“No one is innocent and everyone is a victim when any agency is allowed to police themselves” (From a 2006 Letter Carrier Publication)
It’s been decades of maligning the U.S. Postal Service for one thing or another – poor service, indifferent employees, government mentality at its worst…and of course, notable homicides beginning in 1970 through 1997 in which more than 40 people were killed by current or former employees in at least 20 incidents of workplace violence.
Homicides at the Post Office –
I examined some the more prominent cases in this 2011 blog- Disgruntled Workers: “Going Postal” and Other Human Tragedies from Connecticut to California….
“Crazy Pat” Sherrill who killed 14 employees, and wounded six others was described in contradictory terms regarding work performance- misdirected mail, late to work, good worker who scored high on the exam, filled with anger over “something”, talked of Vietnam but had never served, was a neighborhood peeping Tom, taunted by neighborhood children. Of course, he would be on edge when he received verbal reprimands by two supervisors the day of the deadliest massacre occurring on August 20, 1986. Somehow, he exhibited a “window of compassion” the day before, telling a liked co-worker to “stay home from work the next day.”
Did this mass murder pave the way for permission for others to do the same?
As of August 2000, researchers have found that the homicide rates at postal facilities were lower than at other workplaces; 0.22 per 100,000 versus 0.77 per 100,000 workers in general.
In major industries, the highest rate of 2.1 homicides per 100,000 workers per year was in retail.
In 1993, a Congressional hearing on violence in the U.S. Postal Service found that “despite the postal service accounting for less than 1% of the full-time civilian labor force, 13% of workplace homicides were committed at postal facilities by current or former employees.”
A Female Mass Murderer –
On the evening of January 30, 2006, Jennifer San Marco killed a total of seven victims. Reportedly, the Postal Service had forced San Marco to retire in 2003 because of her worsening mental problems. This incident is believed to be the deadliest workplace shooting ever carried out in the US by a woman.
She began as a police dispatcher prior to becoming a postal employee. She received the standard background check and psychological evaluation. After several months as a dispatcher, she left the job due to the high stress conditions (which is not unusual for such positions). Jennifer eventually pursued an entry level clerk job at the mail processing plant. However, in 2003, she had to be removed by police for acting strangely and “was put on a psychological disability for her own protection.”
Her rampage began by shooting two employees in the parking lot, and forced her way into the building with someone else’s key card. She used a semi automatic pistol, shooting all victims in the head and then fatally shooting herself.
What was known about her? She formerly lived in New Mexico and appeared to have racist leanings, publishing something called “The Racist Press.” Police also discovered written material that she thought she was the target of a conspiracy centered at the Goleta postal facility. The motive remains unclear. There was no evidence she was angry at her boss and no supervisors were killed.
What is clear was that she experienced severe mental illness, characterized by paranoia depression, anger and suicidal ideation.
My question, have the Feds sufficiently changed their protocols and psychological evaluation processes in order to pick up such at risk persons prior to working at a police station or Federal job? Clearly, this should have been foreseen given her instability and behaviors!
Post Office Crime of a Different Kind –
Deceit, fraud, misuse of time, funds and playing on the emotions and compassion of your employer and the masses! This is what con artist, Caroline Boyle of Aurora, Colorado did!
Boyle, age 60 when she was convicted, began constructing her scheme to defraud her employer in 2015. Several news sources report that she forged notes from two different doctors about treatment for non-Hodgkins lymphoma.
In total she was granted 112 days of sick leave, was allowed to work part-time or from home and received paid administrative leave.
Formal Charge – Boyle was indicted by a federal grand jury on March 16, 2017 on felony counts of forged writings, wire fraud and possession of false papers to defraud. In April, she pleaded guilty without a plea agreement.
The Denver Post reported, “Although she did not have cancer or any other serious illness, she took 112 days of sick leave from the USPS Customer Products and Fulfillment Category Management Center in Aurora over the next 20 months and was allowed to work part-time or from home. She also was granted paid administrative leave that did not count against her sick-leave balance.”
The Jig is Up and… Why She Did It-
The sick time was nearly exhausted and others “put two and two together.” Caroline Boyle carelessly misspelled the name of one of the two physicians names whom she emailed to supervisors in order to carryout her ruse. In addition, it was learned that in the past, as a postal supervisor, she denied a subordinate accommodation when requesting leave time for that person’s cancer and accused this employee of faking it. This employee truly did have cancer and ultimately testified against her! (Yay!) Was Boyle “just tired of working” and this former incident “planted the seed?”
No… a retirement plan was hatched in which she planned to continue to defraud the government until her upcoming retirement in April, 2017. She planned to “celebrate” with a Hawaiian cruise…. Why? Supposedly because she was “passed over for a promotion” in the summer of 2015.
(Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned!)
Boyle did not know who she was up against when it came to punishment with U.S. District Judge Raymond P. Moore. Moore ruled that Caroline Boyle be sentenced to five years of probation and ordered to pay a $10,000 fine. She also must pay $20,798.38 in restitution to the U.S. Postal Service AND must spend 652 hours doing community service at a cancer treatment center, cancer research center or hospice! This may be poetic justice!
Women Embezzlers- According to a 2011 narrative written by Dr. Linda Grounds, Clinical & Forensic Psychologist,(Portland Oregon) “there is very little research regarding the psychological characteristics of women who embezzle. What little psychological data that we do have about women who embezzle suggest that the motivations of women who embezzle and the rationalizations that women use to justify their embezzlement may differ notably from those of men who embezzle.”
Dr. Grounds and her residents did an initial study in which 28 women charged with embezzlement, ten facing federal charges and eight in state court. The amounts of money stolen by these women from their employers ranged from a low of about $3,000 to a high of $750,000.
Often, women had no prior criminal history or convictions, nor did they implicate co-defendants and they appeared to accumulate small to very large sums of money over a period of several years. “I was only borrowing the money.”
Researchers have postulated that women embezzlers are motivated by “higher loyalties” desire to meet a variety of needs of their families (e.g., shelter, medical care) or their response to a direct request or indirect, but clear pressure from a male partner, spouse or boyfriend in order to preserve that relationship. Among this latter group, there was a good deal of psychological control or abuse by the male partner, though this was frequently denied by the accused woman.
In some cases, women studied had significant gambling problems and the rest were primarily motivated by their need to “buy stuff,” often a lot of it, to distract themselves from emotional or relationship problems or to please a partner or child.
However, in the case of postal supervisor, Caroline Boyle, the motivation appears to be pure revenge and greed!
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