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The interview with Leroy

being a pen pal

1. Leroy, last fall a big crash occurred among several of your pen pals. A bunch of them realized that you had been lying to them for many years in an extreme manner. How did you realize that your cheat was discovered?

I found out that my lying and cheating was discovered when you sent me a card and told me. I didn’t know what all you had found out. So that’s why I wrote you back and told you about my real case.

2. You used to tell each of your pen pals that you had only him or her and nobody else besides them. Why did you do that?

I told all my pen pals that they was the only pen pals I had, because I thought that if they thought I had other pen pals, they would stop writing me. I know now that I was wrong.

3. Why did you give each of your pen pals a wrong account of the crime you had committed?

I told all my pen pals I did a crime that wasn’t true because I didn’t want people to know my real crime, and also with the crime I told them I did, I could get people to feel sorry for me.

4. What was the real crime that brought you to prison?

The crime that brought me to prison is I robbed and killed a lady so I could get money for drugs.

5. Look at the previous report I wrote about you. What else is not true?

First thing is my age when I came to prison. I wasn’t 17 years old, but I was 18 years old. My sister wasn’t beat by her husband that was a lie. And I didn’t kill him that’s a lie. My mother and father isn’t dead as I said they was. But I don’t hear from them at all. I have seen my mother one time in 20 years and that was when I first came to prison. I haven’t seen my father in over 20 years, and I don’ t hear from any of the friends I had when I was out.

6. When I wrote the report, I believed what you told me about your past. Didn’t you feel bad about cheating me that badly?

At first I didn’t feel bad because I didn’t tell you the truth about my past. But as time passed and I really started to get to know you, I did start to feel bad because I had lied to you. I didn’t think my lies would hurt you, because I didn’t think you would find out about them, and then I thought if I did tell you about the lies, then I wouldn’t have you in my life any more. So I had to tell more lies to cover up the old lies. And as time passed I did start to feel really bad because I was lying to you. It’s only now that I can see how wrong I was and how many people I hurt with all my lies.

7. How did you feel visiting with a person - me - who you had lied to already in your first letter and in most of the following ones?

To visit with you was really nice. But to see you face to face and still lie to you, it didn’t make me feel good. And after the visit I would think to myself how wrong I am.
In my heart I thought we had a friendship. But now I know that I was wrong. You was a friend to me. But I wasn’t one to you. Friends don’t lie to each other.

8. After more than a couple of years of penpalship you started asking for money all the time. You came up with all kinds of stories to make your pen pals send you money. Fortunately, I realized that something didn’t add up and resisted, but others didn’t. What did you need the money for?

Well, to start off, just as money to buy stuff out of the prison store. So, I didn’t need to eat the prison food. Then as time passed, I started to play cards and that’s why I started to need more and more money, because playing poker I would lose more and more money.

9. We found out that you got more than $3000 in about 10 months while still claiming that you didn’t even have money to buy stamps with. At this time some of your pen pals still believed that they were your only contact to the outside and you needed the money for a lawyer or other very important things. They wanted to help you. How do you feel about that today?

How I feel about lying to my pen pals for money. I didn’t really think about it then. But today I do feel really bad about it. I can never make up for what I did or how I hurt them. I have wrote them and told them I was sorry, and that one day I will pay them back the money I got from them. It won’t make what I did right, but it’s a start.

10. You wrote a lot about friendship and honesty. You often told me that honesty was the most important thing in every friendship. I really wonder how you could write that.

I do feel that honesty is really important in a friendship. At first I never thought about hurting people or using people. I only thought about myself, and how I could get what I wanted. But I don’t feel that way any more. Now I do care about other people.

11. After the crash you lost some of your very close pen pals. Can you blame them? I’m still here, but we aren’t close anymore either.

Yes, I lost some really good friends with all my lies. And I can understand them. I don’t blame them at all for not staying my friends. What I can’t understand is why that after I lied and hurt you as I did you would still write me?

12. You told me you wanted to change now. Do you think you’ll be successful in that? How do you want to change?

Yes, I do want to change now and yes, I feel that I can be successful at changing. My lies has cost me some really good friends, and I know that real friends are hard to find. I won’t tell a person anything if I can’t prove it is the truth.

13. You know that I won’t send you money anymore. Why are you still writing me?

You don’t owe me anything. After you found out about my lies and didn’t stop writing me. I do care a lot for you , and I want us to have a friendship.

14. Now, looking back at the previous years, what thoughts are going through your mind?

I look back over the past years and think that I wish I never would have lied. And I would have had some really good friends now if only I would have told the truth from the start.

15. Is there anything more you would like to mention here?

If someone feels that things just don’t add up, then they should look into it. Never let one thing slide by. Call the prison and find out as much info about your pen pal as you can. And I hope this helps people not to get hurt as I have hurt people.

Ines Aubert, lifespark

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