Child Molesting Berkeley Style

by Steed Dropout
Mar. 8, 2013 | PS added: March 12, 2013


I could be charged with aiding a child molester for writing this. Keep in mind that I write from Berkeley California where we dance to a different drummer, although we don’t dance to anyone. We’re radical skeptics, in the tradition of Lord Berkeley.

Anyone could be a child molester but many child molesters work with kids.

Steven was accused of being a child molester. He has zero exposure to kids.

I met Steven last year when he told me an old friend of mine had died in Washington State. He seemed unusually sympathetic. He would soon lose his best friend, Harold, who died recently after forty years on the street.

I could tout Steven. But Steven could be Jesus Christ in Berkeley and be called a child molester.

Berkeley weirdo in trouble. Photo by Ted Friedman.

Here’s what went down:

Steven was tripping in Moe’s bookstore, a famous store on Telegraph. “I was on something,” he told me. He’s a head who had just been bookstore-reading “the Agony and Ecstasy,” about Michelangelo.
He was step four of seven descending to Moe’s children’s books when he paused for a stoned moment to wonder how Michelangelo might have painted the little girl perched on a stool.

Perhaps he was staring. But at what? The girl? Or the image in his mind of how Michelangelo would have painted her?

The girls father called out, “stop staring at my little girl.”

The little girl’s father complained to Moe’s staff. Moe’s staff 86’d (evicted) Steven and called him a “child molester.” A staffer followed Steven across the avenue and hissed, “have you molested a kid yet?”

Four days later Steven picketed outside Moe’s with a sign the backside of which said, “Moe’s a Small-minded store.”

Moe’s owner, daughter of the famed, but dead Moe Moskowitz, a Telegraph legend called the cops. No citation was issued, but Steven left. Moe backed the People’s Park demo. Hosted free-speech movement meetings. Was so highly regarded on the streets that when protesters broke windows, Moe’s were untouched.


A year later Steven is still bothered by it all. The death of his best friend made things worse.

I asked Doris Moskowitz, the legend’s next-in-command — taking Moe’s into the future — what had happened to Steven.

She said it was a misunderstanding but the little girl’s father had never come back and that Steven had picketed her. The 86 stood. She seemed indignant, yet no one had accused her of being a child molester.

Steven is not just any old hippie. He was a leader in Vietnam Vets Against the War, served thirteen years as a paid staffer at the Red Cross. Did four disaster reliefs. He’s busked Cody’s abandoned bookstore site for seven years.

He let his homeless friend sleep on his couch in bad weather. “I liked having him around,” he told me.

He’s on good terms with Ken Sarachan, who owns a big chunk of Telegraph — owner of Cody’s abandoned site.

He’s got street creds.

But as I said, he could be Jesus. The result is the same. He’s been labeled a Berkeley perp. I had to tell him that he does look like a weirdo.

Here’s why: he had a non-malignant tumor removed from his para-thyroid gland and they told him “my demeanor would change.”

His neck tilts upward and he always seems to stare. His bifocals add to the weirdo-effect.

He has post stress from helicopter duty (psy-ops; dropping propaganda) in Vietnam. Now he has post-stress from being called a child molester.

This is for Jerry. Thanks for getting me off the dime.

March 11, 2013

Today, at the Med, Doris M., owner of Moe’s Books asked, “why are you writing about this?”

I had approached her to give her another chance to explain herself. She’s quoted above.

“Because that is what Steven wanted me to do. I hoped this would bring some closure” (a word I hateā€¦there is never closure).

“That’s the worst thing you could do for Steven,” she said.

“He’s crazy he went psycho in the store [after being defamed] and when I talked to him when he picketed he threw his bike against our sandwich board (a street sign on a carpenter’s horse).

It was after he “threw” his bike at her sign, she said, that she called the cops. No citation was issued ( the crime of throwing a bike against a saw horse?).

“He’s really crazy,” she repeated. I’d like to accuse her of a sex offense and see how she reacts.

I told her previously that I was going to write about this. It’s not a war story or national politics, but we consider it South side news.

The Berkeley Daily Planet long ago bailed on South side stories; it passed on this one.

I said, “I’d take it down,” but my editor here encouraged me to keep it. We have another Blog, Berkeley Reporter XXX (X-rated; the headlines from our X-rated pieces are filthy), where it could have been directed.

This story is not filthy, just stinky.

Stay tuned for P.S. 2.

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