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Gerhartsreiter guilty, sentenced to 5 years but the judge still doesn’t get it

Today after 4 days of deliberation a jury found Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter (a.k.a. Clark Rockefeller) guilty of parental kidnapping and assault with a deadly weapon. The jury foreman read a statement saying that this was a complicated case and that they “considered ALL the testimony” including that provided by a psychiatrist and psychologist who testified that Gerhartsreiter/Rockefeller was “insane” at the time of the kidnapping and assault. The jury apparently found the Harvard Psychiatrist, Charles Chu to be more credible than the defense experts. The judge, after making a statement sentenced Gerhartsreiter/Rockefeller to 5 years in prison.

I was happy the jury considered ALL the evidence and came to a just verdict. I followed this case in order to observe the way jurors, lawyers, judges and news commentators think about psychopathy/sociopathy, con artists and the issue of insanity. As some of you may know, before the name “psychopathy” was invented this condition was known as “moral insanity.” This case also raises the question of what to do when one of the child’s parents is a psychopathic con artist.

Sadly, although I believe the jury verdict was correct, statements by Judge, Frank Gaziano indicate he is still confused with regard to the person Gerhartsreiter/Rockefeller. It is disappointing to me that even after he also heard ALL the testimony and saw ALL the facts, that Judge Gaziano still does not understand what a psychopath/sociopath really is. Those of us who hope to educate society about psychopaths/sociopaths are truly fighting an uphill battle.

Why do I believe Judge Gaziano does not understand what happened here? Because, at the sentencing the Judge made several contradictory statements. He began his discussion of the sentence by saying that he believed that Gerhartsreiter/Rockefeller had been a good father who loved and cared for his daughter. He indicated that this “love” motivated the crime.

Minutes before that assertion by the Judge, prosecuting attorney David Deakin said in court, “When (FBI) Investigators asked the defendant about his long term plans about what would happen when Reigh (the child) asked about her mother, his answer was ‘she wouldn’t have’; and according to the defendant, this was because ‘we never discussed her mother’. ”Deakin concluded, “The defendant’s apparent utter lack of empathy and concern for the impact of his actions, not only on obviously Mr. Yaffe (who was injured in the kidnapping), but upon Reigh and her mother, in the Commonwealth’s mind, justifies essentially the maximum sentence.”

The Judge, along with the jury also watched a video tape of the FBI interview mentioned by Deakin. In the interview, Gerhartsreiter/Rockefeller said regarding Sandra Boss, “I absolutely love her; I wish she hadn’t walked out on me.” He said of his fathering, “I don’t like to cause problems, I just want to be a father. I just want to be with her, I want to get her up in the morning, send her off to school, walk her to the bus, wait when she comes back and give her something to eat at night and put her back to bed then the same again.”

The defendant also claimed that following the kidnapping, he and the child had “6 glorious days together.” Never mind that this “father of the year“ left a 7 year old little girl alone in the unfamiliar apartment for hours prior to his arrest.

Sandra Boss also gave us a glimpse of what it is like to be “loved” by a psychopathic con artist. She described in court how he became controlling of her and the finances, kept her from her daughter, threatened her and made life in the home unbearable by trying to limit her access to food and heat.

Now back to Judge Gaziano because I think you may now see the point I am trying to make here. After Gaziano proclaimed the “love” of this father for his child, he said the following, “The defendant displayed no regard for the rule of law. He thought he would be able to out maneuver Sandra Boss by taking her money and then at the right time taking his daughter.” (well, yeah) The Judge also acknowledged that the child was herself injured in the kidnapping, and traumatized.

I have a word of advice for Judge Gaziano and all of us for this upcoming Father’s Day. Let’s all consider deeply what fatherly love is all about. A father who loves is not capable of the actions of this defendant.

Many of those involved here did what psychopaths try to get us to do. Psychopaths try to get us to view and their actions in a piece meal fashion. They want us to judge them by the pieces in isolation. So he took his daughter to school events, that means he loved her. The kidnapping and the treatment of his wife are separate issues. You know he said he loves Sandra too, so that also must be true. If you just look at one part of his behavior, you can almost buy into the loving father con. To see through a con you have to look at the bigger picture. You have to do what the jury did- consider ALL of the evidence.

