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Old 06-14-2013, 03:29 PM
trabajábamos trabajábamos is offline
Join Date: Feb 2011
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Astoundingly poor judgement: The curious case of psychic police tipster Presley “Rhonda” Gridley

Unfortunately, things this stupid happen with surprisingly frequency:
Presley “Rhonda” Gridley, [is] a self-described psychic who created a national frenzy by telling authorities that a Liberty County couple, Joe Bankston and Gena Charlton, had a mass grave on their property. She has been ordered to pay the couple $6.8 million [in damages for defamation].
An excerpt from a 911 call Gridley made contains this gem:
Originally Posted by Gridley
I'm a reverend and a psychic. Souls and spirits talked to me an there 32 of them that told me they think the kids are there., to sum this up:
  1. Gridley called 911, announced she was a psychic, and shared the revelation of a mass grave she knows about because "souls ans spirits" told her
  2. The police dutifully followed up on this tip by holding various press conferences and tearing apart the home of Joe Bankston and Gena Charlton (apparently turning them into social pariahs in the process)
  3. Nothing is discovered
  4. Bankston and Charlton file suit against the police and Gridley
  5. The case against the police is dismissed and Gridley is on the hook for a $7M payout that she will never, ever make good on

Points for debate:
First, it is appalling that the police acted on Gridley's tip at all because there is no such thing as a psychic. And, while people from all walks may experience the divine in deeply personal and subjective manners, "spirits" don't go around pointing out mass graves to "psychics." Maybe they assumed she was a crazy person with a thread of truth in there somewhere- who knows- but the notion that they ought to follow every lead (as suggested by members of the department in the video above) is mind-boggling.

Second, hanging Gridley out to dry for making a(n obviously) false statement to the police is just sad. The statement that, "the spirits told me about a mass grave", is not even true enough to be false. I could give them the benefit of the doubt if she hadn't tossed that stuff out about being a psychic and spirits; if she'd just said, "Psstt... there are bodies buried all over that guy's yard", that might have been worth a look-see.

Third, if the sanity of the defamer doesn't enter into defamation hearings, there's something really wrong in the legal system. Clearly, Gridley got it with both barrels because she didn't deign to appear in court... but if a guy wearing a traffic cone on his head accuses me of being a Moon Lizard, I'm not sure I'm entitled to damages.

...and just to editorialize: That nobody in the Liberty County Sheriff's Department got tagged for this is simply shocking to me.


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