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The Underlife - A Separate Reality?(16 posts)

The Underlife - A Separate Reality?AllisonHayes
Sep 23, 2002 7:12 AM
Who is this Madelyne Gorman Toogood? And what part of the underlife in America has this story uncovered?

What is obvious is that she was caught on tape beating her daughter. Authorities said she had left the store angry because she had been refused a cash refund for goods.

Madelyne, a 26 year old itinerant, drove her new Toyota Sequoia SUV from Indiana to New Jersey after she saw herself on TV. She also took the time disguise herself by dying her hair. These are not the actions of someone who is naive.

Madelyne Gorman also has two outstanding warrants in her name in Texas. One warrant is for theft; the other is for driving without a license. The theft warrant was issued in April. At that time Madelyne told police she lived at an address on Bristol Street in Elkhart.

She is part of a Gypsy group called the "Irish Travelers." Home repair scams are typically associated with these groups, but their scams are far more sophisticated, and include many types of fraud and theft. They are not dissimilar to the mafia and they have access to vast resources. They will defend their own. In addition, they are charming, accomplished liars and ruthless.

When Toogood decided it was best to give herself up, her attorney Steven "Rocket" Rosen flew from Houston to Chicago to address the media and defend her. Clearly, she has access to resources.

Travelers are made up of three groups of Travelers, English, Scotch, and Irish. The English Travelers, especially the Boswells, Coopers, and Stanleys, actually call themselves Gypsies. Other English Travelers go by the names of Small, Oaks, Harrison, and Herrin. Irish Travelers use Sherlock, Gorman, and Donahue, while Scotch use Williamson, Galvin, Haliday, Keith, Parks, and Holden. Although little is known about the Traveler's history, they all speak in a "cant", a secret language among each other.

Unfortunately, what we are witnessing is generation after generation reinforcing ways to lie, cheat, steal and scam. I wonder if we will find out more about this underlife as the story of Madelyne and her band of Irish Travelers unfolds?

(...what will probably happen is they will become antiheros and they will make a TV series out of the whole thing and then the Irish Travelers can become legitimate.)
Sep 23, 2002 8:19 AM
I doubt they ever can become "legitimate," any more than the Mafia can.

I thought her little speech was very contrived and insincere. What I thought was particularly strange was that she was a bit contite, but kept saying to punish her, not her daughter. The way I see it, she *was* punishing her daughter, and further life with this mother would be punishment.

That woman was out of control. If that had been a man beating his wife, there would be no question that he'd be in jail. The fact that this is a mother and child should engender no sympathy for the mother, despite our fundamental belief that it is generally better for children to be with their parents.

All this other stuff is fairly irrelevant to the situation. While it is a little curious, the issue at hand is child abuse. My bet is that if it happened this time, it has before and will again. Even based upon that one episode, I think she should be jailed and lose parental rights.

More than one story here...AllisonHayes
Sep 23, 2002 9:54 AM
(btw, I agree, she was too contrived. It is as though she is so good and experienced at lying she doesn't know how to behave in any other way. Do you really think she bought those items she was trying to return for cash? A classic scam is to have someone else steal the merchandise and then they return it for cash, claiming it was a gift or you lost the receipt.)

The obvious story, child abuse. Punishment: 6mos - 3 years plus loss of child. And for how long? What about her other two children? And what about her other warrants in Texas?

Where do you put the child(ren)? In a foster home or with relatives? If the children go with relatives, they will be raised in the same manner.

The less obvious - but more tragic - story is the lifestyle these children will be raised in if they should be returned to the mother or to the relatives.
What about the father?Starliner
Sep 23, 2002 10:08 AM
I'm not privy to all this background info you've detailed. Don't the children have a father? I'd think they'd go with him if he's around.
parental rightsDougSloan
Sep 23, 2002 10:45 AM
When I was in Kansas City, I was involved in a number of pro bono termination of parental rights cases, both from the children's and parents' points of view.

