Article 25

A Prosecutor and a Lawyer Walked into a Church

In Uncategorized on 11/29/2015 at 2:08 pm

Prosecutor and public defenderBeyond Civility gets people talking

By Jeremy Flannery

Dialogue can lead citizens and civic leaders to develop more awareness and understanding about how society functions and the motives of its active members. That is the rationale behind Beyond Civility: Communication for Effective Governance, a local organization that seeks to break down partisan barriers and provide an antidote to negative language in public discourse.

Beyond Civility hosts communication workshops with local businesses, media and public officials and organizes two forms of face-to-face discussions between civic leaders. One is a “back-to-back” discussion with two people of opposing views challenged to taking the opposition’s viewpoint and express it until the other side says, “I could not have said it better myself.” The second form of dialogue is a “side-by-side” event with two people of opposing views discussing their motives and the backgrounds that led them to take their positions.

Beyond Civility has hosted more than 15 face-to-face events since 2012, involving city council members, state representatives, local political party leaders, lawyers from prosecutors’ and public defenders’ offices and representatives of the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio.

Prosecutor once arrested

The organization’s most recent “side-by-side” event Sept. 21 at Saint John’s Unitarian Universalist Church featured Assistant U.S. District Attorney Kenneth Parker and Hamilton County Public Defender Raymond Faller.

The similarities in the family histories of this prosecutor and this criminal defense attorney, and in the personal experiences that led them to take their positions, might be surprising. Parker, the prosecutor, is African American. Faller, the public defender, is Caucasian. Both men were raised Catholic by their parents in Cincinnati. Parker served as an altar boy for his parish. Neither came from affluent families.

Parker said he once worked for an employer who used the “honor system” for recording his work hours. That test of being honest with his employer helped him develop moral character, he said.

Parker said he used to read Time Magazine publications about characters in the Wild West working to establish a justice system far away from the reaches of metropolitan justice during the expansion era of the United States.

“There were no race issues,” Parker said. “You were just cowboys.”

Parker said he was once arrested for grabbing a police officer’s shirt sleeve while being cited for jaywalking. After the officer signed the ticket and handed it to Parker, Parker grabbed the officer’s sleeve and demanded that he provide his badge number. The officer’s partner then tackled Parker and arrested him for assaulting a police officer. Afterward, Parker says, when he was in the rear of the squad car, one of the officers said, “You know what, boy? We’ll take you down to the docks and straighten you out real good.”

Parker said that incident reminds him that police officers must be thoroughly questioned by prosecutors, because their account of an event might not be supported by other witnesses.

“It’s not about winning or losing,” Parker said. “If a prosecutor is saying, ‘I have so many wins,’ that’s not a good prosecutor.”

Prosecutors must be sure that the proper suspects are charged with a crime, he said. Otherwise, the wrongfully charged might lose hope and confess to crimes they did not commit.

Too many suspects are in jail because they can’t afford bail, according to Parker.

“Some people should go home,” he said. “The criminal justice system can make or break a person who might be innocent.”

While quoting the cliché – “If you do the crime, you do the time” – Parker said legislators should restore discretionary powers to judges instead of establishing mandatory minimum sentences. He also said the corrections system convicts should focus more on education and rehabilitation.

“What do we want the justice system to look like when they get out?” Parker said. “Do we want them to be body builders, or do we want them to be thinkers?”

‘No trust fund’

Faller discussed his family background and experiences at Roger Bacon High School to explain how he found his way toward becoming a criminal-defense attorney. His family’s finances from low-wage employment and the curriculum and discipline at his high school shared the common notion that “failure was not an option,” Faller said.

“There was no room for failure,” he said. “There was no safety net. There was no trust fund.”

Faller recalled an English composition test that was a pop quiz. Students had 40 minutes to complete an essay on a topic assigned by the teacher.

“You got an ‘F’ if you had one run-on sentence in that essay,” Faller said.

Impoverished clients are common for a public defender’s office. Faller said he first became aware of serious poverty while working at a local grocery store before becoming a public defender. He said that about 90 percent of the store’s customers bought groceries with food stamps.

“I can’t say I knew really poor people until I graduated high school,” Faller said.

Inadequate funding is the biggest problem for defense attorneys, according to Faller. People facing prosecution often cannot afford their own defense, and so public defenders handle the bulk of criminal defense in the United States, he said.

But the problem is not that public officials don’t have an interest in adequately funding the justice system, but rather that political candidates fear they will lose elections for supporting more funding, Parker said.

“No one gets elected into office by saying, ‘I want to raise taxes to pay lawyers, but not just that. … I want them to be paid to defend guilty people,'” Faller said.

Faller disagreed with Parker’s stance, the classical theory of criminology in which choice is the primary focus. Faller said another approach is to consider influences and circumstances beyond a person’s control that can cause them to commit crimes.

“They didn’t have the benefit I had, so I can’t be as judgmental about them doing what they do,” Faller said.

But Faller said that kind of empathy does not excuse a person from committing a crime.

Parker expressed the need to have empathy for all people, including criminals. However, he said, “I’ve never sent a man to jail. They sent themselves away.”

Beyond Civility hosts its next forum, a discussion about the health-care system, Oct. 21 at St. John’s Unitarian Universalist Church in Clifton. For more information, visit


Artists’ Rituals

In Uncategorized on 10/22/2015 at 3:39 pm


Bobbi Thies, a painter, taught art to children for 22 years.

Making Use of Helpful Things

By Anne Skove

Inspired by Mason Currey’s book, Daily Rituals: How Artists Work, we have approached a number of artists to find out what makes them tick. Each month three individuals who paint, write, sing, dance or otherwise create share their habits with us.

This month we feature curator and artist Cal Cullen, artist Bobbi Thies and filmmaker Eric Chatterjee.

Cal Cullen and dial phones

You are not only an artist yourself, but you also run a gallery. Are your work styles different for these two endeavors, or are they pretty much the same?

They’re actually very similar. Both my art practice and my gallery administration/curatorial practice depend on personal interactions and communication. I’m interested in building community and social interaction for each; and so with similar goals, so is true for the processes. I’ve struggled in the past with justifying my curatorial practice; feeling as though I should be focusing more purely on my own making. I’ve realized that in many ways curating exhibitions and developing programming is a more pure form of what I’d always been searching for as a visual artist, building community. I’m not ready to give up the act of making entirely. The autonomy I find in the studio is still important; however, I am seeing the gallery more and more as my preferred mode of art-making.

Writer P.G. Wodehouse once experimented with using a Dictaphone. He didn’t like the way his voice sounded, so he went back to using good old paper and pencil. Have you ever had a failed technological attempt? Does technology help or hinder the creative process?

Yes, technology has failed me in the past and I’m afraid will continue to fail me. Since I’m always trying to find ways to harness and display human interaction, I often get lured into the possibilities that new technology offers me. I’ve found actually that older communication technologies (like rotary dial phones and typewriters) are more reliable and easier for me to fix if things go awry. Plus, they’re more aesthetically pleasing. They’ve become my go-to for art-making these days.

Architect Frank Lloyd Wright apparently worked best at the last minute. Currey says, “Wright didn’t begin the drawings (of his masterpiece, Fallingwater) until the client called to say he was getting in the car and would be arriving for their meeting in a little more than two hours. … Wright did not get frazzled by these forced bursts of last-minute productivity; indeed, colleagues and family reported that he never seemed hurried, and that he seemed to have an almost inexhaustible supply of creative energy.” Which is it for you – a marathon or a sprint?

I’m usually pretty good at managing my time, spacing the workload out so I don’t have too much stress towards the due date of a project. It does take a bit of inspiration for art, however, and that I find is harder to manage, since you never know when it’s going to hit. I keep a journal full of ideas, and therefore whenever one is required of me, I don’t necessarily need to have a brand new good idea ready right then. I can just flip through my journal and find one that has been waiting for the opportunity.

Calcagno Cullen is a multimedia artist, curator, and arts educator. She is co-director of Wave Pool: A Contemporary Art Fulfillment Center in Camp Washington, Cincinnati, and adjunct teacher at the University of Cincinnati as well as in the Community Education Department of the Art Academy of Cincinnati.

