Their Stroy Matters with Sara Troy and her guest Jon Taylor on air from January 10th.
I am truly sorry for the shame, embarrassment and disappointment my choices have brought to my family, friends and technical diving community.
In 2016 I pleaded guilty to a Human Trafficking charge and was sentenced to 4 years in prison, I NEVER WAS A PART OF THE HUMAN TRAFFICING, I JUST DID NOT PAY ATTENTION. I was released 3.5 years later, with six months off for good behavior. I was recommended for 12 months at a halfway house but received none. Unfortunately for me, the definition of Human Trafficking in the eyes of the government is very broad. I am incredibly ashamed for putting myself in a position to be accused of a charge that sounds so terrible. This is my story on my accountability, what I learned, and how I see things now in a far more engaged and compassionate way.
What I did NOT do:
Several rumors have been circulating, most within the technical diving community, a small group of very vocal and very unsuccessful keyboard commandos. These people are saying just about the worst things you can say about another human being. The majority are false, with the intent to destroy my success. To be clear, I did not have sexual intercourse with an underage girl. I did not “traffic” any human as per the accepted definition (the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act). The definition of the charge clearly implies that a “profit” or “benefit” needs to be part of the equation. I was absolutely notinvolved in any facet of the business side of this terrible situation.
What I DID do:
In short, I was trying to convince myself that I was Charlie Sheen. I was using/buying drugs (for personal consumption) and running around with every woman that would entertain my company. In every way, I’m a lot luckier than Mr. Sheen. I lived a very decadent and hedonistic lifestyle, surrounding myself with some very bad people that were in fact guilty of everything, every heinous act noted above. I chose to behave this way in one of the most conservative districts in America. It obviously didn’t end well. Was I consciously aware of the horrible things some of the people I associated with were doing? I was not…but given my skill set, that’s simply not the whole truth.
In November of 2016 I self-surrendered to FCI Danbury. In prison, I met a man that altered the course of my life forever. His name is Rabbi David Wax. I’ve never met an innocent person in prison, except for the Rabbi. He did what he did out of a deep obligation to G-d. We spent every Shabbat together, kept kosher and spent as much time in temple as the prison staff would allow. Rabbi Wax and I spent hours together, his guidance and teachings changing me in a way that I can’t possibly articulate. One evening while studying DUTIES OF THE HEART, I was discussing my situation and his response was powerful: “You have all the answers.” After a few moments, he said something like the following: “I find this hard to believe considering your ability to think, your ability to understand complex scripture, your ability to argue, your ability to recognize the most complex moral issues and draw conclusions that many won’t reach even after years of Rabbinic study. You didn’t realize what was going on with these people you were dealing with? Did you consider the possibility that the reason you didn’t know is because you chose not to know? Did you made the conscious choice of ignorance? If that’s the case, aren’t you in fact responsible even if you weren’t directly involved? What would you have done if you knew?” This went on for a bit, but I answered the last question this way: “If I had known that these people were treating human beings the way they were, I would have stopped it by any means necessary”. The Rabbi replied, “I have no doubt and that’s why you are in fact guilty and responsible in at least in the eyes of G-d.” Checkmate. I was done, the Rabbi had me dead to rights, but that’s not the point. I had me dead to rights as well. So I am responsible. It was my deliberate choice of ignorance. I think of that moment daily and remember it as if it was yesterday. Rabbi Wax said “You don’t know why G-d put you here. Maybe you would have been killed in a car accident next week? Perhaps you needed saving from yourself?” I miss Rabbi Wax with every inch of my being. I hope to see him soon and am working towards that.
|Podvine||Radio Public.||FM Player|
It seems these days everyone wants to be a gangster until it’s time face the music and do gangster shit. in prison everyone did do gangster shit, I had to watch my back. If I approached prison the same way I entered the cave diving community (arrogance with a double side of hubris), I’d be dead now. While I deeply regret the terrible choices I made that landed me in prison, I don’t regret one minute of my time there. I needed it. Prison was a learning experience that taught me genuine empathy. It was truly a gift. There were two ugly situations I was forced to deal with, but the curious thing is that the way they were handled showed me just how good some of my fellow prisoners could be. Potential exists behind bars. In fact, it’s in no short supply. The gut wrenching sadness of prison is the wasted talent. There are so many intelligent people being warehoused that could, in the right circumstances, greatly benefit society. Unfortunately there are also some people there who need to be locked away forever. I think as a society we need to decide if prison is about revenge or rehabilitation. The Versailles treaty post WW1 was about revenge and that didn’t end well. It guaranteed the inevitability of WW2 at a cost of about 50,000,000 lives. I think there’s a better way and I think the answer is education.
I was released to the Northern District of Florida and ended up living in what my friends affectionally called “The Crack Hotel” for 14 months. I was $185,000 in debt without a car. I walked everywhere, averaging about 19 miles per day six days a week. I met three people that sadly due to their lifestyles and addictions are now deceased. I was amazed by their potential and wanted to do anything I could to help. For the most part, though, I failed. One particular person was a heroin addict named Samantha. In an instant I knew that at one point in her life she was captivatingly beautiful and as smart as they come. She needed surgery and had an infection that was being managed with IV antibiotics. Her heroin dealer kept coming to the hospital, teasing her with heroin if she agreed to leave and “trick” in return for more drugs. I found her three times when I couldn’t afford the cab rides but spent the money anyway. Little Caesars pizza came in handy. However I won’t eat it to this day as the flavor is a memory engulfed in sadness from the situation. The last time she went back to the hospital, her body resisted the IV drugs and she passed away. That was heartbreaking, I didn’t like her in a romantic kind of way but she was from NY so we had plenty of things to talk about. From time to time I would let her crash in my second bed at the hotel, I hated seeing such a waste of talent, beauty and brains. Law enforcement in the area is on point. They are very well trained, reasonable, and qualified. I used to shoot and train for gun fights with several of them. When LE found that scumbag, they were much more focused on his warrants and drugs than how he ended up in a dumpster supposedly beaten with a bat. What comes around goes around for people that prey on the innocent. Good for law enforcement. It;s no surprise that months later when I saw another scumbag hit an 18 YO prostitute high on drugs, there was little concern about the condition he was found in. Again, bravo to the police. The first words that comes to mind is “Batter up”. In all fairness, the dumpster was located in a very convenient location.
The Prosecution & Law Enforcement:
I’ve been asked “Do you think what happened was fair?” My answer is as follows: My personal feelings don’t matter, The prosecutor has an obligation to protect the people from threats of all kinds. This particular prosecutor has a deep sense of community and stops at nothing to honor the commitment he has made. With his background, education and accomplishments, he could go to any high powered law firm in America and make 10+ times what he makes now. He choose a better path and at great personal cost. There is no way I could ever in good conscience criticize a man that has sacrificed so much. There’s no way I will belittle such a selfless human being. I’ve gathered all of the information I could about the law enforcement officials that investigated me and the same holds true for them. These are good people that protect even scumbags like me at great personal cost. We see so much in the press about corruption, police overreach, racism, etc. I can tell you with 100% certainty that the supermajority of what we’re told is complete bullshit designed to manipulate a population that doesn’t have the time to perform due diligence. No one picked my name out of a hat. My out of control actions put me on the radar, nothing else. My choices sent me to prison. End of story. This war we have against the police and law enforcement in general is not insane, it’s morally corrupt and spiritually bankrupt – designed to promote a false narrative. Great care has gone into it’s delivery. It makes as much sense as legalizing drugs. It’s corrupt at it’s very core. I believe the prosecutor, LE and probation SAVED MY LIFE.
I can’t possibly express the deep feelings of shame, regret and sorrow I have towards the individuals that were treated so badly by people I enabled. It’s not easy to live with, and if I’m being honest, it shouldn’t be, The suffering it has caused my family, friends and my community as well as myself will forever be something I am repaying. This is the truth that everyone deserves. Others can groan over the choices they’ve made. I am certainty done hiding from mine.
So how did I end up in this position? I don’t have the education or experience to answer that question in it’s entirety, but there’s one prevalent underlying theme. I’ve let anger, resentment and hate govern the supermajority of my life. I look back and know those seeds took root when I was a small child and as I look back, I see just how foolish I’ve been. I can tell you all about me being the pudgy kid people made fun of. I can tell you that I resented my father because he was so kind and charitable to complete strangers yet was too hard if not cruel to his immediate family. All of these things may be true and all are part of a mosaic of fact, but it’s all water under the bridge.
I beg every single person reading this to figure out how to LET GO of the garbage that exists in their lives. I know this will come at an immediate cost, but the long term dividends that choice will deliver can’t be overstated. Anger, hate and resentment are cancers that will surreptitiously destroy every part of your life without remorse. I had to go through hell to figure this out, I hope you choose a better path. These feelings extend even to my haters.
Haters are going to hate. We don’t blame the sky for being blue or water for being wet. We can’t control the actions of others. A piece of advice: Don’t let people rent space in your head unless they are willing to pay for the privilege. Simply put learn to let go, wish well and move on.
I was recently dating someone I REALLY cared for, but realized I’d never make her happy so things ended. The strange thing was that I just wanted her to be happy even without me. There was no jealousy, no anger, no frustration. There was a warm feeling, a smile and a desire for her to be happy with someone else. These are strange times and I’m a fish out of water.
Again, I am truly sorry for the shame, embarrassment and disappointment my choices have brought to my family, friends and technical diving community. I truly hope that forgiveness and allowing me to pursue my life in a brighter light, is given.
All of our shows/interviews are done by donation, if you enjoyed this show please support us here with either a one-time donation or subscribe and support on Patreon.