Sunday, August 1, 2010

Update on Con Man Terry Johnston

Update on a previous post about a guy who's been ripping off Christians, Pagans, AIDS support groups, and others since 1998, who's most recently been seen in the Indianapolis area:

I got this from Holli Emore:

"Many of you will remember “Raven,” or “Terry Johnston,” who has passed through most of our cities in the Carolinas at one time or another over the years, with his story that he only has a few weeks to live and just wants to get back home to Los Angeles so he can be buried by his friends. 

As you know, Johnston turns out to be a career con, presenting himself as either Pagan or Christian, depending on who he thinks will pay for his hotel, etc.  In case you h ad any doubts about him, be aware that he has turned up other places, preying on an elderly couple in Aiken last March/April, and last week in Indianapolis.  In the latter, his story was that his house is being renovated, so he has to be in a hotel for a time.

I met with a detective at Richland County Sheriff’s Department here in Columbia, SC, this morning.  Since Johnston did not try to sell me anything and I have no cancelled check for services or products I did not receive, it will be a bit more difficult to make a case against him.  The investigator is willing to take your statement by phone, if you are willing to call and share your experience with him.

In case you may be squeamish, may I remind you that my concern is not to punish Johnston, but to protect future victims.  He nearly walked away with close to $800 people had sent me for him in December.  Some of those people apologized that they could only afford to send $3, but wanted to help! 

I want to get something into the system so that his photo turns up when people make a report.  It doesn’t matter if you were out of state or outside Richland County.  The more stories he can accumulate, the more likely a judge will be willing to listen.

**Will you call Investigator Ric Stephens, 803-576-3063?   Reference Case # 0912208423

Thank you for helping Ma’at to bring a bit of balance back to us.  If you have questions, feel free to get in touch with me by email at Sekhmet at osireion dot com  Feel free to share/repost this message."

Holli Emore

The biggest reasons Johnston has been able to get away with this for over a decade is that people do not want to get involved, even if they already are. I've heard from a wide range of people all over the country, and over and over again it's the same thing: 

"I don't want to look like a homophobe/hater/witch war starter"

"I don't want to look stupid for getting duped"

"I don't want have bad karma/feed negativity"

"Reporting him would be turning on a fellow GLBT/Pagan/Christian, and we have to stick together"

"If I talk to the police, they'll just think I'm out for revenge and tell me they can't do anything"

"This attack will only perpetuate the cycle of hate - we need to apply love in order to heal him of his self-hate"

I'm hearing this even from people who rant and rave that "Somebody has to DO something", but everybody wants it to be somebody else.

You're worried about looking bad to someone else? How do you think you'll look to the people he swindles AFTER you pass on your chance to speak up? And as I said in my original post, "A person who steals a group's identity to take advantage of that group does not deserve it's protection or loyalty." Who's your priority, your real homies, or some yo-yo who pretends to be one of you in order to steal from you?

That goes for the people who've informed me that this is "feeding negativity" or going to give me bad karma too. Have you checked on the negativity levels or karma balance for letting this jerk keep on fleecing people, and giving whatever ID he poses as a bad name in the process, when it might be prevented?

You're worried about looking dumb for being taken advantage of? All that means is you wanted to to the humane thing and help someone out, and goes double for those of you who are living on SS checks or are out of work, which is a lot of us. Not knowing you were being lied to does not make you a waste of space.

The idea of talking to the police can be stressful some people, and I know from first hand experience that there are LEOs who do treat everyone like a perp who just hasn't been caught yet. If that's what you're concerned about, here's your chance for things to be otherwise. The investigators you'll be talking to already know we're telling the truth, they just need our statements to convince a judge of it. The more people they hear from, the more likely that is to happen.

As for the (thankfully few) individuals who have given me that last line (and that's a direct c/p from an email);

Your reality check has not only bounced, it's ricocheting off things and nailing people in the head.

People have been applying love to Johnston for more than ten years in the form of being ready to give of their resources to help him, even when they haven't had it to give. If a seventy-something forking over her social security check, or an already stretched AIDS group giving him money that could be going to someone who really is dying, isn't enough to "heal him", he's not going to be "healed" by you, me, or anyone else. 

If you're one of the people he's ripped off (or tried to), do a bit to protect his future victims and make the call. If you're not one of these people, you can do the same thing by reposting or emailing this info. Bear in mind, there aren't many PDs right now who aren't understaffed and underpaid, and there are much more violent, dangerous people out there to spend resources on. This just happens to be one the general public can help with. Even if nobody catches him, Richland Co. can get a warrant out for him. Then he and his face can go national news. That'll make it harder and harder for him to scam people, and that's what we're after.