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Seeking Further Protection


Reinhard accepted a small settlement from State Farm Insurance, and then, because our last ditch attempt at a meeting with my family had failed, he and I decided to file for restraining orders, to keep them away from all of us.  If we were going to be working in the LA area, it could be quite dangerous without such papers.  We believed that my parents were just as dangerous (if not more so) now as/than they had been three years before.  

We filled out forms for the sheriff to serve my family with the necessary papers.  The defendants (my family) needed to be served at least five days before the hearing was scheduled to take place, or else it would be cancelled.  Sheila and Jared knew this; so they took to hiding.

Representatives from the sheriff’s office made six visits to their house to serve the papers, but my family simply refused to answer the door each time.

This continued for weeks, postponing our first hearing, and putting our second one into question.  We decided to hire a private process server named Kathy Brown.

Kathy asked questions about my family’s schedule: where they worked, where they lived, what time they left home, and so on.  Because I had not lived at home for years, I could not accurately provide the information.

We decided to park near my parents' house very early one morning, and note what time they left, then pass that information on to Kathy, to give her a better chance of catching them on their way out of the house.

Jeremy, Jesse, and I parked our newly acquired camper about 100 yards from the house.  We took it in turns peeking through the curtains at the back to see who would leave the house first, and when.

Soon after seven, we saw a curtain move in the upstairs part of the house.  It was Sheila.  She stared in our direction, as if wanting us to know that she knew we were in the camper.  Campers like ours stood out in that area, and she was already on the lookout for us to come with a restraining order notification.

Jared left the house first at around seven-thirty, and headed to work in his car.  Ten minutes later, Sheila came out with someone I could barely recognize.  It was Josh, my younger brother!  His appearance had changed dramatically since I last saw him three years before.  It looked like he weighed more than three hundred pounds now, mostly muscle.  He sported a beard too, and walked like a lineman from the NFL.  It took me some time to work out that it was, in fact, him.

I had learned from Jared’s deposition that Josh was a sophomore at the University of California, at Irvine.  For the three years I had been in the community, not once had Sheila let me speak, or communicate via email, with Josh.  She dangled him like a carrot, saying that I would have to come home if I ever wanted to hear from him again.

I googled UC Irvine soon after that deposition, and found Josh listed under the official student directory. It being early September, fall classes had not yet started at the university.  That explained Josh being at home with Sheila that day, instead of at school.

Sheila paused to stare at our camper once more before sliding into the driver’s side of her slick, new, black Mercedes Benz.  She had bought the car after I joined the Jesus Christians.  Sheila, Jared, John, and Josh now had four cars between them - one for each.  And to think that she had pleaded poverty as an excuse for not paying Reinhard’s medical bills!

She drove slowly up next to our camper, pausing to peer inside.  We laid low, hoping they would not spot us through the curtains blocking our window.  After a few seconds, she and Josh continued on their way.  

We passed our findings on to Kathy, who successfully served Jared on his way to work a few days later.  John had been served by Jeremy at Reinhard’s settlement hearing.  And Sheila did not need to be served, because we knew that she would turn up along with John, as she always does, to act as his spokesperson.

The hearing took place on September 24, at the Long Beach court house. Raymond Mireles presided as judge.

Raymond questioned Reinhard on what had been 'scaring' him lately.  Reinhard stated that Sheila had organized an attack which nearly claimed his life three years before, and that John had carried out the beating, with help from Sheila’s husband, Jared.  He listed some of his injuries as well: bleeding on the brain, broken teeth, a fractured spine, and so on.  Still, the judge acted as if these all meant nothing, like nearly being killed by someone was not a good reason to seek restraining orders against them.  I could not believe his callousness.

Then the judge let John speak.

John: Your honor, this is a kidney cult.  They brain-washed my little brother.

Raymond:  What kind of cult?

John:  A kidney cult.  They donate their kidneys to the leader, and he gives them drugs.  And they took my little brother.  He’s naïve.  He was a kid.  He never really had friends, so he joined this strange religion.  And they ride in campers and look at pornography and destroy families all over the world.  As you can see, he’s way out of control.  He’s probably on drugs now.  I just feel, you know, they’ve wasted my time.  I’m in college and working.  And they basically just hit on families, destroying families all over the US.  And my mom is here.  She’s a teacher.  And he just threw away his life as a basketball star.  He would have been, but he threw his life away joining up with this group right here.  Just wasting...

