Wednesday, September 26, 2018

College classmate says Bill Pryor, of Alabama, sexually harassed him, so Brett Kavanaugh is not the only accused sexual predator on the federal bench

Bill Pryor, as a percussionist at
 Northeast Louisiana University (NLU)

A college classmate of Alabama federal judge Bill Pryor says Pryor sexually harassed him while they were at Northeast Louisiana University (NLU) in the early 1980s. Pryor joins Brett Kavanaugh, Donald Trump's nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court, as sitting federal judges who face allegations of sexual misconduct dating back at least to college. The major difference: Kavanaugh's accusers are women, and Pryor's are men.

That is in keeping with our reports about Pryor posing nude for photos that wound up at in 1997. Pryor grew up in Mobile, Alabama, and the nude photos were taken while he was a student at NLU, which now is called the University of Louisiana Monroe (ULM). Pryor serves on the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta, but his duty station is the Hugo Black Courthouse in downtown Birmingham and he lives in suburban Vestavia Hills.

The accusations against Pryor, in the wake of the Kavanaugh inferno, means two judges from Trump's list of possible SCOTUS picks stand accused of being sexual predators.

Shane Rogers-Mauro, a flight attendant who now lives in the Fort Lauderdale, Florida, area, says Pryor was well known as gay among NLU students, especially those in band and a group that worked in the same office on work-study assignments. Rogers-Mauro says the "Bill Pryor" in the Bad Puppy photos definitely is the individual with whom he attended college -- and now serves on the federal bench. As a right-wing appointee, Pryor has gone on to make a number of virulently anti-LGBT public statements. Says Rogers-Mauro:

I was in college with Bill and knew him very well. We were in band together at Northeast Louisiana University. I also had “work study” for about three semesters with him, so we worked in the same small office for many, many weeks as part of our band scholarship.

The stories are all true. The Bad Puppy pictures are him. He was pretty flamboyant, and actually hit on me quite a bit, but I brushed him off as irritating. He was College Republicans president, and I was president of the Young Democrats of NLU. 
In today’s world, [Pryor's actions] would certainly qualify as sexual harassment. In the early and mid 1980’s, we were all pretty closeted, and he was known to be gay. We used to argue for hours about Ronald Reagan’s 1984 win and other things, and I’m sure we are polar opposites today. He’s never tried to contact me nor have I spoken to him since college days.

What form did Pryor's harassment take? Rogers-Mauro provides details:

There was a lot of touching, in a way that absolutely would be considered inappropriate today. Back then, nothing was inappropriate; you just sucked it up and moved on. Bill was very manipulative. He always wanted to go have dinner and discuss certain types of politics, like he was going to change your way of thinking.

He toyed with closeted gay folks. Back then, it was a demon, and he was into outing certain people. That's a nasty thing, and it would mess with people's lives. But Bill didn't give it a second thought. I think it was part of his illness.

Pryor tended to incessantly ask for dates and not take no for an answer. Says Rogers-Mauro:

Bill was jealous of a relationship I was having. It was my first real romance, actually. Bill thought he had a chance with me. He was always wanting to go out and do things, and I wasn't interested. Harry Connick Jr. was another who was very aggressive. we were in all-state band together. I've had the experience with guys who turned out to be celebrities chasing me.

Bill hung around with a known small group of gay guys from band. Everybody tended to be friendly in band. I was going off in a different direction, with a new relationship. Bill  was antagonistic, and his group was real gossipy -- like little chickens, hens.

Rogers-Mauro has been active for years in Democratic Party politics.  He has served on the Broward County Democratic Party executive committee and is co-chair of Indivisible South Florida.

Shane Rogers-Mauro, as a trumpeter in the NLU band
Pryor and Rogers-Mauro became acquaintances mostly in the last two or three semesters of college. Rogers-Mauro says the Bad Puppy photos probably were taken a year or two before he knew Pryor -- but he definitely recognizes the guy in the photos:

The Bad Puppy pictures of him are a younger version of Bill than I knew -- by a few years. When you know someone from that period, you know for SURE when you see a picture of him. One thing that stands out: He has a somewhat caved-in right cheek. He had bad acne in his early years, and there are numerous acne scars that you can see in all the pictures. He had those creepy crossed eyes that kept many of us on edge when we were around him.

In recent years, Rogers-Mauro has heard from other NLU grads who say Pryor also harassed them in college:

By today's standards, what Bill did was sexual harassment, absolutely. And I'm not the only one. I talked to several people after the Trump Supreme Court list came out -- and Bill was on it -- and they were like, "Oh, my gosh, what's going on? I'm shocked he even has a family. It must be all for show."

We sought comment from Pryor for this post, but he has not responded to inquiries.

(To be continued)

No comments: