Into the Mind of Kosilek: Grace’s Daughter – a Book Review
April 9, 2013
“Psychopaths never quit.” – Margaret Singer
Criminal memoirs, like parole hearings, are not usually known for their authenticity, honesty, self-reflection and accurate reportage. In the criminal memoir every hapless burglar is a master thief, every two-bit hood a mob capo, every sociopath a revolutionary.
Criminal memoirs are: Jack Henry Abbott waxing bromantically to Norman Mailer about the inhumanity of his incarceration -just prior to committing another murder, serial rapist Eldridge Cleaver expounding on the act of rape as a revolutionary act, Tex Watson intoning on the redemptive power of bible-believing among guys who hang pregnant starlets alive while cutting them open.
In the Crime Memoir sub-genre of the “wrongly convicted” the tropes are even more hackneyed as the memoir essentially serves as one long desperate attempt to explain away all that blood. Kosilek’s memoir is of the sub-genre category, flavored with a heaping dose of self-pity, narcissism and sociopathy.
Most of the U.S. “Son of Sam Laws” (enacted in the wake of serial killer David Berkowitz’ attempts to sell his story for profit) have been repealed or overturned on First Amendment grounds leaving murderers free to profit from the dubious celebrity of committing horrific acts and selling them for entertainment to an audience hungry for carnage. Any of the millions of average boring bastards that murder their wives are free to offer their suddenly compelling and unique tale on any of a number of online vanity publishing sites for a few bucks. Kosilek’s memoir “Grace’s Daughter” is one of those, and it was on just such a site that I found it. Yes, I persuaded a friend to kindly give Kosilek two dollars and ninety-nine cents for a copy of his tome. For that ethical indiscretion I am sorry.
I was curious though. Slightly curious. Under three dollars curious.
There are very few reasons to subject oneself to 400-plus pages of self-serving criminal lies. Some of these reasons may include curiosity about a particular crime or crime spree. Perhaps a historic crime is so distinct that the reader longs for some insight to explain the psychology of the perpetrators or details of the era (think “Symbionese Liberation Army“ or the “Manson Family”). Maybe an author relates an inside experience of the justice system and incarceration compellingly. Perhaps the perp is just an entertaining storyteller and a fantastic writer.
Kosilek’s memoir has none of that. Men like him who brutally decapitate their loving wives are, sadly, a dime a dozen. He is a terrible writer and a bad liar. But Kosilek has one thing going for him and his memoir: A judge has issued an order forcing the populace of Massachusetts to pay upwards of $100,000 (including surgery, travel, security including 24 hour hospital guards, post-op care, follow-up appointments both surgical and endocrinological, possible revisions) so that a decapitation killer can have his genitals cosmetically refashioned into a fleshy sheath for other men to stick their dicks into. Because the murderer thinks such a procedure will make him a woman, and the murderer has threatened to be upset and/or harm himself if his delusions are not indulged (and enabled) by the legal system and the public at large.
Again, there is nothing unique about that. Plenty of people believe doctors can perform actual changes of sex, creating women out of men and vice versa. Well maybe not plenty. But lots are willing to pretend they believe, or at least go along with the idea, out of politeness or the hope that doctors and judges know what the hell they are doing. And plenty of people think the presence of a fleshy sheath that men can stick their dicks into defines the female sex.
Perhaps in reading the 103,010 word tome I would gain a new understanding of Kosilek’s savagery and rage for the woman who loved him, who married him, the one whose decapitated body he dumped like so much trash before cooking and enjoying a delicious steak dinner with the victim’s unsuspecting son in the very space he had garroted her hours before?
Unfortunately, the following are some things that are never even mentioned in Kosilek’s memoir:
On Sunday May 20 1990 Robert Kosilek stood behind his wife Cheryl and garroted her with a length of wire. He’s not a huge guy, around 5’8”, but stocky at the time of the murder, so he must have applied incredible force in order for the wire to cut into her throat. Perhaps he pushed his knee into her back for leverage. She fought: we know that. And it took her a long time to die. We know that too. Even as the wire had nearly decapitated her she would not die and Robert was forced to go running for a rope, which he then wrapped around her neck as she continued to fight for life. The court record states:
“With regard to deliberate premeditation, the evidence would permit a rational jury to infer that the defendant waited until the victim’s son was at work, that he approached his wife from behind with a wire, and strangled her by tightening the wire around her neck. With regard to extreme atrocity or cruelty, the prosecution’s expert testified that: there were multiple wounds on the victim’s body; she was strangled by a wire and then a rope; she was conscious for at least fifteen seconds after strangulation began and remained alive for three to five minutes; and there were indications of a conscious struggle. These facts amply support a finding of premeditated and deliberate murder, see Commonwealth v. Judge, 420 Mass. 433, 441, 650 N.E.2d 1242 (1995); Commonwealth v. Chipman, 418 Mass. 262, 269-270, 635 N.E.2d 1204 (1994); Commonwealth v. Basch, 386 Mass. 620, 622, 437 N.E.2d 200 (1982), as well as murder by extreme atrocity or cruelty, see Commonwealth v. Simmons, 419 Mass. 426, 646 N.E.2d 97 (1995); Commonwealth v. Tanner, 417 Mass. 1, 2, 627 N.E.2d 895 (1994).”
We know what Robert did next. He went outside to Cheryl’s car in the driveway and opened the back door. He dragged her lifeless body out of the condo they shared and dumped her in the back seat. Then he went back inside and cleaned. He cleaned up her blood which sprayed the kitchen. He showered and changed his clothes. Then he drove her car containing her corpse to the nearby North Attleboro Emerald Square shopping mall and abandoned it in the parking lot. He summoned a cab to take him home. He was dropped off at a store near where he and his family lived. He walked home then cooked a steak dinner which he and Cheryl’s son Timothy McCaul enjoyed in the exact spot Robert had slaughtered his wife and Timothy’s mother mere minutes before. Timothy noticed nothing out of the ordinary. The only thing of note he could report later to police is that Robert had uncharacteristically shaved his beard. Robert hadn’t shaved in a year. The last time he shaved was when Cheryl had discovered him drinking again and forced him to go back into rehab.
Where was Mom? Robert told Timothy that Cheryl had gone shopping at the mall earlier in the day. Robert decided to feign “looking into” the matter. He called the police as a concerned husband and reported her missing- possibly in a car accident? He called the local hospital. Police checked the mall and soon found the body of his dead 36 year old wife where Robert had dumped her. They asked Robert to come to the station. He requested that the police transport him. (His car was not running and he would call his mechanic the next day to fix it). At the station he reported that he had been home sick all weekend. Cheryl had gone shopping at the mall. Police took a statement and transported him home. Soon they asked him to come back to the station. They had more questions. Cheryl’s son had told the police that no one answered the phone when he called to get a ride home from work at 5pm. Kolisek told them the child often had trouble mis-dialing phone numbers. He also recalled being in the shower, which perhaps caused him to not hear the phone ringing. He asked to go to the cigarette machine to buy cigarettes and left the interrogation room. A police officer intercepted him exiting the front door to the station. Kosilek stated he intended to retain a lawyer, and left.
The day after murdering Cheryl, Robert called the mechanic and had them fix his car. He then went on a shopping spree spending hundreds of dollars on female clothes. In the evening he was stopped by police after crashing his car into a stop sign in Bedford Massachusetts. He was dressed in female drag. A report was filed and he was released.
The second day Robert was again stopped by the police, this time in New Rochelle NY for speeding. He was drunk with a half bottle of vodka and several empty beers in the car. He was arrested for driving while intoxicated. The officer reported him saying “You would be drunk too if the police thought you killed your wife. Look, I had a 15-year-old son and a wife. I murdered my wife. Now I need to call a psychiatrist.” He was incarcerated and NY police contacted the North Attleboro Massachusetts police department which had questioned Kosilek two days earlier in the murder of his wife.
Once sober, Robert refused to be extradited back to Massachusetts. Extradition was ordered and he appealed it. He retracted his confession.
He was investigated for a possible link to the New Bedford serial killings where he worked as a taxi driver in 1987-88 but the investigation petered out.
This is where Kosilek in his memoir recalls having a memory again. The rest of it: the murder, the driving, the dumping, the dinner, the shopping, the police- all a blank. Innocent!
The whole wire and rope thing: self defense, probably!
“My last memory is an argument that ended with Cheryl throwing a crystal mug full of boiling water on me, then coming at me with a large knife. In over six years together, neither of us had ever used violence. Now my last memory of her is one of trying to stop her from killing me, and I have apparently taken her life.” –Robert Kosilek in “Grace’s Daughter”
“Psychopaths just don’t stop. They don’t give up. They continue the same style.” -Margaret Singer
Kosilek’s memoir opens with two forwards. One is written by his friend and champion, Clinical Psychologist Dr. Cindy Tavilla. Tavilla was the Program Coordinator at Bridgewater State Hospital where Kosilek worked as an addictions counselor in the year leading up to his mortal attack on his wife. Tavilla had fired him mere months before he decapitated Cheryl, after his background check revealed an extensive criminal past.
Nearly twenty years later, as she explains in her forward, Tavilla was sitting in church when a voice- possibly from God- told her to contact Robert:
“I was sitting in the back pew of a church in Boston. Feeling increasingly disillusioned and disappointed in the community I had been actively participating in for two decades, I was looking for a spiritual home. Feeling the urge to volunteer, to be of service, I considered joining the Prison Ministry offered by this urban church. I’ve long held the belief that we each give from our own surplus. We serve in ways that we are able. I was a clinical psychologist, and I had worked in a prison, so felt that while the surroundings might deter many people from serving this population, it would not bother me. And then the message came. It wasn’t technically a voice that I heard. But the message was as crystal clear as if spoken aloud into my ear. Was it God speaking? The Universe? The Collective Unconscious? My vivid imagination? I still don’t know. It said, “Write to her.”
Dr. Tavilla personally transcribed Kosilek’s memoir and her niece, Dianna Sawyer, compiled, edited and published it from his handwritten notes.
The other forward is written by Dr. Randi Ettner. Dr. Ettner met Kosilek only once, in 2005 when he paid her to visit him in prison and diagnose him with the psychological need for cosmetic sex reassignment surgery, which she did. Ettner has built a profitable practice on transgender people, authoring a book called “Confessions of a Gender Defender: A Psychologist’s Reflection on Life Among the Transgendered.” Ettner, a psychology doctorate, claims to be a strong believer in sex-based personality theory but her sales pitch seems to embrace whatever woo-woo pays the bills.
Ettner’s woo was the inspiration for the creation of sexologist Michael Bailey’s infamous book “The Man Who Would Be Queen”. From Alice Dreger’s “The Controversy Surrounding The Man Who Would Be Queen”: “After Michael Bailey attended a reading by Ettner of her book Confessions of a Gender Defender (Ettner, 1996) at a local Barnes & Noble bookstore in June 1997, he was so frustrated by what he saw as gross inaccuracies in Ettner’s account of transsexualism that he decided he would write a book of his own.”
Ettner is a practitioner of a field of psychology noted for being unfalsifiable, and therefore outside the realm of science: Energy Psychology .
From her website:
“A significant portion of Dr. Ettner’s clinical practice is devoted to working with the “emotional freedom technique”, or energy psychology. It is a therapeutic technique that provides an effective edge in the emotional and mental arenas. Dr. Ettner has used energy psychology to rid her patients of limiting beliefs; clear individuals of fears, traumas or worries; eliminate physical pain; and even enhance the on-field performance of athletes.
Energy psychology is based on Einstein’s theory that all matter, including the human body, is composed of energy. It attunes the body to a state of unique receptivity through the simple act of tapping on certain meridian points on the face and neck. It is a cousin of acupuncture, but uses no needles and is not invasive. It is a bit like hypnotherapy, but provides extra power because it integrates the body’s subtle energies.”
Ettner is a board member of WPATH (World Professional Association for Transgender Health), the heavily corporate-funded (GlaxoSmithKline, Merck, Roche Pharmaceuticals, etc) quasi-medical group formerly named the Harry Benjamin International Gender Dysphoria Association (after the “Grandfather of Transsexualism”, sexologist and endocrinologist Dr. Harry Benjamin who pioneered experiments in the medical treatment of transgenderism in the 1960’s). WPATH is a group whose mission is to justify the medical treatment of sex-based gender roles. WPATH was created by, and is authorized by, the very same medical and psych practitioners who make a living providing such treatments. WPATH is also a non-mainstream organization whose “standards of care” were rejected this year after review by the American Psychiatric Association on the basis of being scientifically unsound and lacking citation. (WPATH’s rejected standards of care were nonetheless cited as the primary authority on transgender medical care by Judge Wolf, the author of the decision forcing Massachusetts taxpayers to pay for Kosilek’s genital surgery.)
Ettner opines in the forward to Kosilek’s book that transgenderism is a “lifelong affliction” and “disabling impairment”. She has testified for pay as a WPATH representative in many criminal cases. Her aunt, a physician, worked with Harry Benjamin.
Skipping over the question of why a practitioner of unscientific woo-woo was accepted as a clinical diagnostic authority in Massachusetts court, and why such a person is qualified to authorize surgical procedures…how did earth did Kosilek afford to pay for the “expert” testimony of Dr. Ettner?
This is where the $2.99 Kosilek memoir comes in handy. There are a few illuminating gems here after all. If nothing else, Kosilek’s tale, all 400 pages of florid prose, pedophilic fetishism, unrepentant sociopathy and aggressive victim-blaming notwithstanding, is one of a Jailhouse Lawyer. I think Robert would actually be pleased with that assessment. Lawyering is his pride, his vocation, his life.
“The greatest loss is the dying I do inside a little bit every day”- wife-killer Robert Kosilek
Robert Kosilek, whose claim to fame is an unspeakable act of cruelty and brutal homicide inflicted on his wife, opens his book with a marriage ceremony. No, not the one that legally bound his victim Cheryl to him. This ceremony takes place between him and another imprisoned male transgender who calls himself “Jessica”. It is a “lesbian” marriage between two male felons.
“When we said our vows on October 20, 2006, I wanted, needed to be as girly as I could for Jessica, even though hundreds of miles and impregnable walls prevented her from seeing me. I had a bouquet of flowers, a maid of honor, and an enlarged photograph of Jessica. My maid of honor was a friend, another transsexual who has been unable to publicly declare the fact that she, too, is a woman. This was a rare chance for her to feel connected as a woman to these sisterly rituals that are such an integral part of our lives as women,” Robert writes.
This literary choice, the wife-killer choosing to open his memoir with an account of his latest “marriage” can be interpreted as nothing but what it is. A rhetorical sneering act of a homicidal sociopath wiping shit in the wounds of his wife Cheryl’s survivors- her mother, her sister, her children. There is a calculated premeditation and joyfulness in Kosilek’s sadism, and this opening volley remains constant throughout his tale. Kosilek is a master of the big “Fuck You”, but the sort of “Fuck You” that always leaves weasel-room. Kosilek has discovered that transgender means never having to say you’re sorry and in fact, under current law, means a man can commit premeditated murder of women with such cruelty and brutality that he is sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole (since Massachusetts has no death penalty) and if he works his cards right he can parlay the woman’s death into huge cash payoffs, travel, fancy meals, state sponsorship of his sexual fetish, and can even be transferred to a women’s prison to honor his place as homicidal woman-killing cock of the walk.
Hard to believe but it’s true. In Kosilek’s world he “became a woman” the second he extinguished his wife Cheryl’s life with that wire. In murdering his wife he baptized himself as a man deserving special consideration, and it wasn’t all delusion. His story is a case study in how a man can make a tidy living from not just saying, but living “Fuck You” to women in the most profound way imaginable. The state is set up to support this. Again, Kosilek is not unique in any way.
“Masbruch is in fact still raping women within the facility, just now with foreign objects. He has also brutally injured some of the women within the facility. Please sign my petition against Richard being allowed in a women’s facility of any kind, so that he may return to a male penitentiary. It would not only help me and my mother but any woman in any facility.” – Anna Silver, whose mother is confined with electrocution serial torture-rapist transgender Richard/Sherri Masbruch.
Australia: The first Australian male prisoner given a state funded “sex change” was Noel Crompton Hall. Jailed for life for the 1987 “thrill killing” of 29 year old hitchhiker Lyn Saunders, Noel came to believe, and informed authorities that he held a strong belief that he was female, not male. Although he was objectively biologically male as evidenced by his penis and testicles, and was also HIV+, in 1999 he was transferred to Mulawa (Women’s) Correctional Centre on the basis of this self-reported belief. He was charged with raping several women there within three months and transferred back to men’s prison. In 2001 his subjective declaration of his fixed non-psychotic biologic delusion, the feeling he had that he was female and not male- resulted in a re-determined sentence of 22 years. In 2003 the state allowed his legal name change to “Maddison Hall” and performed a state funded genital surgery attempting to alter his penis and scrotum into a visual approximation of female reproductive anatomy. Further charges of sexual assault against female prisoners after this intervention resulted in Hall’s confinement in isolation for the rest of his sentence. Hall was paroled in 2006 in a decision the parole board described as “anguished” due to the fact that Hall had been unable to demonstrate an ability to exist among females without violently sexually assaulting them. Parole was rescinded due to no agency willing to accept him.
UK: The first UK male prisoner given a state-funded legal and surgical “sex change” was a kidnapping rapist named John Pilley who victimized a female taxi driver. He was sentenced in 1981 to life in prison for his crime. A decade after his incarceration Pillley asserted his belief that although male, he wanted to be female. The state awarded him with cross-sex hormones and allowed him to dress in stereotypical clothing associated with females while in male prison. After several years of cross-sex hormones Pilley sued the prison using the “inch=mile” rationale. If the state ruled he was “female enough” to receive cosmetic cross-sex hormones provided by the state, he was entitled to cosmetic genital surgery which would give him further female appearance. In 1999 he was granted a state funded removal of testicles. After further claims, he was granted cosmetic surgery in 2001 to try to turn his penis into something resembling female anatomy, and he was transfered to Holloway, a women’s prison. He changed his name to Jane Anne Pilley. Five years later he changed his mind. He resumed growing his beard and sued the Prison service to be “turned back into a man” at taxpayer expense as he was tired of the ruse and enjoyed male prison more after all.
Canada: The first Canadian prisoner to receive a state-funded surgical sex change was a man named Richard Chaperon alias Ricky Chaperon alias Richard Kavanagh who brutally hammer-killed a transsexual male prostitute, Leo James Black/Lisa Janna Black in 1987 in Toronto. He was sentenced to life with possibility of parole after 15 years. Bored with Millhaven, a male prison, in 1999 he sued the Canadian Human Rights Commission demanding surgery to make him appear more female. Like Kosilek, he claimed profound psychiatric disability due to transgenderism. He changed his name to Sylvia Kavanagh. He wanted to be transferred to a women’s prison. He was transferred to Joliet women’s prison with penis intact and reportedly sexually assaulted women there. He was then given Canada’s first government-funded surgical “sex change” in 2001. In 2005 Kavanagh exploded in violence and fought off guards while trashing the women’s facility. He caused over $50,000 in damage and injured guards before he was restrained. He was then transferred to the Grand Valley Institution for Women. Inmates there are quoted as living in “constant fear” of Richard, who was reported to have battered women there. Prison officials stated that Kavanaugh’s ultra-violence required a special handling unit for ultra-violent “female” offenders, something they had never required before (for actual females), and the building of a special ultra-violent “women’s” facility for Kavanaugh was proposed.
United States: The US has privileged those male rapists and predators and murderers of women who verbalize feelings about wishing they were female by sending these men into women’s prisons. It makes no difference in many jurisdictions whether male predators are still armed with the “weapon of rape”: their penis. Transgender is a “Get Out of Men’s Jail” card for male offenders, sometimes even for males who would rather serve their sentence with other males. We saw a lawsuit this year from a Nashville gay man Karla Brenner who was placed into women’s prison against his will, because he was drag queen who had acquired secondary sex characteristics (breasts, hips) from black market estrogen and silicone taken to maximize his career as a drag performer. In scissor-killer CeCe McDonald’s case this year it took an ongoing media campaign from CeCe himself to stop transgender activists from forcing him to transfer to a female prison against his wishes. Generally it is heterosexual male transgender inmates who seek transfer to female facilities, not gay male transgenders. And if it needs saying, No female transgender has ever been on record as being transferred to, or of requesting transfer to, a male prison. The Kosilek-type transgender rights movement, if one can call it that (the male transgender right to be confined with females) is, thus far, a distinctly heterosexual male movement.
Interestingly, it is largely the powerful LGBT lobbying groups formerly dedicated to the rights of gay men (and lesbians to the degree those rights intersect with males) who are now leveraging their influence to promote the heterosexual male transgender prisoner rights movement, and the heterosexual male “right” to state-sponsored cosmetic surgery and transfer to women’s prisons, and the case of wife-decapitator Kosilek himself. The National Center for Lesbian Rights (a trans-run legal advocacy group that largely represents male, not lesbian interests despite the name), the ACLU, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, GLAAD, HRC, NCTE, Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders, et al, have all leant their support to the “rights” of heterosexual male prisoners to be housed with females based on their subjectively declared feelings of “wanting to be women”. Not a single LGBT org has ever registered concerns for the rights of female prisoners -beyond their “right” to opt into more rape and violence in a male facility.
The position of LGBT lobbying groups seems to be that men- even those who electrocute, torture, rape and murder women and children, repeatedly, with atrocity and malice, should be placed in confinement with women if the men so desire it, and that women prisoners who are raped and beaten by these men, and who live, confined, in terror of them, have no such rights whatsoever. The only rights that female prisoners have under this LGBT-lobby approved system is the right to opt into additional rape and harassment and additional male violence by presumably being granted the right to be confined in a male facility if they claim to “feel male”. As stated above, no female has ever opted into this “right”.
“The messages I was getting in response to my clothing and toy choices led me to an inconsolably depressing realization. I was a girl who had accidentally been given the wrong outside parts!” – Robert/Michelle Kosilek
According to Kosilek’s memoir, if any of it is to be believed, he “was born April 10, 1949, the second of two children born to Henry and Elizabeth Kosilek, an unemployed laborer and housewife.” He never knew his father who according to Robert was in prison all his life for reasons unknown or unreported. He says his mother left he and his sister in the care of his grandmother when he was 4, which resulted in their placement in Chicago’s St. Hedwigs orphanage, a live-in school created for the children of Polish immigrants, for five years until their mother reclaimed them. A quote on this experience in the typical gothic tone of Kosilek’s writing: “It is run by nuns, for whom English is a second language. Their native tongue is cruelty, and it has several dialects, each more painfully memorable than the last.”
Robert describes some pediatric cross-dressing incidents in the same pornified fetishistic language that one immediately recognizes as verbatim to the forced-feminization narratives popular among heterosexual autogynephilia fetishists. An unedited quote:
“The second time I was caught wearing a dress, I was imprisoned in the same closet under the stairs. For my original crime, Sister had decided, well after nightfall, that her gift of reflective solitude was preferable to a paddling, although her manner of inquisition as to whether I had had enough time to consider the seriousness of my misdeeds (wearing a dress and running when called) resulted in possibly more pain. I’ll never know. The psychic pain from being brutalized merely for stating my gender later contributed to my self-imprisonment in the bottle and in the arms of Morpheus, beginning an on again off-again drama of self-denial that ran for decades. A paddling would have consisted of a series of blows across my naked buttocks, while I repeated Sister’s words one at a time. So I may have been fortunate and only been subjected to five blows: SMACK-I-SMACK-will-SMACK-not- SMACK -disobey- SMACK -Sister. This was a standard dose, delivered with a wooden paddle about 4 inches wide and 2 feet long, with holes drilled through it – possibly for the offending child’s ungodly impulses to escape through. Serving a sentence in the prison of your own body because others refuse to admit that neither the prison, nor the key, even exists, is no different than being in a concrete and steel prison with a life sentence. Both will teach you that if you don’t embrace patience and humor, you will be embraced by anger and hate, insanity’s internship.” [sic]
Kosilek intersperses his gamey pedophilic feminization-victimhood passages with transparently narcissistic brags about his superior intellect. Sample:
“..my precociousness lead to unintended consequences. As a fourth grader, I was bright enough to occasionally be summoned to a sixth, seventh or eighth grade classroom to answer a question that had stumped the students in that class.”
The whole memoir narrative hinges on this combination. Gothic sado-masochistic male feminization tropes so ubiquitous on crossdresser websites balanced with intellectual superiority anecdotes. Over four hundred pages of it! Most of the intellectual superiority “gotcha” material consists of Robert utilizing his jailhouse lawyer time and skills to “stick it to the man” for getting in the way of his girlish fantasies.
What is truly disturbing is that anyone who is even the slightest bit informed about those under the transgender umbrella will immediately recognize and clock this narrative for what it is: sexual fetishism. Which means one of two things. Either those championing Kosilek have never read it, or they have and hope no one else ever notices or reads it.
“the legal process dominated my life like a sixthgrade bully.”- Robert Kosilek
Kosilek has spent the majority of his 62 years- starting with his placement in a juvenile facility at age 12- incarcerated for this or that prior to the big one -his decapitation of his wife at the age of 41. His memoir details some parts of his lengthy criminal career, various street hustles, assaults and rip-offs, anecdotes that seem chosen to prove either his superior intellect or his hapless cruel victimization by getting caught unfairly doing things that were not really his fault or that were caused by substance abuse. No doubt his other crimes whatever they are will forever go unsolved unless he thinks there is some advantage in the telling. Everyone has done him wrong and if only he was a little girl getting spanked everything would be okay. He details his massive substance abuse problems (Meth, Alchohol, Heroin, WhateverYouGot) and occasionally provides clever jailhouse survival techniques: inserting two packs of cigarettes and some matches into his rectum before being processed for his wife’s murder, for example.
He only mentions Cheryl around a dozen times and then only to blame her for her own murder. Every woman he had been involved with was to blame for whatever transpired. None of which was good.
“My relationships had been as casual as I could make them; I had always been the seduced, and never the seductress,” Robert states. In Cheryl’s case her “crime” according to Robert was starting an “inappropriate relationship” between herself as a volunteer addictions counselor and a man seeking counseling for his addictions: Robert. Also, Cheryl also on occasion had “a temper” and a “sharp tongue” and was “actively hostile” according to Robert who goes on for pages attempting to prove this (unsuccessfully, by the way) by quoting her ex-coworkers and the like, none of which are willing to go on the record. Kosilek never mentions Cheryl in any sort of positive light, perhaps he fears doing so would undermine his self-defense claims made at trial over twenty years ago. (He still claims to believe his sentence will be overturned: “I should have been convicted of manslaughter; if the rules had been followed, I would have been.”) Or maybe he just hates her. Kosilek opines that he feels Cheryl’s family may “get some peace” from a modified ruling which classifies her decapitation as “bizarre circumstance” rather than “malice”. What a thoughtful guy!
Arrested in New York in 1990, he fought extradition to Massachusetts, retracted his confession and pled not guilty. He claimed there was no possible escape from the family kitchen and garroting his wife from behind, followed by the application of rope, was an act of self-defense. While still awaiting trial he was diagnosed as depressed and placed on Prozac. This turned out to be an extremely profitable move as I am about to reveal.
What is interesting is that Kosilek’s current 8th Amendment challenge to the State of Massachusetts hinges on the assertion that Kosilek is in danger of committing suicide or self-harm if his desired cosmetic sex surgery and transfer to a women’s facility is not honored by the state. The 8th Amendment to the US Constitution prohibits the government from imposing “cruel and unusual punishment” on citizens and Kosilek’s attorneys propose that Kosilek has demonstrated a history of suicidality related to the failure to treat his gender self-concept with genital surgery. But his attorneys have a problem: by all reports he has not exhibited self-harm or suicidality for the entire 22 years of his post-conviction incarceration. There is also the matter of financial gain, which as far as I can tell has never been previously reported by any other source until this moment.
Kosilek was covered by an expansive insurance policy when arrested, one which paid generously for lost wages due to mental health disability. After being diagnosed with depression and placed on Prozac in holdover prior to trial he orchestrated the events now defined by his attorneys as suicide attempts in the current 8th amendment claim. The first attempt he describes in his memoir two different ways, both involving a plastic bag. In the first version he places a plastic bag over his head and pulls the covers over himself, awaiting suffocation- but the bag was shoddily constructed, and ripped, sparing his life. In his alternate narrative about this same attempt, he pulls the bag off his own head in a newfound desperate bid for life. I want TO LIVE!
The second suicide attempt forming the foundation of Kosilek’s 8th amendment claim, substantiating his propensity for gender-related self-harm, involves a slipper. Kosilek claims that during this pre-trial period he attempted to kill himself by shoving a slipper down his own throat. This attempt allegedly resulted in gagging and vomiting, followed by Kosilek cleaning up the vomit before it could be objectively witnessed, and thereafter abandoning his attempt at self harm. Both attempts were un-witnessed. Presumably both of these attempts were self-reported to authorities. Long before these suicidal ideations formed the basis for Kosilek’s current “cruel and unusual” suit, they served a more practical purpose.
“Now I have also failed at this ultimate escape, first with a plastic bag so flimsy that it simply came apart when I tried to tie it around my neck, and then the rolled up foam slippers that I tried to force down my throat caused me to throw up my supper. I had to fish the foam slippers out of the puddle of vomit to hide my intention. I don’t know if I’ll get another opportunity, but my chances will certainly be limited with a documented attempt on my record.” – Kosilek, from his memoir.
Kosilek filed an insurance claim from jail for disability and parlayed his depression diagnosis and self-reported suicidality into a successful ongoing payout of over ten thousand dollars a year. From his memoir:
“I had a lot of money from my insurance company, when they finally paid me retroactively for almost a year and a half of psychiatric disability benefits. They had refused to pay, despite documentation of depression, suicidal ideation, and treatment with Prozac. I read my benefits pamphlet very carefully, a document they had been kind enough to mail at my request before I filed my claim. There was no provision allowing them to deny benefits if my disability occurred as a result of or was the cause of my being incarcerated. I studied the relevant law, then filed an appeal. And I won, from a jail cell, with no lawyer.
My first check was for about $17,000. I hired a lawyer to sue the sheriff for denying treatment for GID, and in addition to her retainer, gave her most of that first check. The roughly $9,000 I received over the next seven months went mostly towards two goals: smuggling female hormones into the jail, and becoming a candidate in the general election of 1992. The former was a piece of cake, the latter was an exercise in masochism, a draught of poison that I could not relinquish, even as I knew it might kill me.”
You read that right. Kosilek used the money he won from his insurance company (by self-reporting his alleged depression and suicidality) to fund an election campaign. In between time spent writing letters to the Boston Globe disputing their coverage of his crime and popping smuggled black market synthetic female hormones he ran for the office of Bristol County Sheriff as a write-in candidate in the 1992 election. Had he been elected, he would have replaced Sheriff David R. Nelson and run the very jail he was incarcerated in. He says he did so because he was angry that he was not permitted to wear lipstick and have state-funded female hormones provided to him. He also used the money to hire attorney Bettina Borders with a $15,000 retainer plus expenses to sue Sheriff Nelson. Failing that lawsuit attempt, Kosilek subsequently sued his own attorney in one of his many cases thrown out by then and current adjudicator Judge Wolf.
Inmate financial gain of over ten thousand dollars annually certainly introduces doubt on the 22 year-old self-reported suicidality claim which forms the basis of Kosilek’s current 8th amendment “cruel and unusual” suit. Kosilek’s current suit also cites an attempt at self-castration, none of which is mentioned in Kosilek’s tome – although purported self-castration claims by other inmates are discussed at great length by Kosilek. Kosilek himself apparently never made any such castration attempt. Perhaps advocates have inadvertently (or intentionally?) superimposed said narratives onto Kosilek’s claim. This seems likely since such incidents are represented with ample and legally mandated medical incident documentation when they actually occur. A handful of old news stories mention in passing that Kosilek once tried tying a shoelace around his testicles but such incident if it occurred was not significant enough to warrant inclusion in his autobiography. Sort of alarming that such basic fact parsing was apparently not done in Kosilek’s case.
The other basis of Kosilek’s current suit is the premise that men who share his gender beliefs are in danger of being preyed upon by other men in the way that men prey on actual females (with rape and assault). Yet, in contraindication to that premise: Kosilek has been housed with other men without incident for 22 years. Robert explains this discrepancy in his memoir. Years ago he beat the tar out of another male prisoner who “put his hand on my ass” with a street broom in the cafeteria. This stopped all further predation according to Kosilek.
“From what I’ve seen, most people are either accepting or at least have no hostility towards me. This may have something to do with my having been befriended by a queen called Maggie who everyone seems to like. It may also have something to do with the fact that another prisoner was foolish enough to put his hand on my ass in the kitchen when I had a street broom in my hands. No secrets in a dysfunctional family, only unacknowledged elephants in every room.”
Kosilek runs several websites with other transgender male prisoners. Sites include “A Rose Among Thorns” and “Wild Elegance” which he runs with Scott “Donna Dawn” Konitzer and Mark “Jessica Lewis” Brooks. All three of these men have filed 8th amendment claims against their respective states for denial of medical care related to transgender medicine, surgery, cosmetics, hair removal, and clothing. They use these sites to set up procedures to correspond with other transgender male felons in states with prohibitions against such correspondence, and share transgender-related jailhouse lawyering strategies and tips. (Kosilek also posts his poetry about feeling like a little girl, and angry profanity-laden rants about the “anti-treatment whores” who oppose medicalized GID treatments for felons.)
Mark Brooks, 44, is the new “wife” of Kosilek- the one that Robert wanted to look “girly” for in the “marriage” at the opening of his memoir. Brooks is serving a 50 year to life sentence in New York state at the Auburn Correctional Facility for the 1989 murder of 20 year old Hofstra University student Dean Lockshiss of Brewster CT. State police said Brooks and his accomplice murdered their victim “for kicks”. Mark Brooks and his friend Michael Meebert pretended to have car trouble. When bookstore employee Lockhiss stopped to help Brooks and Meebert robbed him of less than four dollars and then took turns shooting him with both a handgun and a sawed-off shotgun. “It was a thrill-killing and a horrible, senseless end to a man’s life,” said the district attorney. Mark “Jessica Maria” Brooks successfully won his 2003 8th amendment bid for state-provided gender-related care including psychiatric counseling and estrogen treatments. “I am Auburn’s little girl”, Brooks reported earlier this year to the Auburn Citizen News.
Scott Konitzer is serving a 123 year sentence in Wisconsin for multiple armed robberies and the stabbing of a fellow inmate. Konitzer sued the state of Wisconsin in 2005 for his right to be provided female hormones by the state to make him appear more female, and his right to be confined with female inmates. The State of Wisconsin passed a law banning state-sponsored legal/medical sex-change for currently incarcerated felons in response to Konitzer’s suit. This ban was fought by transgender advocates and the Wisconsin ACLU and was struck down as unconstitutional based on 8th amendment right to freedom from cruel and unusual punishment due to the fact that the law sought to retroactively remove estrogen treatments among transgender male felons who were already dependent upon them. Konitzer’s ruling was one of two cases which paved the way for Kosilek’s current suit. The second precedent-setting 2011 ruling was the Sandy Jo Battista case discussed below.
The website trio are joined on these sites by Colorado inmate and twice-married pedophile Christopher “Kitty” Grey, who is serving 16 years to life for molesting an 8-year-old girl for five years. He is suing the state to provide him with a gender specialist he hopes will determine that he needs a sex-change operation and subsequent transfer to a women’s prison. The state Department of Corrections is already giving Grey female hormones.
Another transgender child-rapist, David E. Megarry Jr./Sandy Jo Battista sponsored the second case that opened all the doors in 2011 for transgender men like Kosilek, Konitzer, Brooks and Grey to file 8th amendment suits demanding taxpayer funded “sex-changes”.
“Sandy Jo” has a long history of torture-raping little girls, with multiple incarcerations for such. He has the distinction of being currently housed at the all male Massachusetts Treatment Center for Sexually Dangerous Persons facility where he lives under civil commitment without limit of sentence due to his legal status as a “Sexually Dangerous Person”. Since his final 1982 arrest (for kidnapping, abducting, binding, gagging, raping, and leaving for dead in a wooded area a ten year old girl who was selling cookies door-to-door to raise funds for her skating club) he has had over 64 infractions on his disciplinary record including making obscene phone calls to female children from prison and hoarding photos of female children in his cell. He had jailhouse tattoos of naked girls placed all over his body so authorities could not confiscate them. In 2005 he made the claim that he felt inside like he “actually was” a female and with the pro bono representation of the powerful global business law firm McDermott Will and Emory filed suit for the right to grow breasts on his own body. After six years McDermott Will and Emory won him that precendent-setting 8th amendment right. Robert “Michelle” Kosilek filed his current case based on that precedent within a week of the Battista ruling. In “Cheryl’s Daughter” Kosilek calls the Battista case “the perfect storm of affirmation for me and any other transgendered prisoner in the United States”.
On September 4, 2012 Judge Wolf ruled in Kosilek’s favor, authorizing the first tax-payer funded “gender related” surgery for a prisoner in the United States.
“The idea that I might be a lesbian because I liked being with, being held by, and kissed and cared for by other girls never even came into my conscious mind until I was 57 years old.” – Robert Kosilek
The 62 year old Kosilek refers to himself as a “little girl” nearly 100 times in 400 pages. Not in the past tense. In the present tense. Wrap your mind around that. “My little girl’s heart” is an oft repeated refrain. “My little girl thoughts and feelings”, “my little girl’s dreams”, “A girl, hiding as a boy in plain sight, who grew into a woman hiding as a man, with the broken heart of a child”, “the little girl inside”, “My girl status”, “My lost little girl’s heart”, “My broken little girl’s heart”, “the combination of my adult intellect and little-girl’s determination”, “the little girl in me”, “a little girl’s dream”, “my need to compensate for all the non-girly years”, “little-girl giddy”, “My little girl’s gleeful eyes”, “Perhaps women like us have the advantage, from finally letting our little girl out to play after hiding her for so long”, “my [current] little girl perspective”, Etc. I can’t overstate the constant and disturbing pedomorphic foundation of Koselik’s expression of his transgender “internal female gender identity”.
Here are a few examples in context:
“The part I had left out was that when Judge Wolf apologized for taking six months to write the ruling in the first civil action, he also told me that he would try to write this one quicker. To a little girl, that’s a promise, and I surely heard it as one. But I was about to turn 60 in April, and Mark Wolf would turn 63 that November. The woman chose not to embarrass Judge Wolf; that was a child’s manipulation that had no place in these proceedings. But oh how I wept each time I heard that little girl’s lament “But he promised.”
“On April 13, 2010, I went to Shattuck Hospital for my first mammogram. It was like wrestling with a machine. Not a pleasant experience, but I’m glad I got it. I’m a big girl now for sure.”
“I used to be a much better liar before I got sober and finally broke my shell, revealing the frightened but adamant little-girl-creature who had been vacillating between silently screaming in her darkness and willing the light to cast nothing but pain-less shadows. An author/editor of my recent acquaintance has opined that perhaps this final escape is the reason I chose the name Michelle when I had used Lisa before. My shell. Sometimes editors are good psychologists.”
Insanity. I can’t tell you how disconcerting it is to read a novel length tome written by a 62 year-old continually steeped in this self-referential pediatric framing. It is truly disturbing, and would be regardless of the sex, criminal history or “gender identity” of the writer.
Kosilek describes his current attorney “Franny” (Frances S. Cohen) as having “a mischievous little-girl grin”.
In his choice of memoir title “Grace’s Daughter” Kosilek refers to himself as the offspring of the divine, the recipient of special favor, the sanctified, not the offspring of any actual real woman, like his mother Elizabeth who died in 1977 when Robert was 28. He characterizes Elizabeth’s life as impoverished and ruled by various abusive and violent men, which he blames her for. He does talk about putting on his bra and blotting his lipstick “the same way my mother did”. He wears his eye make-up the way his sister did. He feminized his vocal patterns by reading aloud in his cell while imitating his mother. His sister Patricia, called “Tish” has opted for no further contact with him since she filed a restraining order on him in 1972.
Judge Mark L. Wolf, who is mentioned near constantly in Kosilek’s tome, always in a flattering ass-kissing way, has adjudicated nearly all of Robert’s jailhouse lawyering suits for the last twenty years. Suits against sheriffs. Suits against his own lawyers. Suits for hormones. Suits for therapy. Suits for name change. Suits against the therapists provided by the court. Suits against the doctors providing court-ordered hormones. Suits for mammograms for his hormone-induced breast growth. Suits for laser hair removal. Suits against prison officials for not calling him by female pronouns. Suits for electrolysis to remove trace facial hair left after laser treatment. Suits for the right to lipstick use. Suits for prison lingerie. Suits against the chief of corrections. Too many suits to list. Kosilek has 16 hours a day, seven days a week, 52 weeks a year, for the rest of his life to do nothing but file suits in Judge Wolf’s court. And now: An 8th amendment suit based on the precedent of “Sexually Dangerous Person” Battista which demands the surgical “right” to invert Kosilek’s penis into a penetrable cavity, such penetrable cavity conferring womanhood on Massachusetts wife-killing men, apparently.
Judge Wolf has spent twenty years with Kosilek, week in and week out. He is married to Kosilek for as long as he holds his appointment. On September 5, 2012 Wolf issued a ruling granting Kosilek the tax-payer funded right to “sex-change surgery” and outlined a subsequent plan for his transfer to MCI Framingham medium security Women’s Prison from his MCI Norfolk maximum security men’s housing. The majority of Framingham inmates are jailed for non-violent offenses. 75% are mothers.
In “Grace’s Daughter” Kosilek claims precedent: that a man named Debbie Moccia has already been housed at Framingham even though that man still had his penis intact. According to Kosilek, Debbie was “released” from the women’s facility in August of 2005. This seems unlikely, since Moccia’s current level 3 sex offender listing (denoting the highest possible risk of re-offending and an ongoing threat to public safety) still lists him as male. Then again, Moccia, 57, has been arrested under dozens of male and female aliases and has been arraigned nearly 250 times, at least 40 involving crimes of violence. Charges include rape, indecent assault, open and gross lewd and lascivious behavior against minors, stalking, harassing obscene phone calls, failing to register as a sex offender, criminal harassment, and on and on. In 2011 he smuggled a razor blade into a courtroom in his mouth. It was the second time he had done so. Maybe Moccia accidentally ended up at Framingham at one point or perhaps was placed in isolation there. Perhaps not.
Last week on “April Fools Day” Monday April 1, 2013 the State of Massachusetts began presenting arguments appealing Judge Wolf’s decision as well as his ruling for tax-payer reimbursement of $500,000 for Kosilek’s legal costs. Included in the physician recommendations for treatment in Kosilek’s case are authorization of further surgical procedures including facial feminization surgery, tracheal shave to remove his adam’s apple, and breast implants. In his memoir Robert says at his advanced age he will probably forego many of the recommended cosmetic surgical procedures, although he “might need a nose job”.
Kosilek closes his memoir by notifying the reader he has obtained a new pro-bono lawyer to review his case and seek the overturn of his current sentence of life in prison without parole. He is also writing a fictional trilogy titled “Ghosts of Our Mothers”, a “saga that celebrates the universality of female experience, regardless of disparate circumstances”.