PEOPLE IN “POWERFUL” POSITIONS CHOSE COVER-UP RATHER THAN CONFRONTATION
by Sharon Rondeau
(Sep. 30, 2013) — In April 1990, a sham court-martial was held charging CDR Walter Francis Fitzpatrick, III with dereliction of duty for mishandling Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) funds on the USS Mars, on which he had served as Executive Officer. The alleged crime was fabricated, the adjudication panel rigged, and the outcome predetermined. In July of that year, a document titled “Response to Letter of Reprimand” which Fitzpatrick had never seen was filed with the court-martial record with his forged signature affixed to it.
After obtaining parts of the court-martial record piecemeal as a result of filing Freedom of Information Act requests, Fitzpatrick registered numerous criminal complaints with the U.S. Navy and Department of Defense alerting them to the forgery. He also cited Bitoff for his undue command influence in carrying out the court-martial instead of handing it to an impartial officer, as is required by the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ).
This year, undue command influence has been claimed by USMC Maj. James Weirick against Commandant James Amos for his conduct regarding eight Marines accused of abusing Taliban corpses, and Weirick now faces evaluations and possible expulsion from the Marines. Weirick considers himself a whistleblower, which federal law states will be protected from retaliation for contacting members of Congress or law enforcement to report a crime.
In September 1997, turning his anger against Fitzpatrick, then-Navy Judge Advocate General John Hutson agreed to open a criminal investigation in an attempt to prove that Fitzpatrick was lying about his claim of forgery. On December 4, 1997, the entire court-martial file was located, and NCIS Special Agent Richard Allen subsequently matched the paper, font and ink used to create the forgery with documents signed by Capt. Kevin M. Anderson, Fitzpatrick’s former defense counsel.
Anderson was approached by the NCIS in early 1998 and told investigators that he did not know the origin of the fraudulent document. Five years later, however, he told a Port Orchard Police Department detective that he produced the document but did not admit to signing it.
Fitzpatrick did not discover Anderson’s police report until more than a year later, at which time he brought the evidence to the NCIS in Silverdale. Instead of reopening or launching a new investigation, the NCIS falsely told Fitzpatrick that his allegations could not be pursued because of the years which had elapsed and ultimately threatened his life if he were to continue to expose what he knew in order to seek justice.
Fitzpatrick was residing in the Port Orchard area after his honorable discharge from the Navy on September 30, 1994. For nearly a decade, Rep. Norman Dicks, who represented the Sixth District of Washington in the U.S. Congress, had assisted Fitzpatrick in obtaining documentation from his court-martial. Sen. Patty Murray also made requests on Fitzpatrick’s behalf, including a memo written by Lt. Tim Zeller which showed clear collusion between Zeller and Adm. John Bitoff.
The UCMJ states that an accuser cannot also convene the court-martial, but Bitoff disregarded the rules and played both roles, using his own staff to steer the outcome and create the false documentation. In a letter to Dicks in 1999, Bitoff attempted to appear surprised and concerned at Fitzpatrick’s claim of a forgery having been placed in his file. At the same time, Bitoff admitted that he “brought the charges and convened the court-martial.”
In 2003, Rep. Dicks’s office suddenly became hostile and evasive toward Fitzpatrick without explanation. Fitzpatrick attributes the sudden change in demeanor to the revelation in 2003 that Anderson created and signed the fraudulent court-martial document in July 1990. Dicks’s and Anderson’s respective offices were located in close proximity, and the two were acquainted. Dicks was also well-known to Russell Hauge, lead prosecutor of Kitsap County, where Anderson served as a deputy prosecutor. Having committed the crime of forgery to frame Fitzpatrick, Anderson has now served more than 15 years in that position of public trust.
“It just got too close to home,” Fitzpatrick said of Dicks’s new hostility. “He knew these guys; their offices were just about next to each other.”
Dicks ultimately became responsible for not only refusing to assist Fitzpatrick further, but also for having him incarcerated.
In 2003, a Navy captain had promised a response to an inquiry made by Rep. Norm Dicks on my behalf, and the response never came. I went to Norm Dicks’s office at the end of October, because I kept calling and his assistant wouldn’t take my calls. So I went to his office and presented myself to her. Her name was Scherri Fitz. She signed her name as Scherylynn Williams. When I met her, she was Scherylynn Fitz.
I had been there many times before. I got there, and the outer door was locked, so I knocked on it, and Paula Blake, another assistant, came and answered the door. I stepped in, one or two steps, maybe.