Raymond:  Apart from just having a brotherly love kind of thing, is that your only concern with his association with this group?

John:  Well, I mean I really want to show this video [the Fox News report], because it kind of shows how horrible this group is and…

Raymond:  Let’s assume that they’re a horrible group.  How old is Joseph?

I breathed a sigh of relief.  John had not a shred of evidence to prove his ridiculous claims, but even if he did, what did it matter who I chose to hang out with?  As an adult, I had a right to choose who I associated with.

John:  Joseph?  I believe he’s 21.  They got him when he was 16, took him out of school, and kidnapped him.  So he’s off his rocker right now.

“I was 18,” I butted in.  There wasn't time to refute the kidnapping claim.  Lies were coming too quickly to keep pace with.

Raymond [to John]: And I take it your mom would agree with you?

Sheila:  Yes, your honor.

That was all Sheila needed to take over the show.

Sheila:  I think that Joseph is probably bi-polar, and Joseph was doing very well in school before he met this group.  He was 16 years old.

It shocked me to hear Sheila suggest that I was bi-polar.  In the past she had only ever raved about how smart I was; why was she now implying something that was an outright lie?  Falsely accusing me of being mentally ill was a very low blow. 

Raymond:  What is the name of this group?

Sheila:  They call themselves the ‘Jesus Christians’.  It’s a religious, nomadic cult.  They go all over the country, all over the world actually, destroying families.  I have a letter from a lady [Liesel] who had her kids and her grandkids step in this cult for a while.  Her kids disappeared.  She didn’t know where they were at, just like Joseph disappeared.  When he was in high school, he was supposed to be valedictorian at the school.  He was supposed to go to Yale or Stanford or Cal Berkeley or UCLA.  He didn’t tell us that he was meeting with this group secretly while they were indoctrinating him and changing his mind, programming his mind to do something else.  This is a very dangerous group that he’s in.  And while they were doing all of that, they came to our house after he was 18, after he had been missing from high school.  I’m calling the FBI.  I’m calling the police.  I’m calling everybody – because my husband and I are both teachers.  We had always had good things with Joseph.  We never had any problems with him up until the time he got mixed up with this group and decided to go off with them or they – [She started to say, "They kidnapped him... but at the last moment she must have decided to just skip the kidnapping story, since this judge was a fresh slate.] I don’t know how they conned him or whatever.  For ten days he was missing from our home.

The judge let Sheila rattle on and on, even though he had barely given Reinhard thirty seconds to explain how he had been hurt from the attack three years prior.  The judge’s bias was becoming clearer. 

Sheila had claimed that Liesel’s kids and grandkids had 'disappeared'.  Yeah, just like I had been 'kidnapped'.  In reality, Liesel knew very well where her daughter (Annette) had taken her children.  Liesel had also seen her daughter as a source of easy money, paying Annette a pittance to manage her restaurant, which went bust after Annette left, when Liesel had to pay proper wages.  Liesel had, in fact, visited the group while her daughter was a member, spending whole days with her grandchildren, including outings away from the community.  But Liesel now supported Sheila in her hatred against the Jesus Christians despite her daughter having left the Jesus Christians years earlier.  Liesel continued to blame the group for her already dysfunctional relationship with her grown daughter, a relationship that Sheila seemed to have chosen with me as well.  Surely she must know that, like Annette, even if I left the Jesus Christians, I could never trust her again now.

My mother continued.

Sheila:  When he showed up on May the 5th, 2006, after having been gone for those ten days -- and we were terrorized, not knowing who he was with, not knowing what he's doing, not knowing if he's kidnapped or whatever -- he comes back with -- and this is early in the morning while we were sleeping, around 6:00 or 6:30, he comes back with Reinhard Zeuner and Jeremy, the gentleman in the back.  And they barged into our house.

My mother was a woman without a conscience.  She knew good and well who I was with – I had told her that I was with two members of the Jesus Christians, away for a trial week. 

