The Flawed Rhetoric of a Sandy Musser Pardon

By Gregory D. Luce on January 10, 2017 — 9 mins read

I don’t begrudge Sandy Musser, or anyone else, for requesting a presidential pardon. I wish them the best of luck and hope their lives are on a positive track after serving federal sentences. But it’s galling to me that Musser is held up by some as heroic, as the equivalent of a civil rights leader, like a Rosa Parks or a Susan B. Anthony, or a Martin Luther King, Jr. As one advocate recently posted in support of Musser:

I am asking that you pardon someone who is a direct descendent of others who ‘broke’ bad laws, people like Sojourner Truth, John Brown, Susan B. Anthony, Lucy Stone and many others. The laws Ms. Musser circumvented will one day be seen as no more than a failed social experiment. She deserves your presidential pardon.

Oh, please. I don’t doubt that Sandra Musser is a dedicated adoption reform advocate. But she got caught knowingly taking advantage of illegal search methods to find adoptees and birth parents. Despite all the tortured civil rights rhetoric she and others have used to describe her plight, she is not a civil rights hero.

A little background for those who don’t know the story. In the late 1980s, Musser created a for-profit business called the Musser Foundation. It provided adoption reform resources, sold books, and organized adoption rights support groups, but it also offered paid search services to adoptees and birth parents. Indeed, the Musser Foundation’s primary revenue came from these searches, which cost up to $2,500 each. A Musser Foundation brochure and handout from 1990 highlights its successes, listing more than 130 successful reunions and boasting of an astounding success rate of 95 percent.

The charges against Musser grew out of a lengthy undercover operation that originated in New York and documented how Musser and one of its hired “searchers” fraudulently obtained private and confidential social security data on adoptees and birth parents. The method was obviously illegal but fairly straightforward. A client would hire the Musser Foundation to find a birth relative. Musser would in turn contract with an independent “searcher,” who in this case was Cleveland-based Barbara Moscowitz. Moscowitz would, as part of her work, use phony names and identities to call health departments, hospitals, and social security field offices, requesting and often unlawfully obtaining addresses, employment data, and social security numbers on individuals. Moscowitz would then turn that information over to Musser, and Musser would pay Moscowitz $100 for each social security number she secured and up to $1,000 per client for overall search work. Musser would then charge her clients up to $2,500 each, typically payable upon a successful search, and presumably reunification would follow.

For the record, my mother was a Musser Foundation client. I have the paperwork my mother completed in 1990 to initiate her search, which was apparently successfully completed in December 1992. But for reasons I have yet to figure out, it appears my mother never paid her balance, a requirement before receiving search results. When my mother called Musser at the end of March 1993, perhaps to inquire about payment, it was three days after federal authorities had issued the 39-count indictment against Musser and Moscowitz. I can only presume that my mother was uneasy paying the remaining balance of $2,350 when the business she had hired was under federal indictment. Or that she didn’t have the money. I don’t know the circumstances. But I can also reasonably presume that the same illegal methods used to find others were also used to get data about me and possibly my adoptive parents. Whatever was discovered, it was likely sitting in a file in Cape Coral, Florida, awaiting full payment.

Letter of Sandra Musser in 1993

The indictment against Musser and Moscowitz included charges of wire fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and theft of government property. In a deal with prosecutors, Moscowitz pled guilty to and ultimately testified against Musser. Musser pled not guilty and claimed that she had no knowledge of Moscowitz’s criminal activity and that, even if she did, her actions were justified on account of “bad laws” that had led to sealed adoption records and birth certificates. The case went to trial in the fall of 1993, and the evidence included taped conversations between a New York undercover investigator and Musser and Moscowitz. Ultimately, the jury found Musser guilty on most counts, including conspiracy to defraud the United States; aiding and abetting wire fraud; and aiding and abetting theft of government property.