Bobbi Thies and ‘morning pages’

I keep thinking of what I would add to the thoughts of what inspires me as an artist. My uncle was a watercolor, plein air artist and a commercial artist. He wrote in my sketchbook in a most shaky penmanship when he was well into his late 80s: “The real artist is not the one who sees for themselves but they must make others participate.” I’ve framed this quote and his list of colors he used for his palette. I’ve found much peace with using this as my motto.

Moving your body is important to me. The water exercise classes I go to, even climbing all the stairs in our house – any movement helps clear the pathways to create.

OK, I’ve been thinking about what I do to clear my mind and my heart to paint. Every morning I write my gratitudes to God. Needless to say, the world seems in better perspective after these exercises. The book The Artist’s Way by Julie Cameron calls this practice “morning pages.” I use to do this writing and then got away from it for awhile, but I’ve been doing it again the last six months or so.

Painting au plein air gives you a “still life,” and off you go. I believe painting is a metaphor for your total life experiences. So what prepares you for this adventure? Just go paint.

My bio would include a 22-year stint teaching art to grades 3-9 and 23 years of experience as the founding director of a therapeutic riding program. Now I just get to be … an artist.

Eric Chatterjee and deadlines

Fellini only slept for three hours at a time. How many hours can you sleep? How many hours do you sleep?

I sleep about five hours a night. I think the longest I ever slept in the past 20 years when I haven’t been sick is nine hours, but it’s very rare for me to sleep that long. Last night I went to sleep around midnight and I woke up at 4 a.m. this morning.

Bergman said of film making, “Eight hours of hard work each day to get three minutes of film. And during those eight hours there are maybe only 10 or 12 minutes, if you’re lucky, of real creation.” How many minutes of movie do you get from how many hours of work?

Independent filmmakers don’t have the luxury of doing as many takes of scenes as the studio system does. When I worked on Spider-Man 3, we spent weeks on what ended up being about three minutes of screen time. Video has made things a lot cheaper (it used to be hundreds of dollars an hour to shoot on film when you figured in processing costs), but even now it’s still not cheap. I try to get one minute of usable footage for every three minutes the camera is rolling, but the trick is to get all the organization right to get those minutes. A really complex scene could take hours of setup and rehearsal before any shooting at all. But it totally depends on the movie. Currently I’m working on a documentary, and that can often involve looking through hours and hours of news footage for one 30-second clip.

Writer Marilynne Robinson said, “I tried that work ethic thing a couple of times – I can’t say I exhausted its possibilities – but if there’s not something on my mind that I really want to write about, I tend to write something that I hate. And that depresses me.” Is forced creativity possible?

Absolutely it is. I think it was Isaac Asimov who said something like, “The difference between a professional and an amateur is that a professional can work even when he doesn’t want to, and an amateur can’t even when he does.” He proved it on live TV when someone challenged him to write a story right then and there, and he wrote one of his most memorable short stories. I think screenwriting and filmmaking competitions are great training for new filmmakers because they force you to work to a deadline. I’m a big fan of deadlines, because otherwise you could spend forever tweaking a piece of art trying to make it just a little bit better, and never actually put it out into the world. Deadlines force you to move on.

Eric J. Chatterjee began producing cable access programming in the mid 1980s at Warner Amex Cable Communications, Inc. (WACCI) Wasson Road Studios, eventually receiving a Philo T. Farnsworth Award for excellence in broadcasting in the Mid Central States Region. Eric has since worked on programming for four of the Big 5 mass media conglomerates. He holds a master’s degree in digital design and currently teaches classes at the College of Informatics at Northern Kentucky University.

‘Come See My Looted Art’

In Uncategorized on 09/27/2015 at 3:23 pm

Hendricks with cross

Paul Hendricks discusses the Healing Cross of Metamora, Ind. Photo by Margo Pierce.

The mystery of the Healing Cross of Metamora

By Gregory Flannery

Tiny Metamora, Ind. – population 188, according to the 2010 U.S. Census – is an unlikely place to find looted art. Maybe that’s why no one has tried to reclaim the 500-year-old Healing Cross of Metamora. Or maybe the sculpture is long forgotten in its homeland; many churches were destroyed during World War II. Or maybe it isn’t war booty at all.

