Attorney Rees Lloyd
March 25, 2012
As a veteran, patriot, and loyal “life member” of the American Legion, it is my duty to report, with utter disgust at those responsible, that the scandal of the American Legion Department of California in allowing, approving, and authorizing a convicted child sexual molester, Chester L. Petty, 45, of Hemet, CA, to participate in and serve as a high officer of a Legion children youth program, the Sons of the American Legion (SAL), continues and deepens due to false representations being made of action having been taken to remedy the scandal.
I originally wrote of this scandalous policy, by which a small handful of politically ambitious Legionnaires have brought disgrace and dishonor to The American Legion, the largest wartime veterans in the world with 2.4-million members in some 14,000 Posts, in my NewsWithViews.com column of March 15, 2012 (to which readers are referred for more background on this scandal).
Later on the same date as that NewsWithViews.com publication, I received written confirmation, and others, have received oral assurances, from Department of California officers, that the problem was resolved because Petty had resigned his positions in the SAL (although he had not resigned as a member of the SAL). Now, even those representations have turned out to be false.
The truth is that Chester L. Petty, a non-veteran who pleaded guilty to seven (7) counts of sexual assault on a 16-year-old boy in State of Hawaii Criminal Court Cases 2p101252 thru Case 2p1011258, continues to occupy the office of, and hold himself out to be, the "Assistant Adjutant of the Sons of the American Legion."
This directly contradicts, and renders false, the express representation to me in writing, by e-mail dated March 15, 2012, by lawyer John Bartos, Department of California Judge Advocate, which states in relevant part: "Rees - Chester Petty resigned from his positions in the Detachment, ie Assistant Adjutant and member of VA&R Commission."
evidence proving that convicted child molester Chester Petty is in fact
still acting as the Ass't Adjutant of the SAL, and proving that Bartos'
representation that Petty had resigned that position is either deliberately
false or incompetently made, is indisputable, proved beyond even a reasonable
doubt by Petty, himself. Here is an e-mail dated "March 19,
2012" transmitting a notice of "Legion Day" at the
California Legislature, sent out by Chester Petty the convicted child
molester in his official SAL position and signed by him as "Assistant
Adjutant" of SAL:
"Chester Petty" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Mar 19, 2012 5:21 PM
Subject: FW: Legion Day flyer & registration form, 1 pager
To: [e-mail addressees deleted]
the Good of the Sons and Support of the Legion,
CHESTER L. PETTY
Chester L. Petty, Assistant Adjutant
Sons of The American Legion
Detachment of California
Hemet, CA 92543-7023
Home: 951-[telephone number deleted]
Cell: 951-[cell number deleted]
Fax: 951-[fax number deleted]
This is not a singular act of Petty post-alleged resignation: I have in my possession not one but two more e-mails sent out by Petty for and on behalf of the SAL in which he signs himself as "Assistant Adjutant." Both are dated "March 21, 2012," that is six (6) days after JA John Bartos represented to me in writing, by his e-mail of March 15, 2012, that: "Rees - Chester Petty resigned from his positions in the Detachment, ie Assistant Adjutant and member of VA&R Commission."
Oral representations that Petty had resigned his SAL offices were made even earlier to Fred MacKenzie, Commander of California Legion District 21 (6,000 members in 22 Posts in Riverside County). As Commander, MacKenzie represented District 21 as a member of the Department Executive Committee (DEC) at its meeting held in Lakewood, CA on March 11-13, 2012.
There, MacKenzie continued to advocate District 21’s position of removing Petty, and of the Department adopting District 21’s “Zero Tolerance Resolution To Protect Children, which would prohibit convicted child sexual molesters from holding office in, or otherwise participating in, Legion children and youth programs.
The DEC is effectively the Board of Directors of the California Department, which is chartered by the National American Legion but which operates as a non-profit California Corporation. Every officer of the California Department owes a fiduciary duty to the members. Every fiduciary has, among other duties, the duty of “candor” to the members of the corporation in regard to the operations of the corporation.
