This is a mirror of Stephen Goldin’s pages from SFF.net about Marion Zimmer Bradley. More notes here.
Elisabeth Waters Tries to Defend Marion Zimmer Bradley
We have better things to do with out time then worry about Goldin’s lies, but periodically one of Mrs. Bradley’s fans stumbles on his site and gets upset. (We suspect that by putting her name on a site and filling it with the most disgusting contents he can come up with, he’s hoping that we’ll offer him a lot of money for the rights to the domain name, so we feel out best course is to ignore him.)
To the best of my knowledge and belief, these are the facts:
Marion Zimmer Bradley married Walter Breen on 6/3/1964. They had two children, but sometime in the late 60s Walter was ill and became impotent (at least as far as Marion knew). They separated in 1979.
In or about March of 1989, Walter allegedly molested a 12-year-old boy who had the misfortune to be the son of Mary Mason, who was married to Stephen Goldin — and, for all I know, still is, although neither of them seems to regard fidelity as part of marriage. God only knows what the poor kid learned about sex from them. The molestation apparently took place at their house, with Mary in the next room, which strongly implies that the child thought his mother either would approve or wouldn’t care. (Obviously, even a raised voice would have been audible to her.)
Marion found out about this in October 1989 (I was the one who told her, and I have no reason whatsoever to believe she knew anything about it before then; she was extremely upset) She immediately divorced him, and she cooperated with the police investigation. She also had a stroke on October 30th and a major heart attack six months later.
In 1990, Mary, acting as her son’s guardian ad litem, filed suit against Walter, but then let the suit drag out (she didn’t show up for court hearings, moved without telling her lawyer, and so forth). In 1993 Walter died in jail, with the suit still pending. Nobody sued Marion then, or made any suggestion that this was in any way her fault.
In 1996, after Marion had suffered several more strokes and was dying of congestive heart failure (i.e. when she was too sick to defend herself), they got a new lawyer and sued both Marion and me, claiming that we had known about Walter’s crimes (citing an arrest — not a conviction — in New Jersey when I was in elementary school in Connecticut and Marion was a housewife in a very small town in Texas and neither of us had ever heard of Walter), and that we had told Mary Mason that it was safe to leave her child with Walter. (I did not meet Mary Mason until September 1989 and, as far as I know, Marion never met her. Neither of us ever met the child.) By this time, he was over 18, which meant that any settlement would not automatically be tied up by the court and used only for his benefit.
After three years of discovery (which put Marion in the hospital twice), the lawyer finally figured out that I was innocent of their claims, and that he was in trouble if I followed through on my threat to sue him for malicious prosecution. (I was tempted, but I’m a Christian and we’re supposed to forgive our enemies.) I was dropped from the case in exchange for a written promise not to sue him or his firm for malicious prosecution or abuse of process. Marion died in September 1999, and her insurance company, unable to defend the suit without her, settled out of court. In the course of these settlements the cross-complaints against Mary for her atrocious neglect of her child were also dropped. (I can only trust that God will deal with her.)
We will probably never know the whole truth. After some of the things that came out during the discovery process, I’m not even certain that Walter did molest the child, even though he pled guilty in 1990 so that the child would not have to testify. But whatever Walter may or may not have done, I’m certain that Marion did not know. As far as I can tell, Smith v. Breen and Smith v. Bradley were attempts to make money from a situation which presumably traumatized a child, and I think that people who use a child that way are despicable.
If you want Mrs. Bradley’s views on child molesting, read HERITAGE OF HASTUR, STORMQUEEN, or her short story “Knives” in one of the Darkover anthologies.
Secretary to Mrs. Bradley
Note: This page originally appeared at http://sff.net/people/stephen.goldin/mzb/lisalies.html, but that subsite is permanently offline. Stephen Goldin’s new site is here, but it does not contain the MZB tree (that I found). Apart from bringing the code up to HTML5, adjusting URLs to my own naming system, and fixing a couple of typos, what precedes the rule above this paragraph is entirely Stephen Goldin’s work.