At sentencing, Musser continued to appear defiant, stating first that she was innocent but then implying that her actions were justified. In light of Musser’s conflicting position on her own actions, the court felt compelled to order her incarceration:

What you have said today is what you said during the trial. It is a sense of saying: I know that the law existed and I feel that it must be changed. And in changing it, if I must violate it to change it, I will violate it. There is no sense of what we sometimes refer to as remorse for having done so. You have felt apparently yourself justified. So that no matter whether the court accepted the guideline analysis of your attorney or the government’s, the court still feels that jail time —a jail sentence of incarceration is well in order in this case.

The court also clarified with Musser that her sentence related only to the “activity in intruding into the privacy of the Social Security files. Although your feelings are very strong ones, there is I’m sure an equally strong view that those records should be kept silent, and the United States Congress has agreed with that view.”

The court sentenced Musser to four months in federal prison and banned her from doing adoption-related work for three years after her release.

It’s hard to tell if Musser continues to dispute the facts of her case—particularly now that she seeks a presidential pardon. Written guidance about seeking a federal executive pardon advises petitioners that:

it is ordinarily a sign of forgiveness and is granted in recognition of the applicant’s acceptance of responsibility for the crime and established good conduct for a significant period of time after conviction or release from confinement. A pardon is not a sign of vindication and does not connote or establish innocence. For that reason, when considering the merits of a pardon petition, pardon officials take into account the petitioner’s acceptance of responsibility, remorse, and atonement for the offense.

It’s unclear what responsibility Musser actually takes for her actions and what remorse, if any, she now feels. In various accounts, including on her website and in a book she wrote about her case, she seems coy with details about what she actually knew and did, typically only referring to the government’s “indecent indictment” against her but then stating that she was guilty solely of the “crime of reuniting families.” She also claims at times that she was innocent and had no idea that Moscowitz was illegally accessing social security files (though given the evidence at trial, as well as the jury’s verdict, it is hard to believe those claims).

More recently, and in support of her petition for a pardon, friends and advocates are now adamant that what Musser did should be forgiven because, in part, her means in breaking the law justified the ends. In essence, her supporters believe that, despite knowingly breaking the law, Musser was justified in doing so because her efforts ultimately led to reunification of birth families.

There are a number of problems with all of this, both in reality and in the context of seeking a presidential pardon. First, the law that Musser broke was related to federal social security data, not adoption records. Musser was not a court clerk who knowingly, illegally, and surreptitiously disclosed birth parent names to an adult adoptee. She was not a health department worker who released records deliberately in violation of the law. She did not steal sealed birth records. Rather, she broke a federal law that secured the privacy and confidentiality of individual social security data. How that law is flawed or bad is a bit hard to figure.

Worse, some advocates are now characterizing her actions and her crime as a form of civil disobedience, stating that what she did—i.e., break the law—was morally right in light of the “bad” adoption laws of the day. Lorraine Dusky, for example, claims that Musser is a “direct descendant” of people like “Sojourner Truth, John Brown, Susan B. Anthony, Lucy Stone and many others.” Jane Edwards, Dusky’s cohort on the First Mother Forum blog, claims that Musser’s pardon request is similar to pardons “for civil rights activists who went to jail for violating segregation laws.”

Again, Musser didn’t break an unjust law. Plus, she was being paid for her work. More significantly, these arguments misrepresent the nature and price of civil disobedience and also over-represent what Musser intended and accomplished. Civil disobedience, by definition, means that you are willing to pay a price for your actions and that, despite laws that you believe are unjust, you are willing to break them and bear whatever legal cost accompanies that action. It is a deliberate and necessarily political choice and almost always anticipates a penalty you are willing to bear, however unjust that penalty may be.