It was my experience that if one parent is an abuser, the state will prohibit the child from being reintroduced into that household, regardless of what the other parent is doing. The ultimate goal is to protect the child. If the other parent is deemed safe to raise the child, without the presence of the abusing parent (e.g., she is in jail), then the child is of course returned to the parent. If that is not possible, then the child is placed with a foster parent family, and that may well be family or strangers. If family, there would likely be a prohibition on the child visiting the abusing parent without permission and/or supervision. If all parental rights are terminated, which is pretty drastic, then the parents have no rights whatsoever with respect to the child. Being incarcerated might well lead to termination, if the other parent is not available or deemed suitable to raise the child. There could be a simple termination of certain rights, though, like custody, and opportunities for visitation. In any event, the lifestyle of any person the child is placed with will be scrutinized, family or not.

These are very heart-breaking cases. Once time I desperately worked to rejoin a mother and 2 children for several years. The mother was a crack addict, and was in jail for a short spell. The state refused to allow her to have custody after she got out of jail, but after a couple of years of social workers and family helping, we convinced the state to allow the mother to have the kids back just before Christmas. Everyone, including the kids, were ecstatic. I felt like I really made a difference as a lawyer, and was quite proud of it. About 4 days later the mother was back in the hospital because of an overdose. She was done, and I was heartbroken for her and the kids. Keep in mind that she never harmed the kids; it's just that passing out from an overdose sort of jeopardizes them. By contrast, this "gypsy" mother actively beat the kid. There really shouldn't be any question on this one.

Mothers in jailStarliner
Sep 23, 2002 10:17 AM
If, based on this one episode, you think she should be jailed and lose her parental rights, then there should be a lot more children taken away from their mothers, and a lot more mothers would be in jail. This sort of child abuse happens a lot more often than we'd care to believe.
It happens alot, but we pretendKristin
Sep 23, 2002 11:23 AM
How many people here have ever pretended they didn't see or hear something a parent did that was questionable? We do it all the time. But then we see this video tape and get all up in arms about it. I hope that the next time I see a child being hurt that I will be courageous enough in the face of my fears to take a stand and respond by reporting it.
For real...Wayne
Sep 23, 2002 9:38 AM
that's interesting. I got the impression that her husband was one of those guys that travels doing big construction jobs around the country. Didn't realize there was all of this as well.
So these are the American version of pikers (sp?) as portrayed by Brad Pitt in Snatch. That makes her name of Toogood very ironic!
Like the Brad Pitt char. in the movie Snatch? (nm)ColnagoFE
Sep 23, 2002 11:56 AM
D'ya like dags? dags?jose_Tex_mex
Sep 24, 2002 3:37 PM
One must watch Snatch with the closed caption on in order to appreciate the true genius of the flick...
This reeks of low level discrimination...jose_Tex_mex
Sep 23, 2002 1:33 PM
... I saw a similar piece on a news show a year ago and could not believe the press has the nerve to associate this group of people with either the Irish, Scotish, or English.

These travelers, may have descended from Gypsies (or the Gypo's in Snatch), the "tinkers" in Ireland (pardon the slur), or other individuals who lost their land (especially during the Irish famine) and were forced to travel the country.

However, to say these people are somehow Irish or British is just ridiculous. Most of them are at least 6th generation American.

Ever notice whenever someone does something good they are considered American, do something bad and all of a sudden you represent your lineage. It's ridiculous and appears almost as low level discrimintaion. Call them what they are - redneck hustlers.
Sep 23, 2002 1:37 PM
I got the impression they call themselves that. Does that make a difference?

AND SHE DRIVES A SUV!!! BURN HER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (nm)ColnagoFE
Sep 23, 2002 2:39 PM
funny thing isDougSloan
Sep 23, 2002 2:44 PM
I get the impression that many people here are more upset, at least vocally, about someone driving an SUV than being a child abuser. I guess child abuse isn't the cause de jure.

you might have a point (nm)ColnagoFE
Sep 24, 2002 9:09 AM
Reasons behind the beatingAllisonHayes
Sep 24, 2002 11:33 AM

The beating happened for one of two reasons. "The little girl gave away the scam to an employee or the mom was so ticked off at not getting refunds she took it out on the little girl. It is common to take along their children. This is on the job training for kids. They learn to shoplift at their mothers elbows."

Prosecutor Chris Toth said today that the reason Kohl's began to follow these two women and their daughters was because they had scammed the store before.

Men of the Travelers do house scams and the women do shoplifting scams.