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This article vividly illustrates what can happen to an
average man and his family from inheriting the toxic [wounds + unawareness]
He, his family, the legal professionals involved, the newspaper
author, and the TV station staff were completely unaware of the cycle and
See my comments after the art5icle. The hilights below are mine. -
Peter Gerlach, MSW
+ + +
Former KOIN news director
Jeff Alan Brent gets
18-month sentence for using fraudulent identity
by Peter Ames Carlin
The Oregonian 9/20/2010, via OregonLive.com
The case of former TV news director Jeff Alan Brent took another twist at
his Monday morning sentencing when U.S. District Judge Garr King rejected
the terms of the plea deal his lawyer reached with federal
prosecutors. "I'm very bothered by this case," King said after the specifics
were disclosed. The deal would have required Brent to serve a 15-month
prison term, pay $35,212 in restitution and $10,000 in fines.
Declaring the sentence too lenient, while also acknowledging the limitations
imposed by federal sentencing guidelines, King committed Brent to the
longest possible jail term: 18 months. The judge let the restitution and
fine agreements stand, though he added a stipulation that Brent must
surrender all money he might earn from any writings or publications he based
on his decades of criminal activity.
Brent's crimes, first detailed in The Oregonian in April 2009, began in 1986
when he abandoned his family to start a new life under the name of Jeff Alan
in Arizona. He kept his whereabouts, along with court-required child
support payments, away from his young children, and in 1993 his ex-wife
petitioned success-fully to have Brent declared dead.
Working with a false Social Security number, Brent spent 23 years building a
career in TV news, including a two-year stint at Portland's KOIN (Channel
6). Along the way, Brent also collected cars, homes, credit cards, loans and
at least one bankruptcy, all of it founded on his false identity.
The Oregonian series touched off a federal investigation that climaxed in
April of this year with Brent's arrest on a nine-count indictment. The
government was preparing to reveal more indictments in mid-June when Brent's
attorney, Patrick Ehlers, reached a deal with U.S. attorney Helen Cooper,
exchanging a guilty plea for the 15-month sentence.
But as the hearing began Monday morning, King made it apparent he had no
intention of accepting the lawyers' deal. "I believe (Brent's) criminal
history is grossly underrepresented," he said, going on to recount the
number of years Brent committed his frauds. The judge said he was
particularly incensed by the nearly 80 weeks Brent collected unemployment
insurance even as he earned $5,000 a month as a consultant. "You were
stealing every week," he said. "There's no easy way to explain that, is
Ehlers acknowledged his client's wrongdoing but argued that
already paid a steep price in the form of a destroyed reputation and career
prospects. "He won't be able to get a job pushing carts at Safeway," Ehlers
Cooper, on the other hand, cited Brent's years of success, including the
books he wrote (one of which was a tutorial on media ethics) and his work as
a commentator on national news shows. Brent's ambition seemed particularly
clear when he implored his arresting officers to let him comb his hair
before taking his booking mug shot, she said.
Later that morning Brent told his girlfriend, Patrice Bailey, to make sure
prospective attorneys knew his case would attract national attention. "He's
proud of the media attention," Cooper said.
Brent declared himself "very remorseful" for his actions. "I'm truly sorry
how all this played out," he said.
Still, King opted to impose the maximum sentence allowed by federal
guidelines. And though he allowed Brent to delay starting his sentence, and
also agreed to let him serve his time in the minimum-security facility in
Sheridan, the judge noted the "tremendous disparity" between Brent's
sentence and the five-year term he had to give a young, non-English-speaking
first offender that morning in a drug-related case.
"I guess it makes a difference if you wear a suit and tie when you commit
your crimes," he said.
The hearing recessed as Brent and his lawyer, Ehlers, decided whether to
accept the new sentence or withdraw his guilty plea. Ultimately they chose
to accept the additional three months behind bars. Brent is to surrender to
authorities Jan. 3, 2011.
This Web and print news
article sketches part of the impact of the inherited [wounds +
on an average man, his family, and our society. It raises the question why
did Jeff Brent desert his wife and kids and choose a life of public
deception and fraud? The article doesn't describe the traumatic impact of
his abandoning his wife and children or anything about his early childhood.
In my clinical experience,
this kind of behavior is a sure sign of childhood abandonment, neglect, and abuse
(trauma), and resulting psychological
National media headlines provide hundreds of daily examples of similar tragic cases
in all venues and walks of life. Millions of examples never merit
For poignant Web questions
from typical young people who are inheriting the
cycle from their unaware parents, see this.
These examples document the urgent need for public education
on the cycle that is inexorably
crippling many (most?) societies. That's why this nonprofit Web site exists.
Pause, breathe, and reflect - why did you read this article? Did you get
what you needed? If not, what
you need? Who's
these questions - your
Lesson-1 study guide