Paulette Cooper's Harassment Diary

Subject: Paulette's diary: (10) Falling apart
Date: Thu, 9 Oct 1997 06:48:29 -0400 (EDT)

HARASSMENT DIARY, by Paulette Cooper (1982) Part 10: Falling apart

My 1997 editorial comments are enclosed in [[double square brackets]]. Paragraphing added today.


It was also around that time that I became extremely afraid of going to prison and began having the recurring prison dreams which I am still plagued with to this day.

Jay [[my lawyer]], who would always predict the worst happening, said that with a fingerprint (1) [[...]], I had a 95% chance of conviction. He also felt that I had a small chance of a short prison sentence ("hopefully," he added) and I became frightened of physical and sexual dangers that would be harder to fight because of my small frame.

My biggest fear, though, and the one that caused me the most anxiety was that the story of my indictment and arrest would leak out in the press, especially since the public doesn't generally know the difference between someone who's indicted and someone who's guilty.

I was petrified for my career, which had been going along so beautifully. But certainly no editor would ever give an assignment to someone indicted for sending bomb threats to people she had exposed.

And if I was forced to leave freelance writing, which I had worked so hard to succeed in [[I already had four books out by the time I was 30]] and was one of the few people to do so, I doubted whether it would be easy for me to get a job again with that kind of background if it was publicized.

These problems hounded me for years, as did acute anxiety about possible public humiliation -- and the fact that it was all so bizarre made it likely to get extensive press coverage -- to me and my parents.

I hardly wanted every detail of my life coming out in the newspapers while looking like a criminal and I felt even worse for my poor [[adoptive]] parents. Everything I had ever done in my life had been to make them proud of me, and not feel that they were wrong in adopting me. And now we were all about to be hurt and embarrassed publicly

(1) The fingerprint was also weird, because it was just one quarter of my third finger on one side of the page. This was not consistent with my holding the piece of paper (in which case, it would have been a fingerprint on the other side as well) as the government contended.

I was to realize much later, however, that it was consistent with taking a pile of papers and tossing them as I used to do with Joy's stationery.

In addition, I was later to wonder whether Margie Shepherd [[the probable Scientologist who showed up at my apartment and had me sign a petition the night before the first bomb threat was mailed]] hadn't placed that paper under the clipboard which held the petition I signed (which also would have [[line undecipherable but it probably said "also would have explained the fingerprint being only 1/4 of a finger on one side only)."]]