In apparent breach of that duty of candor, representation was made to me in writing by California Department Judge Advocate John Bartos, an immigration lawyer in Los Angeles, that Petty in fact resigned his offices in SAL. Wary of such representations by Bartos in light of his conduct in this scandal, I requested the same day (March 15, 2012), a copy of Petty’s resignation from the Department. I have yet to receive it. Now, Petty has proved by his conduct that the representation made by lawyer Bartos, agent of the Department, is in fact untrue.
The question which ought to concern every California Legionnaire, and in fact the National American Legion, and all Legionnaires, other veterans, and Americans who are supportive of the American Legion is: How did this happen?
How was a convicted child sexual molester ever allowed, approved, and authorized to participate in -- let alone serve as an officer in – a California American Legion children and youth program?
How is it that the Department of California did not remove a convicted child molester from the position of SAL Ass't Adjutant (and later, Acting Adjutant) -- positions which would give him direct access not only to the children in SAL but to all the personal records of all the children in SAL in the entire State of California -- even after I and District 21 provided to the Department the certified court records from the State of Hawaii in Criminal Court Cases 2p1-1252 thru Case 2p1011258 (proving that Chester Petty pleaded guilty to seven counts of sexual molest of a minor) and the records of Civil Case 2DA00-1-0429 (Carren Martin on behalf of Sean King vs. Chester L. Petty, which records prove that the mother of the victim and her son sued Petty for restraining and protective orders which in fact were ordered against Petty after hearing in which the boy's declaration testimony detailed what the 5' 10" 320-pound Petty had done to him). [See that testimony in my NewsWithViews.com column of March 15, 2012.]
How is it, now, that Chester L. Petty, convicted sexual child molester, continues to hold the office of, and hold himself out to be, the Ass't Adjutant of the statewide SAL, after the DEC of March 11-13, 2012, and after JA John Bartos expressly assured me in writing that: “Rees - Chester Petty resigned from his positions in the Detachment, ie Assistant Adjutant and member of VA&R Commission."
Fially, it must be asked: Who is responsible for this disgraceful, scandalous policy and conduct by Department officers, all of whom at all times owed a fiduciary duty of candor to the members?
The latter question is easily answered: There is no question as to the California Department officers who are the most responsible for allowing, approving, and authorizing convicted child molester Chester Petty to occupy and remain in the office of Assistant Adjutant of the California SAL.
Those officers are: Past National Commander Bruce Thiesen, whose now admitted corruption in his relations with the corrupt potential vendor Vantage Marketing remains unremedied (see my NewsWithViews.com column of March 15, 2012, for details); Jr. Department Commander Mark Foxworthy (2010-2011), who engineered the overturning of the unanimous verdict by the Department Board of Review finding Thiesen guilty on all charges in his corrupt relationship with Vantage Marketing (Ibid.); and lawyer John Bartos, Foxworthy's Ass't JA, now JA under current Commander Hugh Crooks.
Prior to the DEC on March 11-13, 2012, District 21 Commander Fred MacKenzie served on Department Commander Hugh Crooks a motion of District 21 expressing "no confidence" in PNC Thiesen, PDC Foxworthy, and John Bartos, based on their conduct in the controversy over convicted child molester Petty.
Among other things, Thiesen, Foxworthy, and Bartos, at the Department of California Convention 2011, had combined to kill in the Resolutions Committee, thereby preventing the delegates from voting on, the "Zero Tolerance Resolution To Protect The Children" which I wrote and District 21 adopted and sponsored at the Convention to be adopted by the Department. The Zero Tolerance Resolution, as noted above, affirms a policy of prohibiting convicted child sexual molesters from serving as officers of, or otherwise participating in, American Legion children and youth programs. It would have ended the disgraceful Thiesen-Foxworthy-Bartos policy.
The Zero Tolerance Resolution was killed in the Resolutions Committee and thereby blocked from coming to the floor for vote by the 2011 Convention delegates by these nefarious means of Thiesen-Foxworthy-and John Bartos:
First, Foxworthy appointed Thiesen as chairman of the Resolutions Committee -- which turns out to have been a "Committee Of One," as I have been informed Thiesen was not only the “Chairman” but the only person who actually participated in the meeting of the Resolutions Committee. It should be noted that Foxworthy appointed Thiesen only three(3) months after Thiesen had pleaded guilty by stipulation to two counts of "neglect of duty" in his relations with the corrupt Vantage Marketing in a farcical but legally binding so-called "Stipulated Settlement " signed by Thiesen, as the Respondent (i.e., Defendant), and Foxworthy, as the alleged complainant on behalf of the Department at the DEC meeting on or about March 12, 2011. JA Bartos, as lawyer, approved the politically concocted “Stipulated Settlement Agreement To Second Amended Complaint” as to form.