And then there was the issue of time.  We came to the house on May 5 at 7 am; she claimed that we had arrived an hour earlier as if that somehow justified their murder attempt against Reinhard.

Finally, there was the issue of 'barging' in.  That was the same lie they had tried during the civil suit depositions, which they were now carrying over into the restraining order hearings.  No one ‘barged’ into the house.  The three of us waited patiently to be asked in, and then walked in peacefully.  They had made up the whole 'barge' thing to try to get themselves off the hook for conspiracy to commit murder.

But this was like five days of depositions crammed into 30 minutes, and whoever talked the fastest would win.  Sheila was way in front already.

Sheila:  My husband asked -- [She almost said it:  'My husband asked them in,' but then she backs up.] They came with Joseph.  He opens the door to let Joseph in.  And when he opens the door to let Joseph in, he didn't see those other two.  They barge in, call themselves ‘killers for Christ’, and start terrorizing our house and doing all kind of weird gestures. So then John comes over.  By the time John gets over there -- because he lived around the corner from us and I had called John -- he saw this gentleman here pushing or pulling my husband out of the house.

The same lies that had failed them in the depositions, she uses over again in another court.  

Raymond:  Reinhard?

Sheila:  My husband had asked him to leave several times, and he wouldn't leave.  He started the whole thing by the way that he acted, the way that he conducted himself.

The case was supposed to be between Reinhard, John, and me, but Sheila had shouldered her way to center stage once again in a matter where she should not have even been testifying, and she was not going to share the limelight with anyone.

Raymond:  Between that incident and, say, today's date, have you had any contact with this group?  

Sheila:  The only contacts that we've had have been in court.  They had a whipping trial.  That's when they said he chased him.  Fox news was there recording, where they beat Joseph with slave-like whips on national TV to embarrass us, to slanderize our name, to make us all look ridiculous, including Joseph.  My husband was in the video.  John was in the video.  He has the video here.  I was not in the video, but they did that on Fox news.  Then they put all these newspaper articles in about our family.  They've said all this stuff.  We have not initiated any contact with them because we don't know where they're at.  They took Joseph to Kenya several times, took him to the UK, and who knows where else?

Sheila did not want to discuss why we had held the mock trial, though it seemed that Judge Raymond wasn't all that interested anyway.  He was getting an earful from Sheila and apparently believing every word of it.

Sheila pretended not to have done anything to harass us.  In reality, she had hired private investigators to chase me around the world.  She had illegally impersonated an IRS official in another attempt to locate my whereabouts.  She did a lot of footwork for someone who supposedly had “not initiated any contact”. 

Raymond:  Reinhard, as to Sheila, what is your complaint about Sheila?

Reinhard said that Sheila had orchestrated the attack against him three years before, and said that she had not once expressed an ounce of remorse for what happened.  

Raymond:  Now, Joseph, what is your complaint against your -- I guess your mother and your brother?

Me:  It all stemmed from an attack against my friend that happened on May 5th, 2006.  I wanted to briefly show you the video [of the attack] because it's quite important.  My friend nearly died.  The reason it was thrown out in the criminal courts is because the video was never shown.  The witness wasn't contacted.  I think it's important for the background of the case for you to see the video.

We were experiencing how much damage could be done by one unjust court decision.  The burden was on Reinhard and me to show that Jared, John, and Sheila had done anything wrong.  After all, the Long Beach Police Department did not think they had done anything wrong!

Me:  The attack happened when I came to visit my parents with Reinhard and Jeremy Kronmiller, seated in the back.

I pointed to where Jeremy sat next to Jesse.

Me:  We came at about 7 o'clock, and my mother called my brother John, who lives about five minutes away, and told him that we came, and instructed him essentially to carry out her wishes, which ended in my friend nearly dying.  What you'll see was only 13 seconds of an attack that lasted probably between three to five minutes.  You can see where…

Raymond:  If I could see it, why describe it?

Me:  Okay, sure.  I can show it to you.

As we were setting up the video, Reinhard spoke up:

Reinhard:  I have pictures of me in the hospital after being attacked, just to fill the gap -- I mean now until the movie is started here.

Raymond offered no response to Reinhard’s remark, and the video started soon after.