Last I looked, Susan B. Anthony was convicted of casting a vote in New York while also being a woman. Rosa Parks refused to give up a seat on a Montgomery bus and was arrested, charged, convicted, and compelled to pay a $10 citation. Neither woman was pardoned, nor did either one seek a pardon. And, unlike Musser, neither woman had been paid for breaking the law. Anthony, Parks, Stanton, King, all of them and others, knowingly and deliberately broke the law because they were willing to carry with them the weight of a penalty that followed. Musser, by contrast, continues to proclaim her innocence, something that is incompatible with an argument that her actions were deliberate, political, unlawful, and knowingly done despite the likely result of arrest and conviction.

Again, I don’t begrudge a person’s request for a pardon. If they deserve it, they should get it, and from all that I can tell, Musser has suffered on account of her crime and has lived through a number of struggles throughout her life, all of which she writes about in her books. I honestly wish her well and do not intend to be mean in highlighting the facts of her case.

What I begrudge, though, is the manipulation of civil rights rhetoric and a failure to acknowledge what Musser actually did. Rail all you want against the injustices of closed and sealed adoptions, but if you believe Musser is a descendant of civil rights heroes for conspiring to obtain private social security records, you’ve misunderstood your history. And you’ve also picked a flawed messenger to get a true rights-based message across.

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  • As one who was involved in the underground search network at the time, I stand amazed that you got all the facts right on the Musser case. She went down because one of her operatives, Moscowitz, got greedy and careless. NOBODY was imprisoned for breaking a law against reuniting family members because there is no such law. It is not and was not illegal to search, although some methods used by many broke some other law. The charges in Musser’s case were very specific and had to do with social security fraud. Sandy Musser had a lucrative business in which a large part of her fee went to her, not to various hired searchers who had their own fees which she as much as doubled in some cases. Email me privately for more on the inside workings of the search network in those days. In any event, she has spent many years working for adoption reform in various ways, but is no civil rights heroine or martyr as you have made clear. Thank You.

    • You claim that: “Sandy Musser had a lucrative business in which a large part of her fee went to her, not to various hired searchers who had their own fees which she as much as doubled in some cases.”

      If that’s true, as you allege, why wasn’t she charged with income tax evasion?

      I don’t know why you make false accusations.

        • Thanks, James. I would imagine Sandy DID report her income, as she ran her search services as a business. She advertised widely and publicly that she could find birthmothers and adoptees for a fee. She was not quiet and dealing only one to one with personal referrals, and some of her searches cost twice as much as those of others who were dealing with the same searcher for a small fee or for no fee for themselves.

          I am not making “false accusations” but stating what I remember about Musser’s operation at the time.

  • what other options did she have to get contact information about a lost child to the birth mother?

    i like what you say here, it is logical and laid out well. you’re obviously an expert, and i am not – and i appreciate the expertise. but i do wonder what options were available. obviously it seems that she and her co-worker felt that SSNs were needed in order to obtain the new identities/location of the children. birth mothers did not sign anything that agreed that their children’s identities would be kept a secret from them. (although i can see it might seem obvious when you leave a child behind without knowing what family the child is going to go to – but i’m speaking legalese here.)

    i think the desire for a pardon for this woman is a desire for a recognition on the part of the government that the deck was stacked – there was and is a systemic problem that took and takes advantage of nwe parents, and there is little to no legal protection for them. and when they try to connect, they find that they cannot, because of a host of laws that seem to exist that they did not know about, did not knowingly agree to. the fact that these were not disclosed is a big deal, i think, since we are talking about access to documents, and this woman is in jail for obtaining access to this information, documents, illegally. was there another way she could have done it, or was the system set up so that there was no other reasonable way for her to accomplish a perfectly reasonable and understandable – and legal – desire for contact on the part of the birth mothers, other than to break the law? in this way she is like a civil rights advocate, who, finds no other way to be treated properly, other than by breaking the law, sitting in the front of the bus.

    i take your point, though, in that these civil rights activists never asked for a pardon. i think the pardon is more of a PR attempt on the anti-adoption front. I don’t agree with a lot of the logic of a lot of what they do, but i do appreciate their passion, and, they are the activists, not me. I have to recognize the progress that they have made and i try not to be too much of an armchair ref – but mostly because i’m not qualified in a way to contribute much beyond conversation.

    anyway thanks for the food for thought. and the facts, i always appreciate those.