Thiesen, appointed chairman of his one-man Resolutions Committee by Foxworthy , killed the Zero Tolerance Resolution in that alleged committee. When objections were made by District 21 that delegates had a right to vote on the Zero Tolerance Resolution, Thiesen refused to do so, referring them John Bartos, whom Thiesen said had the issue “in hand,” or words to that effect.
What John Bartos' had in hand was his utterly incompetent, inept three-page purported legal memorandum asserting that the Resolution could and should be killed in Resolutions Committee and thereby be prevented from being voted on by the delegates. Foxworthy, Convention presiding officer as then-Department Commander, allowed that despicable action to stand over objections from the floor by District 21 and other delegates who were denied the right to vote on the Zero Tolerance Resolution.
It is to such depths that American Legion democracy descended in the regime of Mark Foxworthy-Bruce Thiesen-and John Bartos. As the ball passed from Tinkers-to Evers-to Chance in the old baseball reference, so corruption of democracy passed from Foxworthy-toThiesen-to Bartos in their killing of the Zero Tolerance Resolution in order to keep a convicted child molester, Chester Petty, in high office in a children and youth program in California.
All of this was done by Thiesen-Foxworthy-and Bartos in arrogant disregard and violation of the Department of California Constitution, Article 9, Section 8, which expressly limits the authority of the Resolutions Committee to assigning resolutions to appropriate reviewing commissions “without recommendation.”
That act of denial of the right to vote on the Zero Tolerance Resolution illustrates American Legion democracy at its very nadir in the autocratic regime of the corrupt PNC Bruce Thiesen, his coattail hanging political acolyte Mark Foxworthy, and their inept hanger-on JA John Bartos
Thiesen-Foxworthy-and Bartos got away with that violation of the right of delegates to vote on the Zero Tolerance Resolution at the 2011 Convention. However, at the DEC meeting of March 11-13, 2012, the action of Thiesen-Foxworthy-and Bartos in keeping the Zero Tolerance Resolution from being voted upon -- and thus keeping the convicted sexual child molester Petty in office as Ass't Adjutant of the SAL -- was effectively overruled by the DEC, as District 21, joined by others, pressed the issue of adoption of the Zero Tolerance Resolution.
That is, despite Bartos' attempts to make excuses for his manifestly incompetent legal memorandum, Bartos was challenged from the floor at the DEC. Bartos was exposed for urging the Resolutions Committee (i.e., Thiesen) to kill the Zero Tolerance Resolution even though, as stated above, the California Department Constitution expressly commands at Article 9, Section 8, that the only power the Resolutions Committee has is to refer resolutions out to appropriate review committees "without recommendation." Bartos' utterly incompetent purported written legal opinion failed entirely even to mention Art. 9, Section 8, of the Constitution.
After Bartos’ inept purported legal opinion was shown to be in violation of the California Department Constitution itself, the DEC voted unanimously that the "Zero Tolerance Resolution To Protect Children" must be allowed to be transmitted to the floor to be voted upon by delegates to the 2012 California Department Convention in June.
It is my hope, not as author of the resolution but as Legionnaire desiring to see the integrity of The American Legion restored and not further stained by this disgraceful policy of Thiesen-Foxworthy-and Bartos, that the delegates representing some 100,000 California Legionnaires will vote overwhelmingly to adopt the Zero Tolerance Resolution at the 2012 California Convention.
Adoption of the Zero Tolerance Resolution will make clear that the California American Legion will no longer expose children to the risk of harm in Legion children and youth programs by the Thiesen-Foxworthy-Bartos policy allowing, approving, and authorizing convicted child molesters to hold office or otherwise participate in Legion children and youth programs.
However, it is some three months to the California Legion Convention in late June. What is to happen between now and then? The Department officers have failed to take effective action to prevent convicted child molester Chester Petty from serving as an officer of the SAL, let alone ordering and directing that Petty cannot participate in the SAL children and youth program. Their representations and assurances that Petty resigned his offices have been exposed as false.