Me: [as the video was being shown] That's the actual attack.  You see John -- he's my brother here, in the white shirt, and you can see him delivering those punches to Reinhard while he's laying unconscious on the ground, and you can see my father Jared kicking him.  He delivers two kicks.  Jeremy -- the guy in the back -- is the one who is trying to stop the attack, and all of this is only 13 seconds of an attack that lasted at least three minutes.

Raymond:  That's Reinhard that's laying on the ground there?

Me:  Yes, that's Reinhard.  That's my friend.

Raymond:  All right.  This is in 2006?

Me:  Yeah.  So immediately after the attack, my mother orchestrated for me to be taken to see some cult buster.  I was forced to go against my will.

Raymond:  How old were you in 2006?

Me:  I was 18.  My father left the front passenger seat open.  He sat on the right of me, and my younger brother, Joshua, sat on the left of me, so I couldn't escape. 

As I spoke, the harrowing nature of prior events started coming back.  I struggled to push aside those feelings and to remain rational for the sake of the hearing.

Me:  John got into the vehicle and started aggressively putting his forearm in my side, screaming at me, telling me that he wanted to beat me up.  The only thing that stopped that is I threatened to call the police.  Earlier I didn't call the police at the assault because, you know, growing up I had a lot of family loyalty type teachings and basically that influenced me not deciding to call the police. But at that point, because, you know, John was getting physically aggressive with me, I threatened that I would call the police.  That's one episode with John.

Raymond: What was the next episode?

Me:  We had a protest demonstration in October of 2006, and I…”

Raymond:  A demonstration?

Me:  Yeah, the reason being that, unfortunately, the prosecution was…

I then decided not to go into the injustices of the Long Beach Police Department.  This might not be the best person to hear that!  So I backed up and started again.

Me:  Anyway, we had a protest demonstration, and my older brother brought along some of his friends and chased me into the building.  And we had to call the police to exit safely.

John became visibly agitated upon hearing me say that, letting out a ‘huff’ while stepping backwards to further highlight his feelings.  I continued, disregarding his attempts to throw me off track.

Me:  I left the country after that.  I went to Kenya and I went to England.  I spent a total of probably two years in the UK.

The judge gave me a strange look when I said that.  I couldn’t quite understand why – was there anything wrong with a young man doing some traveling?  But I had forgotten that he had already been biased by Sheila’s comments about me being 'taken' to these other countries.  It is amazing how even trained judges can fall for emotional phrases and hysterical pictures, especially when the 'c' word is used.

I shared a bit more about my experiences within the community, in an attempt to give him a more balanced picture, before he asked Sheila to give her side of the story (again!).

Sheila:  I'm Joseph's mother.  And like I told you before, Joseph got involved in this group.  This is a very malicious, destructive group.

Raymond:  That may or may not be the case.  I'm just curious.  They feel threatened by you and John and I guess Jared.

'Feel threatened'?  Had he even watched the video?  The video was hard, irrefutable evidence, and yet he was disregarding it in preference for Sheila's sensational lies.  But Sheila did have a strong point in her own favor with regard to the video:

Sheila:  If you look on the video, I'm nowhere on that video.

Raymond:  I see.

Me:  Oh, I'm sorry, I left one important thing out.

Sheila:  He's got his moment.  Let me finish


Raymond:  Go ahead.

Sheila:  I have never threatened Joseph or Reinhard or pursued them.  So, therefore, the only time we encountered any exchange with them is when they came to break in and take Joseph and take property.  Or when they continued to have these trials like we're having here now, this forces us to be around them.  But other than that, I don't know where they're at, first of all, because they go all over the world.

I looked at the judge as Sheila spoke.  He seemed to be swallowing her story hook-line-and-sinker.

Sheila:  They go to Kenya, like he said.  They go to the UK.  They go all over the United States. So, therefore, I'm no threat to them.  I don't know how to reach them.  And I've never threatened them.  So why am I being thrown into it, other than Joseph has to prove his loyalty to his group to show them he can hate his parents?

Wrong, wrong, wrong.  Sheila was (and continues to be) a threat to both myself, and the rest of the Jesus Christian community.  She was the mastermind behind it all, and almost certainly the author of all the lies that were concocted to justify what she orchestrated.  At every point along the way, it has been Sheila who has acted as the chief spokesperson.  John and Jared got all of their hate material from her.  They said as much under oath.  True, she is clever enough to stay out of sight, but it's like saying that Hitler had nothing to do with the extermination of the Jews simply because he was not photographed at the death camps.  