    • The quick answer is, yes, there were other ways, but those ways were time-consuming, tedious, and did not have anywhere near the 95 percent success rate advertised by the Musser Foundation. But the Musser foundation had such a success rate (if we believe the figures) because it cut corners and brokered, for a substantial amount of money, illegally obtained information. Musser got caught doing that. Others who did things similarly to Musser were not caught, and it’s neither unfair nor unexpected for those who are caught to be used as an example to others. Prosecutors do that all the time.

  • Thanks, Greg, for the very accurate portrait of la Affaire Musser presented here. Believe me, there are many of us in the adoption equality movement who have never supported Ms Musser in her activities then or now and certainly not her current bid for a pardon. To paraphrase someone from a Season 5 episode of Murdoch Mysteries, her role in adoption “reform” is like a boil that can’t be lanced.

    As Maryanne and you rightfully point out, searching has never been illegal, and that’s not what she was convicted of. For her many fans, try wire fraud and obtaining SS #s illegally. The ghost of that arrest and conviction haunt the movement today as those of us on the civil rights side of the argument are compared to her sleazy and stupid reunionist tactics. Musser made her living off the misery of others. Today, she is sighing her last hurrah, with weird plans for a March on Washington, letter-writing campaigns to the White House and online petition sites to “ask” for an Executive Order to unseal all BCs across the country-which the president has no constitutional authority to do. Although Musser has been told that her campaigns are useless and counterproductive, she continues , claiming they are “educational.” The idea of a pardon is laughable.

    • Marley is so right, and Musser’s schemes since her incarceration have been increasingly more bizarre and irrelevant to real reform. It is especially distressing to me that anyone is bothering the President with that ridiculous pardon idea at a time when our country is in serious crisis and facing who knows what with the next administration. There are some real heroes in adoption reform, and I would include Marley and Shea, but Sandy Musser is not one.

  • I will add that I conducted many searches around the same time that Musser was searching. For free. I never once had to break the law to successfully do so. There were many of us doing volunteer search work during the same time and we all knew about Sandy and her ilk who were not only charging hundreds to thousands per search but were routinely engaging in impersonation and other illegal activities, purely because to do so offered shortcuts over doing it the old fashioned way which often took months or years and was incredibly time consuming. The Musser shortcuts allowed her to profit heavily with relatively little time expended per search. And, as the court record details, she was willing to take the risk because if she got caught she simply intended to try to parlay her conviction into book profits.

    • Let me state that there is a BIG difference between a search initiated by an adoptee and one initiated by a birth parent.

      Adoptees MAY have non identifying information from their adoption agency, or they may even have their own name or more from their adoptive parents or finding their adoption decree. Once they have a name, it’s a matter of PI work on tbhei town or pid for to track that person.

      Birth parents who got no help from their agency – which was the vast majority of us back when Sandy was doing this – had no recourse but to pay someone underground to get the name to start with!!

  • Very true and very informative to all that needed to know her history and beware! In addition to all of this any one who can take money from an adoptee who has all ready had so many rights violated, and is aimlessly searching out their history, should never consider themselve a true activist for their cause. The minute they accepted those astronomical fees they were charging, made them criminals to me. Haven’t adoptee’s paid enough? I pity all who are still under her spell!

  • Very well said, Greg. Since reading the appellate decision in her case many years ago, I’ve never unMusser’s. the passion of her supporters. Given the amounts involved it has always seemed clear to me that Ms. Musser’s primary motive was financial and that she was prepared to do what was necessary in order to get it. These were not incidental expenses incurred by a search angel but payments taken by a woman who brokered criminal acts for her own profit.

    Hers were not acts of civil disobedience but of avarice. She preyed upon the victims of closed adoption no less than pimps prey upon victims of domestic and sexual abuse, in my mind. Unless and until she accepts that and apologizes to those from whom she took money, I will not support her request for a pardon.

  • Thank you. Well written and enlightening. I’m an adoptee (born and adopted during the Baby Scoop Era) living in California, where the records are, unfortunately, STILL sealed. I also have a degree in political science and a background in law. I appreciate the facts being presented in such a way that isn’t clouded with the emotional side of the sealed records conundrum.

  • Greg, I feel so sorry for your late mother having gotten sucked into Musser’s money making scheme. Most of Musser’s successful searches were not adoptees searching, but mothers searching for their surrendered children. I suspect that many of the searches through the Musser foundation were not handled by known operatives like Moscowitz, but by the mysterious no-name mystery searcher who seemed able to get any kind of information by ways nobody knew. In these cases, Sandy did nothing to earn any payment except convey information and then then send on the searchers payment, I think to a PO Box. From what he was known to charge through more honest intermediaries, it is is clear that Musser tacked on a hefty fee for herself. Many people made referrals to this mysterious male person, and in the days before caller ID or much of an internet, he would call you but you had no way to call him. I do not think he was a triad member but he was clever and good at whatever it was he did. As far as I knew, Sandy and one other person had some way of contacting him but I do not think even they knew his identity. I may be wrong about that. Once searches became easier do via internet, and also some honest detectives who did not charge exhorbitant prices and free search angels, the mystery man faded away. As far as I know, he was never caught.

  • I appreciate this clear and compelling history of Ms. Musser’s activities, formerly unknown to me…. In this context, who could disagree that civil rights heroism is not on the table?…

    Time served and penance paid, Ms. Musser has done a lot of work to help with adoption inequalities. There is no diminishing of that work.

    • When last I encountered any news of Ms. Musser, she continued to cast herself as a victim and took no responsibility for the crimes of which she was convicted. If she claims to have acknowledged that responsibility publicly, or expressed remorse for anything other than her conviction in the past few years, I’d appreciate a source for that claim.

      The fact remains that she was convicted of crimes for which she charged a substantial sum of money (slightly more than $4,000 in today’s dollars) to pay for the theft of Social Security numbers. I will never be convinced her actions were anything other than predatory.

  • Gregory:

    I would like to say that I have known Sandy Musser for decades, before, during and after this ordeal. She is a very giving, caring, loving human being who has raised children, grand-children and great-grand-children.

    I think it important to understand that MANY of us did what Sandy went to jail for! This all occurred at time when there were no options for adoption separated people. Only 2 or 3 states had access and there was no affordable accessible DNA testing. In fact, there was no Internet!!!

    Without incriminating myself, I can tell you that those of us who acted as intermediaries HAD NO IDEA how “the searcher” (who I knew to be a male) did what he did. After all, if Moskowitz or anyone else with an ability to get information let us know what they did, then we would have done it ourselves and kept all the fees people WILLINGLY paid rather than continue to use and give the majority of the fees paid to a “searcher.” Does that make logical sense to you, sir?

    Conversely, why would the person who was getting the big buck tell anyone their methodology??? Thus, I FIRMLY believe that Sandy did NOT know the details of what was being done to obtain the information…NOR did she or we care! Both are true.

    You make a point – and it seems to be your main point of contention – that Sandy “Musser didn’t break an unjust law.” But, sir, do you agree that it was and still is unjust that adoptees are denied access to their own original, “unamended” birth certificate?

    Sealed record laws that caused many of us to act as intermediaries and or simply pay those who were able to get the information they had no other way to get….because unjust laws kept it from them!! They circumvented the law at the loosest link, which I GUESS was SS. Had any of us been able to break into the sealed adoption records directly, trust me, we would have!!

    I would also like to say that it is because of knowing she was risking jail to help adoption-separated people and to shine a light on the fact that sealed records forced people to go underground and engage in shady methods to pay to get what should simply have been rightly theirs that many of us support Sandy and see her as a brave freedom fighter.

    Further, I think it is worth noting, that to my knowledge, none of the people who paid her to do their searches were unhappy or filed suit or reported her. Is that in keeping with your research on this, Gregory?

    You say you that you “honestly wish her well and do not intend to be mean in highlighting the facts of her case.” Really??

    I think it boils down to you have your opinion and others of us have our opinion and we KNOW that the many of us risked jail to get people their real names, and were thus acting in civil disobedience.

    Finally, I would like to ask you if you know why BN is so bent out of shape about this and viciously posting about Sandy?? Even, if for the sake of argument, I assume your and their accusations that she profited greatly are true, and assuming as you do that because SS was the loose link and not being able to directly hack sealed adoption records makes a difference and makes her a criminal and not noble at all…. Assuming all of that, how does it negatively impact the BN mission? How do they or you gain by destroying an elderly woman who is struggling to help grand-children and great-grand-children? Do you know why BN felt it necessary to viciously attack this woman and not just simply NOT support her petition and advise members to not sign?

    What is gained by you (or by BN) by digging into the details of this case and publishing your opinion of it? If you do not feel she is deserving of a pardon, don’t sign her petition or help her. Period. Has she not paid for her crimes???

    • Let me first address Ms. Ribben’s accusation that Bastard Nation (BN) has attacked Ms. Musser here. While some of those commenting may be members, officers, or supporters of BN, none have claimed to speak for the organization. All, including me, have spoken of our personal opinions on Ms. Musser’s activities, whether those that lead to her conviction or her request for a pardon.

      With respect to her conviction, I suggest Ms. Ribben read the appellate opinion to which I provided a link. There, she will find the following:

      “The jury found the defendant guilty of one count of conspiracy to commit an offense or to defraud the United States.

      The elements of the crime of conspiracy are:

      (1) that the conspiracy described in the indictment was willfully formed, and was existing at or about the time alleged; (2) that the accused willfully became a member of the conspiracy; (3) that one of the conspirators thereafter knowingly committed at least one of the overt acts charged in the indictment, at or about the time and place alleged; and (4) that such overt act was knowingly done in furtherance of some object or purpose of the conspiracy as charged. United States v. Sturman, 951 F.2d 1466, 1474 (6th Cir. 1991), cert. denied, 112 S. Ct. 2964 (1992) (quoting United States v. Meyers, 646 F.2d 1142, 1143-44 (6th Cir. 1981)). The existence of a conspiracy to violate federal law may be established by a tacit or mutual understanding among the parties. United States v. Blakeney, 942 F.2d 1001, 1010 (6th Cir. 1991), cert. denied, 112 S. Ct. 881 (1992). However, “mere association with conspirators is not enough to establish participation in a conspiracy.” Id. (quoting United States v. Pearce, 912 F.2d 159, 162 (6th Cir. 1990)).

      The jury also found the defendant guilty of aiding and abetting wire fraud and aiding and abetting theft of government property.3 18 U.S.C. §§ 2, 641, 1343. “To be found guilty of the crime of aiding and abetting a criminal venture [18 U.S.C. § 2], a defendant must associate himself with the venture in a manner whereby he participates in it as something that he wishes to bring about and seeks by his acts to make succeed.” United States v. Knox, 839 F.2d 285, 294 (6th Cir. 1988), cert. denied, 490 U.S. 1019 (1989).

      Defendant argues that the District Court should have granted her motion for acquittal because insufficient evidence supports the verdict against her. Specifically, the defendant argues that she did not know that Moskowitz was unlawfully obtaining information from social security offices and therefore did not conspire with Moskowitz or aid and abet Moskowitz.

      Viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the government, we conclude that the evidence supports a finding that the defendant knew of Moskowitz’ illegal activities.”

