Harassment Diary

by Paulette Cooper, 1982

My 1997 editorial comments are enclosed in [[double square brackets]]. Also, I have added some paragraph breaks.

Part 19: Betrayal by Jerry, etc.

In late September, when the ordeal of a trial seemed inevitable (it was scheduled for October 31st, 1973), something made me look up my cancelled checks of the previous year. When I first saw that check I thought nothing of it, but as my eye caught the date, I froze.

I had written out a check to the United Farm Workers and given it to Margie Shepherd on December 6th the night before the first bomb threat was mailed.

I had totally forgotten about that whole visit--and now I remembered something else about her. She had never removed her coat or gloves in the half hour she sat in my sweltering apartment. And Joy remembered that also when I called then to ask if she remembered Margery. ****

My lawyers were very excited when I called them with the discovery and told me to immediately go through lists of Scientologists, because it would be most helpful (to say the least) if we could prove that someone who might know the complainant (Meisler)[[the Scientology PR man who had claimed to have received the bomb threats and named me as a likely suspect]] had been in my apartment the night before the first bomb threat was mailed.

I was going through John Seffern' s[[*]] lists with no luck on Margie when I almost fell over. There, among a list of high ranking Scientologists was the name '"Jerry Levin" -- the same man who had been living in my apartment for at least six months.

I simply did not want to believe it. Barbara [[my best friend, a writer who lived in the building]] and I confronted Jerry with it, but he rightly pointed out that it was a common name, especially in New York, and he turned on me. After all he had done for me, how could I accuse him of being a Scientologist?

He almost completely convinced me that I had gone so crazy that I was now suspicious of everyone. I ended up feeling guilty for doubting and accusing him, even more so when he left shortly thereafter.

This strong suspicion of betrayal [[**]] added to my bad mental state, as did the fact that once he left I was alone. If I was wrong, then I had self-destructively driven away someone I could have leaned on during the trial. (Indeed, Jerry had offered to be a character witness for me at the trial, and I cringe now when I think of the scenario if that had happened!)

Almost everyone was gone. Bob [[my boyfriend]] had left me completely around August, after he had come over one evening and I had been too depressed to even fix myself up or clean the place before his arrival. Paula [[***]] was gone. Jerry was gone. Most of my friends avoided me because I was hardly a cheerful companion. (1)


(1) As one of my previously close friends explained, he simply could not talk to me about what was happening because it was so horrible that he was depressed every time for days after seeing me.

[[1997 Footnotes:]]

[[* John Seffern was an attorney who had fought a case against Scientology. He and his former wife had once been Scientologists and he was on their mailing list for over 20 years, receiving Freedoms, etc. He kept them for me so we could periodically go through the names looking for Scientologists.]]

[[** note the word "suspicion." I simply refused to believe that Jerry was a Scientologist until I saw the Washington documents about 8 years later.]]

[[*** Paula Tyler, unbeknownst to me, was also a Scientologist, and she was introduced to me by Margie Shepherd and Paula in turn introduced me to Jerry. So that's how I was set up: from Margie to Paula to Jerry.]]

[[**** I may have mentioned in an earlier entry that I now believe Margie may have had stationery taped to the back of the clipboard (holding the petition I signed for the United Farm Workers) and that's how they got my fingerprint..

Or more likely, she grabbed a piece of stationery when I went into get her a drink, and the stationery was Joy's which I had touched and that's how they got my fingerprint. Or she unlocked the little latch for the door so someone else could come into the apartment later and get my stationery.

According to the FBI, Jerry was the one who actually obtained the stationery, so she either gave it to him, or he entered the apartment when I wasn't there and grabbed some paper.]]

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