by Virginia McCullough

Late last week Valerie Harris, previously an assistant to pro per murder defendant Susan Polk and currently her legal runner, told this reporter that "Satanic Cult" movement believer Ted Gunderson is the current private investigator for Susan Polk.  This is the second major court case I have personally covered in depth in the past two years where Ted Gunderson has been the designated private investigator for the defendant. The first case involved former prosecutor and defense attorney Richard Hamlin in El Dorado County. (Click. The Richard W. Hamlin trial series.)  That case, just like the Susan Polk case, involved allegations of satanic ritual abuse of children and the mind control of the adults involved.

Former FBI special agent Gunderson is infamous for involving himself in these issues. (Click. Who is Ted L. Gunderson? Is he an informant or a U.S. intelligence operative? )  On the internet there are over 290,000 entries dealing with this man.  For those who desire a more complete picture of Gunderson it is available on the "Ted Gunderson Data Dump" (Click.)

As a private investigator Gunderson is known to be armed at all times.  Some sources allege he carries a "throw away" .38 caliber revolver. Those who know him best identify his weapon of choice as a .357 magnum loaded with hollow point bullets that he carries in the small of his back.  Some consider him armed and dangerous.  Many say the nickname he is most proud of is "the gun".

Valerie Harris disclosed that following the departure of the Horowitz/Golde legal firm from the Susan Polk defense team, she had hired Ted Gunderson as the new investigator responsible for interviewing and subpoenaing witnesses and arranging for their defense appearance in court.  I expressed shock and disbelief and informed Valerie Harris of Gunderson's background and reputation for spoiling every case he touches.  She said that she had no idea about any of that and she had only learned of the Las Vegas based private investigator through a friend.  Her choice of Gunderson had simply been serendipity, she said.

It is well documented that Ted Gunderson has extensive ties to assets of various intelligence agencies including but not limited to the following:

1)  Michael James Riconosciuto:  Imprisoned whistle blower, disinformation expert and self described high tech genius historically well protected by the various three initial agencies (i.e. NSA, CIA, FBI, DEA, ATF, etc.)

2)  Schlomi Michaels:  Former Mossad agent, turned private investigator and partners with Gunderson in a company called Michaels Int'l.

3)  Justin Tanner Peterson aka Eric Heinz, aka Agent Steal:  Michaels Int'l. employed Peterson to wiretap the former director of their own client, The Church of Scientology in Texas.  Peterson once used illegal wiretaps with the FBI's blessing to gather evidence on computer hacking guru Kevin Mitnik, aka Condor.

4)  Sherman Skolnik:  Featured researcher and writer for the Spotlight, a nationally distributed weekly considered to be the extreme right's version of the National Enquirer.

5)  Tom Valentine:  The host of nationally syndicated radio program, Tom Valentine's Radio Free America; this radio program and the Spotlight uses racial supremacy and bizarre conspiracy theories to promote a far right political agenda.

6)  Robert Booth Nichols: International arms dealer with no reportable source of income but with alleged mafia ties similar to those of Michael J. Riconosciuto.  Gunderson has repeatedly said that he owes his life to Nichols. 

Because of Gunderson's propensity for involving himself in every high profile case that surfaces, the list of intelligence assets could go on indefinitely, but this gives a general picture of the type of people he surrounds himself with on a daily basis.

Why would those who want to convict Susan Polk of murder seek to involve trial spoiler Ted Gunderson in a crucial element of her case? 
It is obvious that pro per Susan Polk, conducting her case in chief from a jail cell, is unable to conduct interviews with her potential witnesses, unable to have witnesses timely subpoenaed, and unable to assure delivery of their travel funds and witness fees to assure their appearances in her case without reliable help.  Enter unreliable Ted Gunderson who has a well deserved reputation as the spoiler of virtually case he touches.  Court observers have heard Susan Polk explain to Judge Laurel Brady over and over again that the county will not advance travel money to her out of state witnesses and time and time again her personal checks are not available in the courtroom or the bank will not facilitate the money transfers necessary.  Even Contra Costa County employees are unavailable for to be served with subpoenas and the defense witness list is growing smaller and smaller severely limiting her defense and drawing into question her conspiracy theories.  Judge Laurel Brady's elimination of key defense witnesses and the apparent failure of sleuth Ted Gunderson to do his job is severely handicapping Susan Polk's defense.