The first odd thing about the Healing Cross is that its owner, Paul Hendricks, virtually boasts that it is stolen property. In the shrine he built for the cross, a sign says four U.S. soldiers found it in a cave behind a fake wall in France in 1946 and brought it to the United States.

Thirty years later, Hendricks says, he was present when the four army veterans sold the cross to his friend, Hans Lindemann, in San Diego, Cal.

“In 1976 he called me,” Hendricks says. “I went to be a witness to what was going to happen. Four men came in. He bought the cross. These four men were actually GIs from World War II. They found the cross in a cave behind a fake wall in Alsace-Lorraine. I saw the photos. They show four GIs holding the cross. It’s basically like Monuments Men.”

The comparison falls flat, however. The film Monuments Men is about U.S. soldiers recovering looted art from Nazi hideaways, not keeping it for themselves.

The sculpture now known as the Healing Cross of Metamora – actually a crucifix, showing Jesus of Nazareth on a cross – is five feet tall, wood inlaid with mother of pearl, with depictions of various New Testament stories, including the Last Supper and Resurrection. Some saints are represented, and the crucifix contains what Hendricks says are 14 first-class relics – Roman Catholic parlance for “bones of saints.” When Lindemann saw the crucifix, he had to have it, Hendricks says.

“Hans fell in love with it,” Hendricks says. “He made a cash offer, and he bought it.”

After Lindemann died in 1992, Hendricks bought the crucifix from his widow, taking it to Metamora in 1998 and opening his shrine in 2001, he says.

Hendricks prefers to discuss unusual events that he says have occurred since he acquired the crucifix. But when pressed, he acknowledges that its provenance might be a problem. His goal is to share a beautiful religious symbol with others, he says, not to deprive the people of France of part of their culture.

“If anybody has a legitimate claim, I’ll give it up,” he says.

The locals caught on

Hendricks says he is a retired high-school business teacher from San Diego who developed a taste for collecting artifacts during a stint in the Peace Corps in 1967-68. He is the owner of the Museum of Oddities, a Metamora attraction that includes some 2,000 miscellaneous items he has acquired over the decades.

He points to various items, most identified by handwritten inscriptions on index cards or scraps of paper: “That head is thousands of years old. … I dug those up in 1967 in Venezuela.”

He expounded upon his Venezuelan digging years later for the Whitewater Valley Guide, a local business publication.

“(Hendricks) heard about a particular pre-Columbian site nearby and went there with a friend, got permission from the local tribe and dug up old treasures,” the article says. “He said the local people thought he was crazy to be interested in that old stuff, but when he came back in 1970 ‘everybody was doing it,’ he said. The locals had caught on and it wasn’t as easy to get permission.”

Hendricks is seemingly un-self-conscious in disclosing what archeologists would describe as “looting.” He is not a trained archeologist, nor a trained curator. The Museum of Oddities – originally the Museum of Ethnographic Art, founded in 1986 – is a mishmash of curios, religious items, North American native spear-points and Western and non-Western art. Admission is $3. A sign on the door gives fair warning: “Caution: This place is haunted! Paranormal activity has been experienced in and around this building!”

Advertisements for the museum feature Hendricks in a pith helmet as “Indiana Joe.” One first-time visitor, filmmaker Paul Logan of Cincinnati, seemed to think the museum, which he visited at a previous location, might be a Temple of Doom.

“Paul flipped on the lights to reveal a museum of Pre-Columbian art, voodoo dolls, and Native American art,” Logan wrote. “There’s a Mayan death rattle, shrunken heads and glass cases full of skulls. Death everywhere. … Paul backed out of the room. In my head, I pictured Paul coming back in a black robe. I snapped pictures as if the only thing someone might find of me would be my camera. The smell in the room became stronger.

“Oh my God, he’s gassing the room.”

Logan survived the encounter and became friends with Hendricks, creating a brief video in which Indiana Joe reveals he has sacred stones that open a portal to let Jesus return, starting the end of the world.

‘Better be quiet’

Part huckster, part true believer, Hendricks says he has never had the history of the Healing Cross documented, nor has he had it appraised.

“It needs to be cleaned, and it needs to be restored,” he says. “I don’t have that kind of money.”

But parts of his story can be verified:

  • Hans Lindemann did, in fact have the crucifix before it went to Metamora. Lindemann owned the Museum of American Treasures in San Diego. A 1983 San Diego Union article about the museum doesn’t mention the sculpture. But the article includes a photograph of the crucifix. The caption, however, describes it as “a mother-of-pearl altar piece that was brought to Lindemann from Africa,” not purchased from GIs who found it in France. Perhaps Lindemann knew better than to say how he got it.
  • Lindemann’s elderly widow, Shirley, confirms parts of Hendricks’s account, according to her son, Dennis Crosby of Phoenix, Ariz.

“I spoke with my mother, and she does remember the crucifix being sold to Hans’ friend Paul, and a request for any possible photos about the crucifix, but she does not remember ever finding any photos of the crucifix,” Crosby says.

  • Hendricks claims he took photos of the crucifix to the Cincinnati Art Museum in 2001, hoping to show them to Thomas Hoving, former director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

“He said, You don’t have a clue, do you?’ His specialty was Renaissance ivory,” Hendricks says. “He said, ‘This is from the late 1500s to early 1600s.’ He said, ‘You better be quiet about it or somebody’s gonna make a claim.’ ”

While that conversation cannot be verified, and Hoving is dead, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported that Hoving was, in fact, scheduled July 19, 2001, to speak at the Art Museum.

  • Not enough to have acquired stones that can bring back Jesus, Hendricks claims to have been in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 11, 2001, and saw smoke rising from the Pentagon after terrorists crashed a jetliner into the building.

Sure enough, an article in the Houston Chronicle quoted “Paul Hendricks, a retired San Diego schoolteacher” who was with a friend “touring the Capitol Building on Tuesday morning when the plane hit the Pentagon, about three miles away.”

‘Small pieces’

The Healing Cross is indisputably a beautiful object. Owen Findsen, retired art critic for the Cincinnati Enquirer, has not seen the crucifix but says photographs shared by a reporter indicate it is something of note.

“The figures and some of the decorative elements are sophisticated, but some of the patterns are rather crude,” he says.

The 14 relics – which Hendricks says are bones of saints, a claim he has not verified – are likely something else, according to Findsen.

“These would be Stations of the Cross, probably pebbles picked up by a pilgrim in Jerusalem,” he says. “People have been collecting pebbles from the Stations of the Cross in Jerusalem since the 3rd century A.D., and they still are.”

And the number of the Stations of the Cross makes it unlikely the sculpture is, as Hendricks asserts, about 500 years old. The history of the Catholic Church’s veneration of the stations tells otherwise, Findsen says.

“Until the 17th century, only seven stations were acknowledged, so this has to be at least 17th century,” he says.

That American soldiers looted art in Europe during World War II is well established.

David Malakoff, deputy news editor at Science magazine in Washington, D.C., wrote about it for Slate last year, after the release of Monuments Men.

“The U.S. high command fretted about the plunder,” he wrote. “General Dwight D. Eisenhower had received numerous bitter complaints about looting from allies in France, Belgium and other liberated Nazi territories.”

The Healing Cross is so large that it would seem difficult for four soldiers to smuggle it into the United States. But not so, according to Steve Waddell, a history professor at West Point.

“I study World War II logistics and do know that soldiers sent back all kinds of things without the ‘Army’ knowing about it,” he says. “At the war’s end the Army was sending vast quantities of stuff back home, and keeping track of it all was very difficult, especially with soldiers being discharged and sent home. It would not be impossible for someone to crate up something and find a way to get it home. … When you have a buddy at the post office or in the supply system, anything might be possible.”

Findsen, the retired art critic, made an observation about the sculpture’s construction.

“Why are all the decorative parts cut into small pieces, not always corresponding with the designs?” he says. “If this was an object stolen by American soldiers, it was sent home in small pieces. It may even be an assemblage from different objects.”