Sheila continues to this day to work frantically behind the scenes to seek revenge on me and the rest of the Jesus Christians for having defied her.  The more she has been able to get away with it, and the more support she has received from people like Liesel, the more dangerous she becomes... to me and to everyone in the Jesus Christians.

Sheila:  That's why my husband is being dragged into it too.  We've done nothing but show Joseph love and kindness all his life, including now.

My parents did do a lot for me growing up; but as for now, no way!  Did they value my right to arrive at my own conclusions on important issues... conclusions that differed from their own?  All of her lies right there in that court acted as mute testimony to her total disregard for me and my rights.  And Sheila shows this again, by patronizingly saying that I 'need help', like I am some kind of a sick animal that only she can heal with her miracle-working powers.

Sheila:  Even though he's in this group, I'm sympathetic for him.  I know that he needs help.  And I know until he recognizes he needs help, there is nothing I can do for him.  He has to recognize he has a problem.

Raymond:  You have no axe to grind so to speak?

Sheila:  I have no axe to grind against anyone, because I just feel that Joseph has been led into a very, you know...

Raymond:  That aside.

The judge was trying hard to tell Sheila that she needed to mask her hatred if she was going to convince him that she was not a threat.

Sheila:  But I have no axe to grind because I'm still his mother at the end of the day.  He's still my son.  He's just on the wrong side of the fence, and he's been lying for these people.

Mother, yes.  God, no.  And the lying was all coming from her side of the fence.  I was, in her eyes, a traitor who needed to be put down because I had not lied to cover for what she and the rest of my family had done to Reinhard.

Raymond:  The problem that belies your statement that you can care less is that you still have this animus toward this group, whatever they do.  Run around.  Break up families.  Live in trailers.  Run around the world.

Sheila:  I don't have anything against this group other than what they stand for.  I'm not a violent person.

If people reading this book do not remember anything else from having read it, I hope that they will remember that one line.  Jesus Christians do not kidnap people; they do not rob homes; they do not destroy families; they do not deal drugs; they do not sell kidneys.  Jesus Christians stand for the teachings of Jesus Christ.  Teachings about peace and love and honesty.  That is what they and I stand for.  And that is what people like Sheila and Liesel and Rick Ross and Craig Hendry and the Fox News team and the Long Beach Police Department all hate about us, i.e. what we stand for.  Everything else is just a front for what really has them all so angry.  The 'whipping trial', for example, stood for love, for a willingness to take the punishment ourselves to demonstrate that love, and for a genuine offer of forgiveness (as well as anger at the crime).  Fox News could not afford to even raise the question of why it was being done.  Instead, they had to pretend that they had sneaked inside an evil secret group that regularly whips each other, or, as Sheila would have people believe, that turns African Americans like myself into slaves and then 'slave-whips' them. 

But the trial had not even happened when the attack on Reinhard took place.  It happened simply because the Jesus Christians teach voluntary poverty, based on the teachings of Jesus.  The moment Sheila had discovered that, in our mutual reading of things the Jesus Christians were saying on the Internet, she labelled them a cult, and everything else sprang from there.

Sheila:  We're not doing anything to them.  I don't see them.  I don't know where they're at.

Me:  Sorry.  When I was giving my statement, I was only referring to John.  So I didn't even have a chance to explain why I had the restraining order against my mother.

Raymond:  So what about your mother?

Me:  With my mother, she was holding a .38 caliber pistol during the attack, looking outside of a window, which I saw.  And she’s the one that called John, who wasn’t even living at the house.  She’s the one, in my opinion, that orchestrated the entire thing.

Things had been moving so quickly that the judge had jumped from John to giving Sheila a chance to defend herself, before I could even explain why Reinhard and I had taken out a restraining order against her! Whew, restraining order hearings were intense!

Me:  We had a storage facility in Long Beach, California, a ‘U-Store-It’.  She impersonated an IRS official, went there and tried to pretend that she was on official IRS business to obtain my whereabouts.  We have a guy who unfortunately couldn’t make it today, but he’s willing to testify to that fact. When I left the country, I went to Kenya.  She hired someone to try to track me down then.  So it’s a continual thing.

