a conclusion had already been reached, and it was necessary to find anything [unsubstantiated rumors do well] that prove an already held belief. The lack of any real training or experience is obvious. So what has been your experience with a newspaper? Making sure it landed on the porch every morning? Actually, those skills learned on the high school newspaper covering fashion trends need to be revamped by you. Unless of course you want to work for some gossip tabloid. One might even think that you are hoping for a book deal, or a television script at least.
One other thing I noticed that I found interesting. The website itself provided “official items” for sale. Just one question–> when you all meet at camp during the summer, do you wear your official beanies as you exchange secret messages to be deciphered with the use of your official decoder rings? And now that website is being put up for sale. Gee, what can be a better example of American capitalism–> take a serious issue and turn it into a moneymaking venture. [Oh no, does that mean I am a communist?] However, might I propose an alternative? Start your own new club. Sounds exciting, huh? You can all get oversized buttons, and along the outer edge you can put the partial quote “You can fool some of the people all of the time”. And then in bold letters in the middle of the button, you can put “I’m The Fool”!! You can pick a club theme song, maybe “Fool on the Hill”. And yes, Mysterylover, you can even add a smiley face.
Do you realize that studies show that even when a rumor has been exposed as false, roughly 25% still believe the rumor to be true [think WMDs or birth certificates]?
I am sure that the usual response of the irresponsible is that it was done with the best intentions. Well, we all know where that paved road leads. And be rest assured keymob77, I am not “shaking in my boots”. But let’s see if I can return the favor. As I stated, anonymity is the shield of the irresponsible. And none of you have minded listing my name, town of residence, or my place of employment. So, if you are so sure of your convictions and the mission you are on, why not do the same–> instead of hiding behind those adorable user ids, step out into the light. List your names, towns of residence, and places of employment. Do unto others… Oh I’m sorry, you’re not willing to do that?!? Too much exposure?!? Concerned that possibly you didn’t say things properly and might be held liable for your statements? So let’s see whose got the “huevos rancheros” [as we say here in the valley]. I’ll check back in about a month or so and see who steps up to the plate. Until then, you all have one more assignment. Now this might be a little scary, but something which will be worthwhile. Turn off the computer, and leave the confines of your command bunker in the basement. Go to the nearest community college and see if there is still time and available space to sign up for the Introduction to Critical Thinking and Logic course.
But now I would like to leave a note for Roger with the hope he will read it. I do not know that he is dead, and would like to think that, in fact, he is still alive and doing well. So Roger, as you can see from these websites devoted to finding out what happened to you, it is time to end the search. Do you have to explain anything to these sleuthies? No. You do need to inform the Delta County Sheriffs about your situation. I would hope that they would respect your right of privacy and not publicly divulge your explanation if you ask that of them. Do you need to discuss it with your family members? That sir is your choice, but probably some sort of explanation would be in order.
Comments anyone? — Lori