Following are the remarks Janey read on the lawn of the courthouse on April 15, 2016.
My name is Janey O’Connor, I am Jack McCullough’s step daughter, and all I am about to say is based on my thorough reading of the publicly available FBI documents and my understanding of my Dad’s case.
We live in a nation of laws, we appoint men and women to uphold and enforce those laws and we pay them with our tax dollars. This case is not about justice for Maria Ridulph, it quit being such when Brion Hanley, Larry Kot, Julie Travanther, Vic Escardia and Clay Campbell started lying about evidence. This case is about the epidemic that is facing this country, an epidemic of immoral behavior and criminal actions perpetrated by the very people we put in a positions of power and authority. Laws are not just for the poor, they are for everyone to follow. In the last five years of this case, we have witnessed blatant immoral and criminal behavior in two states and in multiple positions in our judicial system, something must be done.
It is not that Hanley, Kot, Campbell, Escardida and Travanther played fast and loose with our laws, they blatantly broke the laws of our nation in pursuit of their own selfish gain, their own five seconds of fame. These people were so comfortable with breaking the very laws they were paid to uphold and enforce, they went on TV and bragged about it. People could think this only happens in small towns like Sycamore but that is proven not to be true in this case. The immoral and criminal behavior in this case happened in Seattle Washington as well with the actions of Cloyd Steiger and Micheal Ciesynski. I would make the point to ask Officer Steiger and Officer Ciesynski, How can an innocent man make self-incriminating statements?
One thing is quite clear after reading countless interviews done in 1957 and 1958, Sycamore Illinois was a small town even by 1957 standards. I have read the numerous interviews done by the FBI in which everyone knew the girls. I read Eileen and Ralph Tessier’s interview where they stated they knew both girls quite well because they played with Jack’s siblings, Maria Ridulph played with Bob Tessier. Kathy Chapman spoke of rekindling old friendships in regards to Jack’s sisters. Maria played at Peterson’s, the next door neighbors to the Tessiers. The prosecution and Kathy Chapman wanted us all to believe some how Jack was the only one in town that no one knew, the invisible guy with flames painted on his car. Except by Charles Ridulph’s own words in 2012, he had seen Jack a thousand times.
The prosecution illegally released a July 27, 1958 document in order to show the abduction happened at a much earlier time than the historic seven p.m. However, like everything in this case they attempted to hide the truth by only releasing a small portion of the document. The document states: “it was known that a man was with the girls much earlier than reported.” This is not in reference to when the man was with the girls or when Maria was taken. It was in reference to when it was known a man had been with the girls by those searching for her. A full reading of this document makes it obvious, but blanking out 3/4th of the second page leaves the reader wondering. Kathy did not come up with her stories of Johnny until well after 7:30 pm but adult size footprints where found at 7:20pm. This is just one of many examples of the lengths Clay Cambell, Brion Hanley, Larry Kot, Vic Escardia and Julie Travanther went to in order to manipulate the media. What is discouraging is the media read this document, allowed Hanley and Kot to insert the word “abduction” when it is not there, and then reported this lie. If Mr. Doty, the author of “Piggyback” can read the reports available at the time of trial, and write the book related to Jack’s innocence, the rest of the media should have been able to do the same.
I do not believe that Kathy Chapman set out to ruin an innocent man’s life but that is precisely what her testimony did. I have sympathy for 8 year old Kathy; a child wants to please the adults, a child wants to tell the adults what they want to hear, a child does not fully understand the implications of their actions. At trial a 68 year old Kathy testified to not remembering picking Thomas Rivald out of a live line up on 12/22/1957. Kathy did not remember being driven to Milwaukee by the FBI, viewing this line up, jumping out of her chair and shouting “that’s him that’s him!” She did not remember having a motion picture made with Thomas. Yet she wanted to have us all believe that she clearly remembered the face, which does not match her original descriptions, in 1957 under a street light that did not exist. As an adult, I would expect Kathy to understand when you testify as fact to something you do not remember without the spoon feeding help of Brion Hanley then you are lying. Kathy will have to live with her actions and the part she played in sending an innocent man to prison. The FBI reported that within an hour after Maria was abducted Kathy was confused with “Johnny’s” description per Mrs. Sigman. In the immediate days following Maria’s abduction, the police and many others questioned Kathy’s ability to identify the man last seen with Maria. There was concern she was confused with the stories and description of “Johnny” and she was enjoying the attention far too much. I believe her enjoyment of the attention is as true today as it was in 1957.
I understand people are emotionally invested in Jack being guilty. Sadly, those people were lied to. I first became suspicious after reading the charging papers in July of 2011. The Seattle police reported on events of that last week I knew to be factually incorrect. I did not know if Jack was innocent or guilty, but I knew those arresting him were not honest men. My first trip to Sycamore was to seek the truth. The case for Charlse Ridulph is vastly different than mine. Brion Hanley and Clay Cambell came to him under the guise of friendship. They preyed on his family tragedy for their personal gain. They used his suffering and pain to further their own sick agenda. Julie Travarthen convinced Charles Ridulph to have his sister exhumed. Everyone knew based on the original autopsy and pictures, which I have seen, and the lime sprinkled on the body, there was nothing to gain but press coverage. Charles was lied to by the very people his tax dollars pay to uphold the law. Charles should have been able to trust those people the State of Illinois had placed in positions of power and authority. We should all have the ability to have faith in our police and judicial system. How can faith in our judicial system be possible when people like Clay Cambell, Julie Travarthen, Vic Escardida Brion Hanley, and Larry Kot go unpunished.
We can all pretend that this sort of thing does not happen to the average person. We can all pretend that as long as we play by the rules, go to work, pay our taxes and abide by the law that we will be free to live our lives in peace. Jack and I both thought that very same thing up until 5 years. We have a problem in our country when people in a position of power and authority break the law for their own personal gain and go unpunished. There is a reason the Seattle police and those involved in Sycamore did not even bother to hide their immoral behavior. Why should they when they know they will never be held accountable. In their prospective careers how many other innocent people did they send to prison? How many guilty people were allowed to go free because the police and prosecution were to busy framing innocent people because it was the expedient thing to do.