Madeira Beach, Fl., 1/24/05 Well, a public hearing did indeed take
place Monday night in the city hall. About 50 people showed. At issue, would
Father Doctor2 Cassian Newton (formerly
known as Reverend Doctor2 Virgil Miller
Newton) be granted permission to operate private chapels in two homes in
the quiet beach community. Apparently a private chapel is not open to the
public like a church would be. Father Cassian and his entourage of young
followers showed up in a caravan of SUVs. Father Cassian emerged from one
wearing priestly garbs, black trousers and shirt with a white priest's collar.
As Father Cassian walked in the door a woman started asking him questions
about his academic qualifications. And that spells bad news for Melvin Sembler
because the woman asking the questions was none other than Lee
Drury De Cesare, the gutsy reporter for the nation's only trilingual
newspaper La Gaceta. It
was Ms. De Cesare who publicly asked Brent Sembler's life-long friend Attorney
General Charlie Crist whether he (Crist) is gay. (Charlie Crist is being
groomed to be the next governor of Florida.)
Doctor2Cassian enters the hearing with an unidentified
cat's out of the bag; La Gaceta end-runs the Times
for first time PumpGate mentioned in print
all the attempts of Paul Tash and Andy Barnes to squelch the
real story on Melville's favorite son, it just made a
major leap into local journalism anyway. We tried to warn Ambassador
Sembler and his accomplices that it was bad news the day Lee
Drury De Cesare showed up at Father Cassian's zoning hearing
(her husband used to be the mayor of Madeira Beach for Pete's
sake). If they didn't want to hear it, then why didn't they
just leave well enough alone and keep themselves out of the
limelight. In the Jan. 28 issue of La Gaceta, Ms. De
Cesare wrote, "Web pages reveal that he [Father Cassian]
worked with Mel Sembler in so-called drug-treatment enterprises
that got shut down for client abuse but popped up under other
names. [La Gaceta is a newspaper in print-only, but you can
read Ms. De Cesare's blog Madeira
Beach Mayberry Machiavellis which also covers the story.
Also read her related blog on "would-be governor"
Charlie Crist in The
Sphinx Crist. Here's our own updated Crist report.]
Lee Drury De Cesare had been my English teacher, my newspaper
would be a Pulitzer Prize winner today."
a specialist in zoning issues who represented one of Father Cassian's
neighbors, gave a technical presentation on why Newton should not be granted
a special use permit. At the conclusion of his talk he surprised the audience
and Special Master Judge Herbert Langford Jr. who presided over the proceedings
by turning to the Special Master and disclosing that he had been a client
of Mr. Newton's in the early 80s. Other Straight Survivors sat quietly
by, showing their support by wearing green ribbons.
Pete Times Coverage by by
Sheila Mullane Estrada.]
Drury De Cesare and Marti Heath confront Father Cassian.
Straight survivor Marti Heath (standing left) and La Gaceta
reporter Lee Drury De Cesare (standing right) confront Father
Cassian, sitting, in black, beside his wife Ruth Ann. [foto
At one point La Gaceta
reporter Lee Drury De Cesare walked out of the hearing, grabbed Straight
survivor Marti Heath by the arm, escorted her inside, walked
right up to Father Cassian and asked, "Did you break her leg?"
Father Cassian replied, "no," whereupon Ms. Heath asked "so,
you don't remember coming across two rows of chairs at me?" "Did
you," implored Ms. De Cesare. At this point the priest allegedly
answered, "Not with her." "What about ordering my face
put in a drain," retorted Ms. Heath. At that the priest's wife Ruth
Ann Newton allegedly replied, "so , why don't you sue?"
Judge Langford announced he will render his decision in ten days. There's
a good chance that whatever the judge decides will be appealed to the
6th Circuit. See photos; Related story: