Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Requiescat In Pace, Jeane

I have now said all I felt called to say about Jeane. The long version is contained in my 600 page book – Why Just Her? – and in the last month of blogs I have posted here about her. I am sure that in the future I will return to my experiences with her and current events will make reflection upon her life relevant, so I will speak of her again.

I only wish I could bring sense and closure to her story. Jeane’s escort service, operating in the District of Columbia for 13 years was not particularly unique. She ran her service better than others—her longevity and lack of criminal prosecution through over 130 escorts and 10,000 customers demonstrate that clearly. However today, if the reader were to browse the Yellow Pages® for the District of Columbia, you would find over 90 advertisements for escort services.  A resort to the Internet reveals 10 times that number. Plainly, neither the local nor federal authorities had any real intention of reigning in the sex-for-hire industry in the District of Columbia by prosecuting Jeane.

Jeane, however, was unique. Living alone for most all of those 13 years, she answered the telephone dozens of times each night, some 360 nights per year. Each call was from a sex-driven man seeking what he couldn't apparently find elsewhere. But I think this long-distance, client-service business suited Jeane, for it gave her control over her life and what occurred in that life. That is why the prospect of losing complete control through extended incarceration was simply intolerable to Jeane. Repeating a fate she had endured for 12 months in 1990—and a torment that almost killed her—was never an acceptable outcome for her. She simply wanted, at the end, to exercise her control one more time by taking her own life when and where she wanted. Hard as it is for most to understand her decision, I see it as true to her form.

Would that her death had been the result of some nefarious, surreptitious, government plot to protect prominent leaders. That would be much easier to understand and accept. But that simply is not possible given the circumstances of her death. Men, in broad daylight, forcing her into her mother’s shed and then hanging her—all without arousing the suspicions of her elderly, close-in, trailer-park neighbors. I don’t think so.

I choose to believe that the documented effects of her abuse of Ambien® coupled with the Federal Bureau of Prison’s incarceration request form received by mail, without warning from a callous Preston the day before she died, simply pushed the Jeane I knew to her end. Plainly said, the evidence is too overwhelming to conclude her death was anything but a suicide.

However, I want to believe that she was not unmindful that her death would be seared into the public’s mind. Her death clearly troubled many as I came to find out as I traveled the country and inquired about her of those I randomly met. All knew of her. All were sickened and saddened by her death. And to that end, I would say the obvious for her as she said to me so many times: We have a misogynistic—one that hates powerful women—justice system. And making a man pay for sex is nothing but an expression of ultimate power by a woman over a man.

So if I hear Jeane’s voice from beyond the grave, and I most certainly do, this is what I hear her saying now as she did in an email to me in November 2007:  
The question of course begs: Why? In particular, why me and why only me? Why not the 133 women, who worked for me over the thirteen years my former business Pamela Martin and Associates was in operation and/or the approximate 10,000 clients, who patronized my firm during this period OR as Judge Kessler has referred to these individuals “the un-indicted co-conspirators"? And why not the dozens, if not hundreds of other adult companies replete throughout the metropolitan vicinity? Concerns like Klimaxx and Cherry Busters? 
I can only answer her: The lust for power is unbridled and a criminal prosecution is nothing but an exercise of power to restrain God-given liberty. Jeane’s story was, at the end, that of power wielded by powerful men, secure in the belief that they were able to act without consequence and thus relieved of any moral responsibility for their actions. They were like the feral boys on the unnamed island in The Lord of the Flies. In many respects, Washington, D.C. has become that unnamed island and the powerful men who live there are those feral boys.

There Jeane, I said what you wanted me to. Now, requiescat in pace.


Matt Janovic said...

This is a very clear-eyed and honorable take on this whole tragedy. Thank you Blair. Rest in peace, Jeane, it should never have ended the way it did.

My review of Why Just Her is forthcoming, and I am already giving it a big THUMBS UP.

Matt Janovic

Anonymous said...

Jeane Palfrey was a self centered woman who cared only about money. This is not a criticism but an observation. The problem with her client list is that it was underwhelming. Palfrey herself told me, "People have often asked but Dick Morris was never a client." I repeat, NEVER a client.

She also said her business was vanilla compared to what other agencies might offer and she did not send her girls out to parties and such. Therefore, I can't help but doubt the whole "sending girls out in limos to high powered men at parties" conspiracy theory. Unless she changed her m.o. years after we ceased communication or years before it began, I know that she did not want to be bothered with what she would consider a headache. She wanted to wrap up business by a reasonable time each night so she could relax or go out and eat sushi.

She was involved in a financial dispute with one of her employees who happened to be a friend of mine, or rather, an acquaintance whom I hope to never have the displeasure of crossing paths with as this person is a snake. I also happened to be listening in on a third line while she and Jeane argued over an amount the employee felt she was owed. It was the first time I witnessed Jeane losing her cool. She screamed obscenities at the employee and then the phone went dead on her end. I was shocked, to say the least, because I never imagined Jeane to be the type to unravel in such a dramatic fashion or perhaps, unravel, period.

I think this particular woman, the object of Jeane's ire, turned Jeane over to either the IRS or the postal service or had someone else call it in. From that point on, the government, as wrong as I think it is their dogged pursuit of this case, did what it felt was its job.

No conspiracy theory. She was a savvy businesswoman who was able to fly under the radar for numerous years until she became embroiled in personal drama with a former employee. She threatened to out people but as I said, the list was underwhelming.

The last few times I'd spoken with her, she expressed her desire to end her business as the girls were becoming "more of a pain in the ass" than anything. I wish she'd followed through.

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