It is easy to assume that the former FBI Special Agent is simply a bumbler, as many have speculated.  But is that all there is to his involvement in this high profile case where allegations of spy rings and Mossad agents are introduced daily?  Susan Polk has said that her husband Dr. Felix Polk, Dr. Martin Kirschenbaum, and defense attorney Barry Morris were part of a spy ring and that her husband had repeatedly told her that he or these other two men would destroy her or kill her if she tried to leave him.

Susan Polk and many others have said that Dr. Felix Polk was a physically and psychologically abusive man who spouted hateful racist remarks and held deep seated anger against the United States.  Testimony addressed similar racist remarks allegedly made by Dr. Martin Kirschenbaum at a birthday party held at a Japanese restaurant for one of the Polk sons.  The printed press has quoted attorney Barry Morris, who was a patient of Dr. Felix Polk, as saying that if Susan Polk was released from jail he was going to arm himself with a gun.  During a telephone interview on April 26, 2006, Morris has confirmed for this reporter that the quote was accurate at the time and remains so today.

Dr. Polk's own words recorded in 1988 speak of the Satanic Ritual Abuse revealed to him by his then 18 month old son Adam and the child's resulting multiple personality disorder. (Click.)  That 1988 East Bay conference, recorded by Conference Recordings of Berkeley, was not the only such event Dr. Polk spoke at promoting his belief in the ritualistic satanic abuse of children.  Although Dr. Polk would often say that his wife Susan would eventually appear at the various conferences, she seldom, if ever, was seen, and when she was spotted all that could be said about her was that she was obviously much younger then the doctor, quiet and shy, withdrawn in public to the point of disappearing.

The McMartin Preschool case conducted in Los Angeles was the classic case that gave birth to the 1980's fascination with the Satanic Ritualistic Abuse of children.  The mother of one of the children abused at the school was Jackie McGauley who became the primary researcher and documentarian of the complaining McMartin parents.  Because of her ability to support what she said and because she spoke well before public officials, she quickly became a leader often interviewed by the media.  She was in demand both for her ability to speak well and because she could back up her statements with the documents.  It was at a meeting addressing child abuse held before the California State Department of Social Services that she met an interesting man named Ted Gunderson who introduced her to many powerful people in law enforcement and in politics.

The relationship between the single mother of two children and the retired FBI agent quickly evolved into a personal one even though Jackie McGauley was warned by her friends to steer clear of Ted Gunderson.  He was initially charming and later scary and abusive, but they maintained a personal and business relationship for four years from 1990 to 1994.

Gunderson was intensely interested in the boxes of paperwork that had been assembled by Jackie McGauley that supported the McMartin case.  While Ted Gunderson shared the home with Jackie McGauley her research papers were constantly disappearing.  At one point Gunderson flew to North Carolina and met Jackie because they were going to give a joint address to a local police department.  At the baggage pick up Gunderson picked up two boxes of what turned out to be Jackie's documentation.  Jackie retrieved it and returned it to her home.

On April 30, 1987 jury selection for the Los Angeles Superior Court trial in the McMartin began.  Defendants Ray Buckey and his mother Peggy faced ninety-nine counts of child molestation and one count of conspiracy.  To say that this trial was huge would be an understatement.

During the spring of 1987 Jackie organized a conference at the Manhattan Beach Country Club.  The topic addressed by the speakers was "Affirming Children's Truth".  The stories of ten families who had experienced the trauma of child abuse from across the United States from the east coast to the west coast were covered.  Testimony was provided by surgeon Dr. Walter Groat regarding the problems at the West Point day care center.  San Francisco's Presidio parents Joyce and Michael Tobin addressed the devastation inflicted on the children and parents by the perpetrators at the Presidio day-care center.

