Friday, March 18, 1965
It took better than two weeks for the wheels of justice to grind into a conclusion of sorts. After Gina Scarpelli thanked my wife for pushing her to do the right thing, I took her over to see Chief Ziolkowski, who I thought deserved the honors rather than the sheriff's department.
Eli then went to work, negotiating Dave Johnson's release with the district attorney and juvenile court. Eli, in consultation with me, arranged for Butch to give him the news. Butch wouldn't tell me what went on in the room, but he must have used some magic. Dingo Dave came into the waiting room, extended his hand, and thanked me for my efforts. He didn't say more than that—he seemed a bit choked up—but it was heartfelt.
Eli found Gina Scarpelli a lawyer who had her work cut out for her—or maybe not. Chances were better than even, Eli thought, that Gina would work out a plea deal that would involve pleading guilty to something in return for the lightest sentence. On the other hand, there was a chance she would want a trial—just to rub the reputation of Father Fox, aka Bernhard Fuchs, in the mud. The congregation, I expected and Hank confirmed, would much prefer the former. We'd all have to wait.
At least Dingo Dave was exonerated, quickly becoming the hero of the story. That one of the sisters was the culprit was particularly satisfying to the seminarians, who to a man swore they knew all along that "the nuns did it," and this became the partly true legend.
Dingo Dave and his brother knew better and remained a little bitter, knowing that their lives were affected by rumors. Dave harbored only good will for Butch, and a package arrived for him the previous week. It was an Australian outback hat, which Butch came to treasure.
Neither Dave nor Dan wanted to return to the seminary, not surprising under the circumstances. CSC officials were mortified at the injustice done to Dave and, to a lesser extent, to Dan. Hank told me on the QT that the order would probably offer Diane Johnson free tuition at Notre Dame for a year or two for both of her boys. Details to be worked out.
Butch was a little smug, but I decided to view it as an air of confidence. Sissy was glad to be able to attend more soirees at the seminary, having honed her skills at working the room.
Sarah and I were getting comfortable with living apart together—or something. As I was thinking about such things, Sarah invited me upstairs for a tete-a-tete. "The time is right," she said taking me by the hand.
We chatted a bit about how we seemed to have worked out something, living together apart. That night we took another step farther.
And Sarah laughed.