      A jury, a district court, and an appellate court all found the evidence to support, beyond a reasonable doubt, that Ms. Musser acted knowingly.

      Ms. Musser’s avarice leaps from the letter which she sent to Mr. Luce’s mother.

      Ms. Musser may deserve a pardon. If Ms. Ribben or Ms. Musser wish us to support her, one or the other should present evidence that Ms. Musser is eligible for a pardon, not that she did not commit a crime or that her crime was in service to a higher calling.

      • Mr. Hamilton. My apologies for not being clearer. My reference to BN attacking Ms. Muser was not regarding comments here, but rather a BN blog post by Shea Grimm.

        It is too late for a pardon and I do not think anyone should support her who doesn’t want to. But I have asked what is gained by raking her over the coals? She served her time for the crimes she was found guilty of. What is gained by this which hunt?

        Which is the major issue? Is it as Gregory says that she “didn’t break an unjust law” or is it your issue that she “knew” how the information was being obtained? Prove that she didn’t know? No, I cannot prove what knowledge was NOT in her head nor can anyone prove what WAS known by her. However, that the court found she did it “knowingly” – a court also found OJ Simpson not guilty and have sent many innocent men and women to prison. Courts err, sir.

        However it simply does not make logical sense as I have already said. Had she known how the information was obtained, she would have done it herself and made ALL the money!! It’s a matter of pure logic.

        PS Riben, not Ribben, Thank you.

    • I think you are asking why I wrote the piece, and that’s often a good question but sometimes a question I cannot easily answer. I wrote it in two contexts: 1) I had a personal connection to what Sandra Musser did; and 2) I wanted to explore the truth and politics of a belief that Musser is a civil rights hero—ala Rosa Parks and Susan B. Anthony—and thus deserves a presidential pardon.

      I didn’t politicize this. Others did here. And I felt it was appropriate to react to that politicization if it can add truth and context to what actually happened. In other words, I’m still apparently operating in an old truthiness world order, circa January 19, 2017.

      Finally, though it really doesn’t matter, I have no connection to Bastard Nation other than what I may have written about them before. As I disclaim here, my words are my own.

      • But it DOES matter, Gregory. Sandy is a human being who you have chosen to publicly castigate. A woman who helped you and your mother connect and many, many others who are grateful that she did.

        Your reply is a lot of words none of which address why you felt the need to dig up an old case and make an elderly woman who has served her time look bad.

        Yes your words ARE your own. Because it is your opinion she is not a civil rights hero? So what? That’s our opinion. Who cares? Even if others agree with you, who cares? It will not change the minds of those of us who think she is or are just grateful to her for what she did. And/or those of us who commend her bravery for risking what she did for the cause eof reuniting adoption-separate people.

        All you have accomplished is that and now she and all of her children, grandchildren and great-grand-children will have to deal with still more dirty laundry about her appear forever on the internet.

        Way to go to slap the person who helped you and your mother and many others.

        • Sandra Musser did not help me and my mother connect. From all I can tell, my mother did not pay the balance of $2,350 on her account and thus got no information. We connected later, essentially by chance, when she signed up for a DC-focused mutual consent registry.

          • I see. I am sorry for my error.

            I noted that the comment “maryanne says: January 11, 2017 at 12:07 pm” by someone with no love loss for Ms. Muser, confirms what i said about a mysterious MALE searcher who would never have let anyone know how he did what he did.

          • Everyone knows about the “Searcher” or the “Big Guy” or “God.” Sandy Musser even rather cavalierly reveals who it is and where he lived (Mentor on the Lake, Ohio). And, in order for Sandy Musser to be guilty of her crimes, she did not need to know HOW her investigator got the information. She only needed to know that the methods were illegal. A jury found that she knew that and participated in that. But she seems to simultaneously deny it but also say she was justified. Neither position gets her a pardon. That’s the whole point of all this.