This is a mirror of Stephen Goldin’s pages from SFF.net about Marion Zimmer Bradley. More notes here.
Some people will question the timing of this publication, coming as it does right on the heels of MZB’s death. Let me give you the story.
Ken Smith, who was molested by MZB’s husband Walter Breen over a period of years, is my stepson. When we learned of the abuse, in July 1989, Ken’s mother Mary Mason filed against Walter Breen (and eventually, his estate) on her son’s behalf. We kept it quiet because Ken asked us to, and because we believed MZB’s lie that she, too, was a surprised victim of her husband. Because of an incompetent attorney, Mary had to end up taking control of the case herself. She reached an agreement in principle with the estate, but they nonetheless managed to stall any implementation for years.
Once we hired a good attorney, we learned of MZB’s complicity in the matter. The fact that she owned the house where Breen lived, knew of Breen’s proclivities, knew that Ken was staying there and lied flat out to protect him when asked if he might molest Ken made her guilty of, at the very least, negligence. She was added as a defendant in the case around 1997.
As more and more facts came to light, Mary and I wanted to publish them immediately. Ken was now ready to let the story be told, but our attorney asked us to hold off because he was hoping for a quick settlement from MZB’s homeowner’s insurance company and didn’t want to make anyone mad. Since our main goal was to get Ken some money for treatment of the severe emotional and psychological trauma he’d been put through, we went along with these requests.
Final court settlement of the matter occurred in mid-August, 1999 — after the case had been dragging on for about 10 years. At that time, a month before MZB was stricken, I made arrangements to reserve this Web site so I could finally publish the truth about MZB. Because I had other things going on in my life, I didn’t get the material published until I learned of the heart attack (but before her death). Knowing that a celebrity’s death always brings out glowing tributes, I was finally impelled to get this out so people could see exactly how shallow MZB’s morality really was.
I am not saying anything after her death that I was not prepared to say to her face while she was still alive. I would have preferred better timing but, as Spider Robinson has said, if a person who commits gluttony is a glutton and a person who commits a felony is a felon, then God is an iron.
Note: This page originally appeared at http://sff.net/people/stephen.goldin/mzb/timing.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.