Shortly thereafter, mother Joyce Tobin began asking Jackie McGauley to talk to Tobin's psychologist Dr. Felix Polk.  After repeated requests by Joyce Tobin to her friend Jackie McGauley, McGauley finally agreed to a meeting with Dr. Felix Polk.  Dr. Polk drove down to McGauley's home in Manhattan Beach accompanied by his reclusive wife, Susan, and their children.  According to McGauley, Dr. Polk was intent on securing her cooperation.  He wanted McGauley to participate in conferences with him.  She was reluctant to do so because he came across as controlling and demanding and very persistent on getting his way when they differed on certain issues.

By this time Jackie McGauley was very well known among the parents who had experienced abuse of their children by perpetrators who are strangers.

The first parent testified in the McMartin trial on July 29, 1987 and in August 1987 the first victim, a girl now age 12, took the stand as a witness for the prosecution.  On October 12, 1987 Judge Pounders dismissed 27 of 100 counts against the defendants.  Now parents were refusing to allow their children to testify under adverse conditions.  Court observers could smell the fear in those who had made the accusations.  The winds of justice were blowing cold and the children had to be protected from the very accusations they had made.

On December 10, 1987 retired former police investigator Paul Bynum was called to testify at the trial by prosecutor Lael Rubin. The morning he was to appear, a juror's home was burglarized and Bynum's testimony was rescheduled for the next morning.  Bynum was found dead by his wife at 5:45 this morning, shot in the head by a .38 caliber pistol.  Bynum had conduced the first search for evidence at the preschool site in 1984 at the request of defendant Ray Buckey.

"None of the half dozen people questioned who were close to Bynum could think of any reason why his involvement in the case might have driven him to suicide," reported Kevin Cody of the Easy Reader in Manhattan Beach.  "Paul was kind of a worrier," said Stephen Kay, a deputy district attorney and friend of the Bynum family, "but there was no hint of suicide. He was very upbeat about his wife and new daughter, both of whom he adored."

In 1988 Jackie McGauley agreed to share the podium with Dr. Felix Polk at a conference conducted at the Mark Hopkins Hotel in San Francisco.  McGauley said the conference was organized by Dr. Martin Kirschenbaum who sat on the stage in back of the roster for their presentations.  McGauley said she spoke in the afternoon to an audience consisting mostly of young people who she thought might have been students.  The subject matter was Satanic Ritual Abuse.  Neither Susan Polk nor Dr. Inga Kirschenbaum were present to the best of McGauley's recollection.

It was the last time that McGauley shared the stage with Dr. Felix Polk although he continued to contact her by phone and insist that she once again speak at conferences with him.  His manner and controlling behavior alienated her.

In 1994 she ended her relationship with Ted Gunderson. Gunderson left her $30,000 in debt and she was forced to declare bankruptcy. She was left as a mother with major health problems forced to live a day-to-day existence caring for two small children.  When she refused to allow Ted Gunderson to return to live with her, he threatened to contact her ex-husband and rob her of custody of her children.  The threat never materialized and she never heard from Dr. Felix Polk or his wife Susan again.

When McGauley heard that Susan Polk was being held for the murder of her husband, she contacted lawyers Daniel Horowitz and Ivan Golde and offered to testify. That did not happen. Then she read that Pamela Vitale Horowitz had been brutally murdered.

It is said that one who does not learn from history is bound to repeat it.  This is the history of Dr. Felix Polk and Susan Polk and the tragedy that will forever affect their sons.

District Attorney Paul Sequeria is, for the most part, acting appropriately and in many cases with compassion. Judge Laurel Brady has proven herself to be both a uniquely qualified judge and a fine teacher of the law.  But adhering to the ball park that is the courtroom and playing the game that lawyers and judges play so well does not equal justice.  These are the facts in this case and this jury is not being allowed to see what happened.  History is everything.  Why don't we allow fully informed juries in this country to know the facts if we truly want justice?

Virginia McCullough © 5/3/06