She did not invite me in any farther. Right above us was a good-sized video camera. I conducted myself with complete professionalism and aplomb, and I said, “I’m here to get a status report.” She was decidedly nasty and malicious. She was new at that point. I hadn’t had that much interaction with her, but she was a very unpleasant person to work with.
She told me to leave, and I did, and later on, she called the police. I was leaving the building, and at the corner of Sixth and Pacific, a patrol car came speeding up, stopped and a cop saw me and approached me, asked me who I was, and I told him. He said he had just had a complaint from Paula Blake, and I said, “Well, I was just there.” And I told him what I just told you.
I was pretty upset by the confrontation, so I went immediately to the Bremerton Police Department, which wasn’t that far away downtown. I met with the sergeant and said, “I didn’t do anything wrong.” So he took down the information and I left.
The next thing I heard was that Scherylynn Fitz Williams went in and wrote out a request for a protection order against me and got it. She was complaining that I had interacted with her, but she wasn’t there that day at all.
So we went to court on the 27th, and the judge, whose name is Rio, said, “Don’t bother Scherri; the only way you can contact them is by mail.” And that was it.
I had interaction with Rep. Adam Smith earlier, in 2001 and 2002. Adam Smith sent me a very nasty letter because I was trying to help out a soldier named Cory Cox, who lived in Adam Smith’s congressional district in Tacoma. I had met with Rep. Smith in his office and briefed him on the Cory Cox matter, and then I kept calling for updates and to see what kind of action he was taking. I got that nasty letter from him in 2002.
The order the judge handed down to me in 2003 looked very much like the letter that Rep. Smith sent to me in 2002: “You can’t contact this office unless you go through the mail.”
Cory Cox was let out of prison because of my intervention.
Rep. Smith’s was the first adversarial letter that I received. Then in 2003, all of a sudden, Scherri Fitz Williams, acting on behalf of Paula Blake, took up action against me and got the protection order issued. I said, “They’re lying; I did nothing wrong. There’s a video camera there; let’s have the footage. If Ms. Williams wants to make her case, then let her do it with the footage, and she said, “It’s not available,” and I was thinking, “Well, why not?”
For the longest time, Dicks was called “the third senator” from Washington State, so he was a very powerful man. Judge Rio then took action against me and said, “You can’t send emails.”
In 2004, I was advocating on behalf of a chaplain and I was sending out an email about him. Scherri called the cops after she got the email. This is in a report dated April 26, 2004, and in it, she said I had violated the protection order by sending the email. The cop investigated and on the back of the report it says, “I contacted Williams via phone per her request. Williams stated that she works for Congressman Norm Dicks at this location, 500 Pacific Avenue. Williams stated she is a petitioner in a protection order against Fitzpatrick due to a problem he caused in the past.” I didn’t cause any problem in the past, as I’ve explained. “Williams stated she received an email today from Fitzpatrick which is a violation of the order. I observed the email as information and nothing threatening towards anyone.” That’s what it says.
“I’ve located the order, which is a protection order which is valid and served. The order prohibits Fitzpatrick to contact Williams in any form at work or residence. The notes state that Fitzpatrick can contact Norm Dicks through the U.S. Postal Service. “
The email was sent out to a list of people, and I just forgot to leave Norm Dicks’s name off of it.
A warrant was issued, and I was arrested. Nothing came of it; I was released, and the whole thing went away. Scherri had complained about me in April 2004, and I was arrested in August. I was in jail for a day or a little less. I was released, and that was the end of that. But that was all Norm Dicks’s doing.
Norm Dicks was behind it, and he could have stopped any of it from going forward. Scherri was not in the office when I first presented myself in October the year before. So Norm said, “Hey, we have to make this guy go away.” So Scherri went in and she filed a complaint, naming herself as the target of the incident that she alleged, and she wasn’t even physically present there that day. I told the judge that. I said, “She wasn’t there; I didn’t interact with her. I wasn’t there that long, and the only person I interacted with was Paula Blake, and the whole thing is captured on the video camera which is right there…” But the video was not brought into evidence.
The rig is in. Dicks was behind all of this, and before that, Congressman Adam Smith.
Sharon Rondeau has operated The Post & Email since April 2010, focusing on the Obama birth certificate investigation and other government corruption news. She has reported prolifically on constitutional violations within Tennessee’s prison and judicial systems.