Raymond:  You’ve said you were gone for about two years.  After that time, has there been any efforts that you can recall that your mother was trying to get in touch with you?

Me:  I’ve continued communication with my mother over the past three years.  I still write to her.  I’ve written maybe close to a hundred emails to her over the past three years.

I had brought with me copies of emails I had sent to Sheila since joining.

Me:  I made a few phone calls, maybe five or six.  But with the phone calls, she would attempt to cast demons out of me as a way of…

Raymond:  Cast out demons?

Me:  Yeah.  She’d pretend, like, ‘You have a demon, Joe.  You have a demon.  The Lord is going to save you.’  This kind of stuff, which it’s just harassment in my opinion.

Sheila had pretended to be talking to a demon inside of me during a phone conversation before the mock trial, punctuated with her speaking in tongues.  Such a verbal assault creates an impossible situation for the person being addressed as a demon.  It is the ultimate in terms of 'demonizing the enemy'.

Sheila:  I have not done anything to them.  Everything that has been happening has been coming from their group leader, from emails that they put out about us, very slanderous emails.  They put it on – they put that video on ‘Youtube’ as soon as I released it to them.

This is pretty significant.  My mother talks about the Jesus Christians putting out 'slanderous' emails, and then she cites the video of the attack as an illustration of what she objects to.  Was the video a lie?  Was it slanderous?  Of course not.  It is the truth that Sheila hates.  One minute earlier she was boasting that the video exonerated her, because she did not appear in it; but here she is damning us for letting people see a video which supposedly proved her innocence.   .

Sheila: And with the whipping trial that he described to you as something else, it was a whipping trial that John has a videotape.  He wants to show it to you.

Bear in mind that the video of the attack had no sound.  The evidence spoke for itself.  If there had been no sound on the Fox News report, the judge would have been scratching his head as to what it was all about.  It shows Dave, the 'evil cult leader', being whipped.  Granted, one would need words to learn that Dave was accepting the punishment in the place of my father, who was too gutless to even turn up at the trial.  But one would hardly get Sheila's image of a 'slave whip' from watching Dave being whipped by a Latin American, would they?

But Fox News are experts at adding their own words to make the pictures say something which is often quite opposite to their own explanations.  And the gullible masses lap it up.  Raymond certainly seemed to be slurping a bit after watching it!

Raymond:  Let’s see the whipping trial.

Sheila:  Look at the videotape and look at how ridiculous they act toward us and what they’re doing.  They’re trying to poison our image.

It's amazing that Sheila had videotaped evidence of what was admittedly a controversial and somewhat bizarre demonstration on our part, narrated by a film crew who totally sympathized with her, and still she says that the video 'poisoned' her 'image'.  No, the video was the absolute best possible effort on the part of Fox News to repair a horrendous image which Sheila had already created.  And even with all that assistance, she did not really come through as the goddess that she imagines herself to be.

Sheila:  I worked hard for everything I’ve gotten in this country.  I’m an American citizen.  Reinhard was here out of Germany meeting with my son, poisoning his mind, programming him to be something that he’s not and to betray his family.

Does anyone detect a touch of racism in those comments about Reinhard?  Is it okay to kill people from other countries who don't work as hard for money as yourself?  And how did I 'betray' my family?  Wasn't it by not joining Sheila in her conspiracy to commit murder?

Sheila:  So, since the the police and the FBI and our laws don’t help you if your kid is 18, I backed off; because there is nothing I can do.  You know what I’m saying?

Sheila seems to have forgotten that this guy is supposed to be representing the laws of the country!  She was stepping over an important line here.

Raymond:  He’s not a kid at 18.  He’s an adult.

Sheila:  Yeah, that’s what I’m saying.  If he was 17, then I could do something.  By him being 18, I don’t try to pursue him.

I glanced over at Sheila, to see if her face would reveal the dishonesty of the comment she had just made.  She didn’t try to pursue me because I was over 18?  What a lie.  So she tries to adjust her statement a bit, as though responding to my stare.

