Exclusive: Docs from Druyan Byrne Case Reveal Pattern of Misconduct? – #193

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Documents obtained by MJEOL concerning the Druyan Byrne case reveal a pattern of questionable tactics, witness intimidation, vindictive prosecution, jury pool tainting through the media and other misconduct by the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Dept and prosecutors. The same prosecutors and police who are currently trying to railroad Michael Jackson.

Druyan, too, was investigated and charged with lewd acts upon a minor. The Santa Barbara police detective, Stuart Gardner, according to the documents, browbeat the 15 year old girl without a parent present until she gave in and “confessed”.

She later testified at the preliminary hearing that nothing happened between she and Byrne. She also submitted a declaration where she denied any such abuse.

Not to be content with that, prosecutors and police found a 20 year old drug addict and prostitute to make claims against Byrne earlier this year.

The following is PART ONE of a synopsis of events. We will be bringing you more of the synopsis soon.

Synopsis of Events: The People vs. Druyan Byrne On 9/2/03, 39 year old Druyan Byrne, a photographer and part-time theatre instructor in Santa Barbara, California was arrested for Lewd Acts with a child, a violation of Penal Code 288(c)(1). The arrest was conducted by Santa Barbara Police Detective Stuart Gardner, the lead detective in the case. The case is being prosecuted by Senior Deputy District Attorney Ron Zonen. The investigation against Byrne began weeks earlier on 8/6/03, when an employee of his, Colin Gage, reported to the Santa Barbara Police Department that he discovered what appeared to be a partially nude video image of a 15-year-old girl on Byrne’s cell phone camera. Gage, a 21-year-old student at the University of California in Santa Barbara, was employed by Byrne as his assistant at a youth theatre camp Byrne was directing. Byrne made the decision to fire Gage and tell him not to return to the premises after Byrne discovered Gage kissing a 16-year-old assistant who was working at the theatre camp. Before Byrne was able to meet with him, Gage had taken Byrne’s cell phone to the police department. It was later related to Byrne, by the same 15-year-old, that Gage had also attempted to kiss her in the week prior to this incident, but that she had refused his advances. The mother of the girl was interviewed by Santa Barbara Police Officer Lazarus, at which time it was revealed that the girl had asked Byrne to take the images for an art project that she and Byrne were working on. The mother told Lazarus that she was not concerned about the images, as Byrne was a family friend, and was trusted by her and her daughter. The partially nude image was not explicit and contained no sexual content or references, and was artistic in nature and intent. Police discounted their statements, however, and continued to investigate what they termed “suspicious circumstances”, even though there was no evidence or indications of any crime. Lazarus later testified in the preliminary hearing that he did not believe that there was “any criminal activity associated” with the images, and that he “didn’t have any knowledge of any specific crime”. The investigation was turned over to 27-year-old Santa Barbara Police Detective Stuart Gardner, who had been employed by the department for approximately five years. Gardner, during an interview with Byrne, related his suspicion that Byrne and the 15-year-old were having a romantic relationship. Gardner’s assumption was apparently based on copies of text messages found on Byrne’s phone that were sent to the girl’s phone. One of the text messages said “I love you, too”. Even though Byrne and the girl both testified that it was not unusual for many members of the close-knit group in the theatre camp to say “I love you” with a purely platonic intention, Gardner clearly told them both that he felt they were each lying about their relationship. During these interrogations, Gardner said that this suspicion was based on “gut feeling” and “instinct”. Police continued to interrogate the 15-year-old girl, on five separate occasions. Each time she denied any romantic or sexual relationship, and each time the police indicated that they did not believe her, and admitted to her that they suspected her of lying, even though there was no evidence nor indication to the contrary. In addition to these interrogations, on 8/8/03 Gardner visited a local Peet’s coffee house, having discovered that Byrne had been seen there on occasion accompanied by teenagers. During that visit, one of the employees of the coffee house, Lindsay Bramel, stated that she had seen Byrne in the store approximately five days during the previous week, each time with a teenage girl she described to be “about 17 years of age”. According to the Police report, “Bramel found it hard to explain but said that she had woman’s intuition that there was a romantic relationship between the two of them”. She described their affectionate behavior as “definitely more than a friendship.” Bramel’s only contact or knowledge of Byrne was from the brief encounters when Byrne ordered coffee. Later that same evening, two days into the investigation, armed with a search warrant containing Bramel’s statement, Gardner and at least three other officers performed a five-hour search of Byrne’s house. Police seized Byrne’s personal computer, photographs, letters, journals, notebooks, contents of trash cans, and other items. According to Gardner’s police report, Deputy District Attorney Joyce Dudley was also present to assist with the search and, upon her recommendation, police confiscated razor blades and sponges that they felt may contain DNA evidence. During the search Pat Francisco, Byrne’s grandmother, who was present and a witness to the search, clearly overheard Ms. Dudley saying “we got him” to the officers at the scene. On 8/29/03 Gardner conducted the fifth interrogation of the 15-year-old, which took place at the Santa Barbara Police Department, and videotaped in entirety. Although no new evidence pointing to any inappropriate relationship between them was found during the search and seizure, Gardner once again pressed the girl to describe the nature of her relationship with Byrne. She described Byrne as a ‘mentor’ and someone for whom she had great respect and trust. Gardner flatly told her that it was “obvious to everyone around here that there is some kind of relationship going on” between them, abruptly discounting her statements to the contrary. He continues: “… if it hasn’t happened, then it’s blossoming… and he really loves you… and is maybe really attracted to you… I mean, can you explain—I mean it’s really unexplainable.” Again, the girl says that there has been no relationship. At this point, Detective Gardner lied to the girl, saying that he had evidence that Byrne has had sexual relationships with young girls in the past. The supposed ‘evidence’ he presented to her were photocopies of notebook pages that were confiscated from Byrne’s residence. These pages were written by a female friend of Byrne’s and included some sexually explicit encounters she has had with men in her past. During the interrogation, Gardner claimed that these passages were referring to Byrne. Gardner is shown on the video flipping through the photocopies, reading selected passages out of context from different pages. Gardner gave the clear impression that he was holding solid evidence of a sexual relationship between Byrne and the author of the journal, who appeared to be 17-years-old during some of the encounters she was describing on the notebook pages. (Prior to this interview, Gardner had contacted the author of the notebook, who confirmed to him that the pages indeed do not refer to Byrne, but previous relationships. On 8/27/03 Gardner received the first of two handwritten faxes from the author confirming these facts, but her assertions have continually been discounted by Gardner and Zonen.) Even though the author of the notebook stated the passages were not about Byrne, Gardner told the girl:

Let me read you what he’s written—what another female has written about them in her journal. [he flips through pages] She talks about different dates they had before they started having sex, […he flips through more pages] this talks about pretty graphic sex stuff […] she talks about her visit to Planned Parenthood, […] more stuff about them having sex, […] I don’t want to read you all the different sex stuff… (Transcript of video-taped interview)

Having created the idea that Byrne has had sexual relationships with minors in the past, Gardner then asserted that he believed that the girl either was presently, or was being targeted to be Byrne’s next “victim”:

I mean—listen—I’m not here to pressure you, but I’m pretty interested in knowing the truth and I really feel like you’re holding back—so—and—I don’t know if he’s threatened you […] There’s going to be more and more victims. This wasn’t the first time… it’s not the last time and the thing is that um, you know… I’m not satisfied until I know the truth and I’d like to hear it from you.

Gardner’s strategy to convince her that she is a potential victim of Byrne seems to be effective, as it appears on the video that she is emotionally disturbed by Gardner’s statements. After hearing these comments from Gardner, the girl says:

Everything that I’ve said has been the truth […] and to me it’s just—it’s so bizarre, like, hearing that. (pause) Because I could… (pause) I could so easily be anyone, or—or it be me. But I haven’t had sex with Druyan.

Gardner continued to press her further, conducting the interrogation more as if the girl were a suspect in a crime rather than a potential victim. The girl’s denials are continually dismissed, and Gardner repeatedly asks her to divulge any sort of sexual conduct between her and Byrne. Gardner makes repeated leading statements, questions, accusations and suppositions. He often completes her sentences with his own assumptions, and presses her to confirm his statements. Gardner seems to realize himself that he is doing this:

Gardner: I don’t want to put words in your mouth, but sometimes you—I’m anticipating your emotions. And maybe I’m—let me know if I’m doing it wrong, I mean, you seem to agree with me a lot of the time when I kind of explain stuff and you go ‘yeah’—but definitely let me know if I’m ever misinterpreting you, or— Girl: Yeah.

Gardner repeatedly expresses his belief that she is not being honest with him, and that she is hiding something. The girl often seems unsure of how to answer his questions, and at one point she bluntly asks him, “What are you looking for, specifically?” Gardner also expressed his concern that Byrne’s supposed intention to have sex with her would result in her becoming pregnant or contracting a sexually transmitted disease, further fueling the girl’s fears about being a potential victim. The girl, apparently believing that the detective was telling the truth, reacted to this with apparent shock, and is seen on the video tape to curl up in a ball on the couch, crying and swearing. At one point Gardner leaves the girl alone in the interrogation room to go and speak with her mother, who has been waiting in the lobby. The mother later told Byrne that Gardner said to her “I almost have her cracked”, and that she could leave. The mother then left the police station, while Gardner returned to the interrogation room, saying that he would give the girl a ride home when they were finished. One hour later in the interrogation, Gardner continues to assert his claim that Byrne has a pattern of sexual abuse behavior:

Gardner: I think that Druyan is a good guy in the fact that he probably has a lot of good relationships with people and really wants the best for them. I think he has a problem—I think that’s it. I think that as you’ve read about these priests in the scandal you know I don’t think they got into that profession because they wanted to rape or attack young boys, or something like that I think they have a problem—and I think that—I’m not comparing Druyan, but he got into this business because he likes youth and he likes to see you broaden your horizons, you know, ideas and all this other stuff but he does have a problem, and that’s not your fault, if it wasn’t you right now, it would be a different girl, and it has been a different girl […] And that’s just based on my experience. I mean I’m just telling you the pattern with these guys. And he fits it to a ‘t’. […] do you see how this could happen to other girls? Girl: Yeah. Gardner: Do you see how important you are that this isn’t gonna happen to any other girls? Girl: Yeah. Gardner: I mean forget any kind of guilt that he may want you to feel—forget that because you should be a super-hero or a rock star because 20 years from now, or 15 years from now, you can look back and say, hey, it almost happened to me, but it didn’t and because of what I did on August 29, 2003, this isn’t going to happen to any other girls, right? I mean do you think that if you ended up having sex with him that it would have been the best part of your life or something or anything like that? Girl: I don’t think so. Gardner: Do you think that maybe it would cause you heartache and maybe cost you an STD, or maybe—it would have influence on your life that probably wouldn’t be good. I mean, all you’re ever going end up with is a broken heart and maybe more—maybe something much more serious like a pregnancy or STD—um, so I don’t want you to feel guilty…

By the end of this interrogation, Gardner had elicited a statement from the girl that she and Byrne had kissed on the lips, and that he had touched her breast when they were working on an art project together. According to a recorded phone conversation between the girl and Gardner, that night after the interrogation the girl spoke to her mother stating that she was upset because she had lied to Gardner. Her mother advised her that she needed to call Gardner and tell him the truth.

(You can read the entire account of what happened over at the forums, or just stay tuned to the main site for more info.) MEDIA FILES RELATED TO THE DRUYAN CASE: *Preliminary Hearing Transcript (pgs 120-140) http://www.mjeol.com/byrne/Transcript_PrelimHearing_pgs120-144OrtnerTestimony.pdf *Declaration of the Accuser http://forums.mjeol.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=49 *LA Times Article: Little Lies Reveal Big Flaw in the System http://www.mjeol.com/byrne/Article_LittleLiesRevealBigFlawintheSystem.pdf -MJEOL

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