Hendricks himself unwittingly illustrates the point during an interview. As he turned the sculpture to show the back side, a piece of mother-of-pearl fell off.

“Some pieces have fallen off, and I’ve glued them back on,” he says.

Seventy years after the fall of the Nazi regime, finds of looted art still make headlines. One of the leading agencies in the effort to restore looted art to its rightful owners is the European Commission on Looted Art (ECLA) in London. After reviewing photos of the Healing Cross, Anne Webber of the ECLA presented a clue as to the sculpture’s history.

“We have consulted an expert in such items who advises that it seems very similar to crosses made in Bethlehem in the 19th and early 20th centuries,” she says.

Bethlehem, on the West Bank, was home to a thriving industry making Christian religious symbols using mother-of-pearl, many now prized collectors’ items and available for sale online. Bethlehem is certainly closer to Africa, where Lindemann reportedly said the crucifix originated, than France.

Hendricks bristles at the ECLA’s suggestion.

“I’ve seen those things in Bethlehem,” he says. “They have inlay and mother of pearl. It’s $10 to $23 – nothing of this quality, not like this.”

If the ECLA’s suggestion is accurate, left unanswered is why the Healing Cross contains a figure of “S. Pierre” – French for St. Peter. Perhaps the crucifix was, in fact, made for a French church or private owner.

Webber acknowledges that the ECLA’s suggestion doesn’t disprove Hendricks’s claim.

“This doesn’t mean that it wasn’t looted, of course, but the history provided about the U.S. soldiers sounds like it may not be completely accurate,” Webber says. “But who knows. … Do you happen to know how much the current owner paid for it? It may be worth asking him.”

Hendricks gives a characteristically colorful account of his purchase from Shirley Lindemann. When her husband died, Hendricks says, she asked Hendricks to buy some of Hans Lindemann’s museum collection. It was at 4 p.m. on a Friday afternoon, Hendricks says.

“In a very flippant manner, she said, ‘Buy that cross.’ I said, ‘That’s his most prized possession.’ I said, ‘I’m a teacher. I don’t have a lot of money.’ My checkbook was in my shirt pocket,” Hendricks says. “She grabbed it and saw how much I had. She said, ‘Take everything out but $100 and give me the rest.’ She took the cash and I got the cross. She couldn’t find the photographs.”

But exactly how much did Hendricks pay? He refuses to say.

“I’m not going into financial things with the cross,” he says. “The cross is too important to talk about money.”

The ECLA requested additional information if it becomes available. Other organizations, which one might expect to have an interest in art allegedly looted by American soldiers, showed none. Repeated inquiries with the French Embassy in Washington, D.C.; and the Catholic Archdiocese of Strasbourg, France, have gone unanswered. So, too, with inquiries at Bethlehem University on the West Bank.

Earlier this year the French Ministry of Culture said it might be able to help. Language differences do not conceal the goodwill expressed by Anne-Christine Tcheuffa-Marcou.

“I take care of find you somebody who can answer you precisely,” she wrote. “I shall not miss to come back to you as quickly as possible. It risks to take time because it is not always easy to find the good interlocutor straight off. But I shall give you the maximum of precision.”

Ready to talk

That was in April. So far, no “good interlocutor” seems to have been found.

The true story behind the Healing of Cross of Metamora remains unknown. Hendricks says he was present when the four Army veterans sold it to Hans Lindemann and saw the photos showing them with the sculpture in a cave in Alsace-Lorraine, France. He doesn’t know their names, and Lindemann’s widow never found the photos.

“Nothing much was said,” Hendricks says. “I think they found it – I won’t say ‘looted.’ I think it’s a 30-year statute of limitations; and if no claim is made, they can keep it: ‘Hey, it’s yours. You’ve got title to it.’ ”

Just as the ECLA urged skepticism, so does Waddell, the professor at West Point.

“I am not an expert on such law, but I am skeptical about the 30-year story,” he says.

For Hendricks, what’s important are the visions and unusual events that have happened since he acquired the Healing Cross.

“A series of things began to happen,” he says.

Indiana Joe is glad to talk at length about them.


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