Further, JA John Bartos has long appeared to be acting as the de facto defense attorney for convicted child molester Chester Petty, even though it is Legion members, Posts, and Districts who are entitled to representation and defense by the Department through its JA. Instead, District 21 has actually been threatened with a lawsuit or criminal prosecution by JA Bartos.
That is, illustrative of the conduct of JA Bartos against California Legionnaires as agent of the Department, as well as illustrative of his apparent ineptitude, is Bartos’ act of sending a letter to District 21 Commander Fred MacKenzie ordering and directing District 21 to “cease” enforcing its Zero Tolerance Resolution, under which convicted child molesters, including Petty, are prohibited from serving as officers, or otherwise participating in, District 21’s children and youth programs.
Bartos, as JA and thus agent of the Department, threatened that District 21 may be sued or criminally prosecuted if it does not obey Bartos’ order on behalf of the Department. Bartos cited as the basis for such a lawsuit or criminal prosecution a California “Civil Code” section. However, incredible as it may seem, the “Civil Code” section cited by lawyer JA John Bartos in threatening District 21 with lawsuit or prosecution does not in fact exist. There is a confidence builder.
Notwithstanding such threats from JA Bartos on behalf of the Department, District 21 has not retreated an inch from enforcement of its Zero Tolerance Resolution policy.
Current California Commander Hugh Crooks, on the evidence at hand, was not responsible for initiating or maintaining the policy of allowing, authorizing, and maintaining a convicted child molester, Chester Petty, as Ass't Adjutant of the SAL. Thiesen-Foxworthy-and Bartos are guilty of that, which took place prior to Crooks succeeding Foxworthy as commander.
However, Hugh Crooks took office at the end of June, 2011. He is now in possession of the true facts. He presided at the DEC on March 11-13, 2012 and knows of the District 21 "No Confidence" motion; knows of the revelations there of his JA Bartos' incompetent legal opinion which resulted in the Zero Tolerance Resolution being blocked from floor vote at the 2011 Convention; and knows of the DEC vote that the Zero Tolerance Resolution must go to floor vote at the June, 2012, Convention. Crooks now knows, if he did not before, of the fact that JA Bartos’ threatened to sue District 21 for enforcement of its Zero Tolerance Resolution, citing a non-existent “Civil Code” statute.
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Hugh Crooks knows also that his JA, John Bartos, made an express written representation to me that Petty had in fact resigned his positions after the DEC meeting of March 11-13, 2012. Crooks knows that, if for no other reason, because Bartos copied him with Bartos' March 15 e-mail to me. Crooks knows also, because of what I have written, that Bartos’ representation was either deliberately false or incompetently made, as Petty in fact is still acting as, and holding himself out to be, the "Assistant Adjutant of the Sons of The American Legion," notwithstanding the representations of Crooks' JA to the contrary.
Therefore, it is now beyond time for California Commander Hugh Crooks exercise his authority to take the steps necessary to remove Petty from the SAL program once and for all, and not to follow in the footsteps of the corrupt Bruce Thiesen, his autocratic acolyte Mark Foxworthy, and the inept John Bartos.
In short: This shameful controversy and scandal over a convicted child molester holding office and participating in a California Legion children and youth program, must end. It is a disgrace to The American Legion. Enough is enough.
© 2012 Rees Lloyd - All Rights Reserved
REES LLOYD is a longtime civil rights attorney and veterans activist whose work has been honored by, among others, the California Senate and Assembly, and numerous civil rights, workers rights, and veterans rights organizations. He has testified as a constitutional expert at hearings before the U.S. House and Senate representing The American Legion.
He has been profiled, and his work featured, by such varied print media as the Los Angeles Times and American Legion Magazine, and such broadcast media as ABC's Nightline and 20/20, Fox News In The Morning, and, among others, by Hannity. His writings have appeared in a variety of national, regional, and local newspaper, magazine, and other publications. He is a frequent radio commentator, and a sought after speaker.*
[*For identification only. The views expressed here are solely Rees Lloyd's and not necessarily any person, entity or organization he may otherwise represent. ]