By Jackson Thoreau
Early one Saturday afternoon in July 2003, I made a simple phone call to Margie Schoedinger, a Texas woman who filed a rape lawsuit against George W. Bush in December 2002. I expected to leave a message on a machine, so I was caught a little offguard when Schoedinger answered.
She, too, sounded somewhat surprised I had called, saying she hadn't heard from many other reporters. But she talked to me for a few minutes about the legal action.
"I am still trying to prosecute [the lawsuit]," said Schoedinger, a 38-year-old African-American woman who lived in the Houston suburb of Missouri City. "I want to get this matter settled and go on with my life."
Well, Schoedinger hasn't gone on with her life. In fact, three months after I spoke to her, she died in an apparent suicide. And this matter remains unsettled.
When I asked her in July 2003 about the lack of media coverage, Schoedinger said she wasn't seeking publicity. She said she did not even know about a December 2002 article in the Fort Bend Star, the only U.S. mainstream media outlet that covered this story, to my knowledge. The Fort Bend reporter, LeaAnne Klentzman, said she even went to Schoedinger's home and talked to a man there, who said she could not come to door. While I reached and spoke to Schoedinger on my first attempt, maybe she wasn't ready to talk back in December.
Anyways, Schoedinger said she was surprised the case wasn't covered more because "it is true......People have to be accountable for what they do, and that's why I'm pursuing it."
To be sure, Schoedinger's accusations - which include being drugged and sexually assaulted numerous times by Bush and other men purporting to be FBI agents - are bizarre and hard for most people to believe. But her story fits in with those told by a growing number of people who say they were used as guinea pigs or whatever by members of the CIA or another U.S. agency who wanted to test out the latest mind-controlling drug or just have a strange form of release. And her death - let's just say government agents have made murders look like suicides before.
In her court petition, Schoedinger said police in Sugar Land, another Houston suburb where she said some assailants linked to Bush attempted to unsuccessfully abduct her from her car shortly before the 2000 election, refused to take a report or do anything about that incident. She filed a lawsuit against the Sugar Land department and said that in preparing its defense, Sugar Land police found out that she dated Bush as a minor. I didn't get a chance to ask Schoedinger about that tie and didn't meet her in person, but her driver's license listed her as being 5-foot-8 and weighing 125 pounds, for what that's worth.
The Fort Bend Star story quoted a Sugar Land police captain saying his department had no record of any complaints by Schoedinger. All he had to do was what I did - go to the Fort Bend County Internet site and do a simple search on Schoedinger's name in the area of civil court records. I found the lawsuit Schoedinger filed in December 2000 against Sugar Land police, and it even had numerous responses by the department's attorneys in that case.
Just wait. This story gets stranger.
When I started asking Schoedinger about certain details of the case, such as alleged surveillance at her home and if she was still legally representing herself, she politely ended our conversation. "I need to see what has been written," Schoedinger said. "I feel like it's best for me to end our conversation."
Obviously, she had learned to be careful about what she said and to whom she said it. I could understand her being leery about talking about her situation with a stranger over the phone.
But I remember being puzzled by Schoedinger's attitude after hanging up the phone. I wondered that if she had made up such a wild story, why she didn't come up with something a little less outlandish, in which people couldn't necessarily dismiss her as a kook. I wondered why she didn't seek publicity to at least provide some form of protection. I've long learned that being as public as possible is one of your best defenses against rogue intelligence agents. But she didn't even seem to want any media to cover her story. I told several writers I knew, some of whom tried to contact Schoedinger. None succeeded, as far as I know.
I remember thinking, "I hope she doesn't wind up on the wrong side of a gun." And sure enough, in late September, Schoedinger did.
The Houston Chronicle wrote a bare-bones obituary that stated only that Schoedinger "expired" on Sept. 22, 2003, and her burial was at Houston Memorial Gardens.
I called the Harris County Medical Examiner's office, and a clerk told me the cause of death: a "suicide" by a "gunshot wound to the head." I hung up amid bombs going off in my mind.
For one, using a gun to commit suicide is predominantly executed by males, according to psychiatrists and other sources like pharmaceutical firm Merck & Co. Women are more likely to overdose on drugs, although the number of gunshot suicides among women has increased in recent years.
Besides Pravda and Internet ezines - one of whom referred to Schoedinger as "deranged" - I haven't seen stories on this strange death of a woman who filed a rape lawsuit against the U.S. president and wound up dead nine months later. I can't say I'm surprised. Or even angry. I don't know what the hell to think. All I know is I was one of the last - if not the last - reporters to speak to Schoedinger, and she didn't sound "deranged" to me in July 2003. She sounded like someone who had gone through something weird and was trying to sort it out. She sounded like someone who wanted the truth to come out. And now she's dead.
If this had happened to Clinton when he was in the White House, do you think the story would have been covered non-stop on FOX, CNN and the right-wing talk shows? Do you think we'd have reporters asking Clinton and his people about this death in press conferences? Is FOX unfair and imbalanced to the point of being "deranged?"
There are some more odd twists to this case. I also found a 2002 criminal case related to Schoedinger in which Christopher Schoedinger, her husband, allegedly struck her. He pleaded no contest and was sentenced to a year in jail. Christopher Schoedinger had also filed for divorce. Then since 1997, Margie Schoedinger had filed for at least five assumed business names for various ventures - including a communications firm, health and beauty business, travel agency and publishing company. Could a "deranged" person start all those businesses or even know how to file a lawsuit?
Schoedinger's lawsuit can still be viewed on the Fort Bend County site at http://ccweb.co.fort-bend.tx.us/localization/menu.asp - then go down to the bottom and click on civil court. Then type "schoedinger" in the plaintiff box and click search. You should find another lawsuit she filed against Sugar Land police, as well.
I can really understand media members being intimidated, even frightened, of the Bush administration. As I've detailed before, these are not Boy Scouts running the show. The Schoedinger death is just the latest in a string of strange ones surrounding the Bush family - Bush biographer J.H. Hatfield, Sen. Paul Wellstone, Sen. Mel Carnahan, and others that are detailed on various sites, including at http://members.boardhost.com/gwbush/msg/362.html .
For the record, I contacted Bush's media office about Schoedinger and have yet to hear back. Now that I live in the Washington, D.C., area, I can go down to the White House in person and try to get someone to speak to me about this case. As expected, I haven't had much luck with the Fort Bend County and other Texas authorities. So maybe I'll stand outside the White House, holding a sign saying, "Who killed Margie Schoedinger?" and passing out copies of my column on the case. It would make about as much sense as anything else in this matter.
For all I know, maybe Schoedinger did kill herself. Maybe she dreamed up a lot of this stuff. But I don't know, am I "deranged" to think it's weird that in this mass-media, detailed-information age, so few people are even asking any questions about how a woman who filed a rape lawsuit against the president could be dead less than a year later?
Jackson Thoreau is an American writer and co-author of We Will Not Get Over It: Restoring a Legitimate White House. The updated, 120,000-word electronic book can be downloaded on his Internet site at http://www.geocities.com/jacksonthor/ebook.html. Citizens for Legitimate Government has the earlier version at http://www.legitgov.org/we_will_not_get_over_it.html. He can be contacted at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org .