I was the whistleblower in the Jezebel article “Andrew Cuomo is Still a Fucking Snake.” I’d report Alphonso David for blatant ethics violations, but the state agency I’d report him to is currently violating my first amendment rights.
I’m am an RN, poet, artist and rape survivor who fought for the Child Victims Act—a law that put Jeffrey Epstein and the Roman Catholic Church in court. For the last 20 months, a corrupt New York state agency called the Joint Commission On Public Ethics (JCOPE) has threatened me with fines and criminal charges. They say steps I took to protect children from rape by supporting the passage of the Child Victims Act constitutes “grassroots lobbying.” But JCOPE is picking on the wrong woman.
With help from pro-bono lawyers, Cam McDonald of the Government Justice Center and David Grandeau Esquire, I filed a lawsuit in October 2019 to defend my rights.
This shouldn’t be happening. Federal and state laws are on my side. I am being forced to suffer because I spoke truth to power, blew too many whistles, sounded too many alarms—and went on record.
But one time, I was “unnamed.” I exposed Gov Cuomo’s then Lead Council Alphonso David of corruption and the editor was concerned for my safety. The editor was right: within a year I was being harassed by JCOPE.
I created this comic strip of my theory.
Cuomo’s chosen JCOPE Chair, Michael K. Rozen (King Ring Ding), had a long and profitable history of protecting sexual offenders. He and his partner, Kenneth R. Feinberg, represented Penn State and Disgraced Football Coach and Convicted Sex Offender Jerry Sandusky; Feinberg also represents Cardinal Dolan and the New York Archdiocese in a Victims Compensation Fund used to settle systemic child sexual abuse for pennies on the dollar and outside the courts, hidden from the public.
In order to maintain Feinberg’s fund as a victim’s only option, his client, The Roman Catholic Church, spent $3 million dollars in New York fighting against the Child Victims Act. With the Act’s passage, courts across the state have hundreds of cases against the Church.
The Church is not pleased with the new law, and they were not pleased that I supported it in 2018. Cardinal Dolan, the Archbishop of New York, and I went toe to toe. When he called the Child Victims Act “toxic” for the Roman Catholic Church, I issued a public response: “Is it a lookback or priest raping kids that is toxic? I’m just trying to figure out which causes more damage to society.” I also noted that Dolan “represented an institution that not only violated children, but actively worked to cover” up the exploitation. I decided it was time for a change.
I created #RapeIsTOXIC and plastered this image on billboards in three states. When state Senators met with Dolan and refused to explain why they would not support the Child Victims Act, I used the billboards to ask WHY NOT. I posted fliers noting those who refused to answer—like the below sample, of (former) New York Senate Majority Leader John Flannagan, which I created right before his 2018 election so people would know who he was.
Looking back, I reckon they didn’t like my art activism. But I don’t so much care what they don’t like. I will not abide being coerced into silence, lied to or ignored.
Instead, I began to make more art.
I wrote New York’s elected officials and faxed them a short, illustrated story. Some wrote letters in my support, but JCOPE did not stop—so I designed simultaneous protests in New York City and Albany for the day of my hearing. I made costumes and props, and I filmed it.
I swallowed my pride and wrote Governor Cuomo a letter asking him to fire his JCOPE Chairman and build an agency that is ethical. When he failed to respond, I posted fliers asking Cuomo to take these steps.
The NY Senate and Assembly could have dissolved JCOPE. They have not. The Governor could have stopped this at any time. He has not. When leaders fail to act to protect their people from cruelty and corruption, I believe that new leaders are needed to defend the rights of the people.
I will wait for my day in a Supreme Court. I will continue to make art inspired by what I read in the newspapers. KatLabs.org is raising money to help society get answers to questions and to help good work initiatives.
We believe that survivors of suffering will guide the future, because we know what it’s like to suffer injustice. We want a better future for all children. We conduct experimental use of Freedom of Speech in search of cures to heal humanity of all sufferings and cruelties. Through Empathy Art pieces and our advocacy, we will achieve a balance of wisdom and compassion.