Sheila:  And yes, I did hire an investigator in Kenya to see how he was doing because I assumed he was kidnapped.  I didn’t know.  But I haven’t been hiring investigators since 2006.

There she went again, playing the 'kidnapped' card.  She hired the private investigator to track me down in 2007 - not 2006, long after I had turned nineteen.  And he did not just gather information.  He came to our village, pretending to be from the U.S. Embassy, sent there to take me away.  If Sheila wanted to talk kidnapping, she needed to get her facts straight about who was the one trying to do it.

Sheila:  I haven’t tried to pursue Joseph because Joseph has to recognize right from wrong for himself.  He’s bi-polar.  He needs help.

At the start of the hearing, Sheila had said that I was 'probably' bi-polar.  Because it was left unchallenged, she decided to upgrade it to a statement of fact.  It is because of her tendency to keep bumping things up each time she gets away with a lie or an assault that I am so convinced that she is dangerous.

Me:  Sorry.  You see that allegation.  She claims that I’m bi-polar.

Raymond:  I want to see this whipping ceremony.

What we had called a 'mock trial' Raymond was already calling a 'whipping ceremony'.  And he was so keen to see it that he could not be bothered to ask Sheila if she had any evidence for her claim that I am bi-polar.  So, we watched the Fox News videotape, pretty much knowing where it was all leading.

Me:  That’s us being chased in the building.  That’s John in the black shirt.

Sheila:  That’s their cult leader.  That’s who they follow.  That’s their Jesus now.

Raymond:  I’ve seen enough of this.

It appeared that he had been totally sucked in.

Me.  If I can give a brief explanation...

Raymond:  No, you can’t.  You’ve had your brief explanation. It’s clear to the court that this animosity between Mr. Zeuner, whatever group he belongs to, and the family still exists, and it’s a mutual animosity.  The beating, I guess, is the first contact face to face.  But it’s clear that this has not abated, through the passage of time, and I can understand why, given the relationship between John and his brother and what he perceives as this hold, I guess, that these people may or may not have over him.

I listened intently.  He seemed to be trying too hard to make it out to be even Steven, equal wrong-doing on both sides, but at least he could see that the attack was at the core of it.

Raymond:  I’m inclined to grant as to Reinhard’s application a restraining order against John for a period of two years to expire on September 23, 2011.  As to Mr. Zeuner’s application for a restraining order against Sheila Johnson, I guess…”

Sheila:  Yes?

Raymond:  That order is denied.  The court does not see any credible threat to her from…”

Reinhard:  To me?

Raymond:  To Mr. Zeuner from her.  Joseph’s application against his brother is also denied.

What?  I looked over at Reinhard in shock; how could he dismiss such overwhelming evidence?  A restraining order does not need proof of guilt (although we had it), but only proof of danger.  And yet he totally ignored the very real danger that John represents to me.

Raymond:  I’m going to deny your application against your mom.  In the court’s opinion, there’s no credible threat of violence or harassment.  But as long as Mr. Zeuner, and whoever else, is pursuing that civil suit, there’s going to be this friction.

How could he see a perfectly legitimate civil suit as cause for them to do anything against us.  Here we were, once again, with the laws of the land telling Sheila and John that, if Reinhard did not drop his action against John and Jared, they had a right to behave aggressively (and maybe even violently) against Reinhard and myself.

Fortunately for us, the civil suit had been settled.  But the 'friction' as Raymond described it was not, and it was going to get worse.  John spoke up:

John:  Your honor, I also put a restraining order on all these guys.

So, does John get a lecture about how he is causing friction?  After all, Raymond had just seen what John was capable of.  He saw no evidence of us showing any violence toward John or any other member of my family.

Raymond:  When does that come up for hearing?

John:  October 1st.

Raymond:  All right.  We’ll hear that, if it’s still in effect until that date.

Me:  I’m sorry.  I was never given a full opportunity to explain my case against my mother.  

Sheila had cut me off when I was trying to explain my reasons for seeking a restraining order against her. 

Raymond:  Well, I’ve heard the basis for it.  

Sheila:  Thank you, your honor.

Raymond:  Thank you.

We left quickly, hoping to avoid my family on the way out the building.

Click here to read part 22 of Joe's Story
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