Stop looking at the psychopath as a puzzle with a lot of different pieces. Look at the whole, it is much greater than the sum of the parts. No thinking person, looking at the whole here would conclude that Gerhartsreiter/Rockefeller is capable of anything resembling love.

Remember the words of Hervey Cleckley, “In a sense, it is absurd to maintain that the psychopath’s incapacity for… love is absolute, that is, to say he is (in)capable of affection for another … He is plainly capable of casual fondness, of likes and dislikes, and of reactions that, one might say, cause others to matter to him. These affective reactions are, however, always strictly limited in degree. In durability they also vary greatly from what is normal in mankind. The term absolute is, I believe, appropriate if we apply it to any affective attitude strong and meaningful enough to be called love, that is, anything that prevails in sufficient degree and over sufficient periods to exert a major influence on behavior.”

To adequately understand and cope with the behavior of psychopaths, we have to keep in mind what we mean when we say love. Love is about affection and warmth (some psychopaths do enjoy the affectionate attention of others), but it is also about putting the needs of the loved one first. It is about caring behavior. Love depends on the presence of empathy so as to understand that the loved one is a human being with rights and a need for autonomy. Love means another’s rights and freedom are as important as one’s own.

Thankfully this story did have a happy ending. In the words of Brad Puffer, Anchor, NECN, after considering ALL the evidence, “In the end the jury ruled he was a con man.”



18 Comments on "Gerhartsreiter guilty, sentenced to 5 years but the judge still doesn’t get it"

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  1. Yeah- well they may finally figure out who killed his landlords in California….



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  2. ANewLily says:

    Greetings, LFers! I finally was able to register tonight after about a year and a half of reading articles and posts and have received sustenance. Thank you!!

    All of you have become very dear to me and I do understand (from experience) the confusion, pain, and RECOVERY challenges. (OxDrover, I suspect you will know who I am!)

    Re: “Clark Rockefeller” — I have followed Sandra Boss’ story since the news first broke. I rejoiced to learn today that the jury found him guilty on at least two counts and he will serve time (at least 4 or 5 years) away from society! I wonder if he will manipulate an appeal? If so, I hope he doesn’t succeed!

    holywatersalt, I heard that the remains of who they suspect are those of the male landlord’s were found in the backyard of their original home recently. I believe the remains are still being examined for complete identification. Since they found the couple’s car in Connecticut years ago — but Mr. “Rockeller” changed his name and evidently couldn’t be located — I am hoping that he will be investigated as a “person of interest” soon.

    I keep wanting news of whether or not little Reigh has recovered from her trauma of being kidnapped — and left alone in a strange place. Has anyone heard any news about her?



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  3. eyeswideshut says:

    Welcome New Lily. As Oxy would say, sorry for your experience that brought you to LF. Hope you are well along the healing journey.

    I am reading “The Happiness Hypothosis” which is quite wonderful. The chapter currently describes the studies that show that those of us who have been through trauma end up happier and more resilient once we have greived and healed. Not to ever wish the trauma on anyone, but sort of like the Neitsche quote ” What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger”

    Hope you will share your story with us when you are ready. Hugs,



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  4. shabbychic2 says:

    ANewLily: Hi 🙂 I am aslo so pleased the jury found him guilty and not “insane” which I think is what his defense was, the driver of the limo said he acted like Thurston Howell III (from Gilligan’s Island)… what an a**hole!! I have not heard anything about the daughter, the mother seems smart (except for the “blindspot” she mentioned, which I have suffered from myself) so she must have sought out professional help for her daughter, I pray!!! The police from California attended his trial, so you are right, hopefully he will be come more than a “person of interest” in the murder of the landlord’s.



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  5. Rune says:

    I wonder if the murderer of the landlords is the same person that OJ Simpson has been looking for all these years. You know, the killer who killed his wife? Back when he was innocent? Such a nice man, you know.

    Oh, dear. I’m so confused.



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  6. pb says:

    I, too, have concerns about Reigh. There had to be some sort of parental alienation going on – however subtle, for them to never have discussed mom.
    Now this little girl, who has been cared for primarily by her father, has to adjust to life without him (apparently he even dressed them in matching outfits).
    I hope it all goes well for her.



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  7. smart1967 says:

    For ten years, I was married to a sociopath. We bore two sons. She got custody. She has brainwashed our sons to such a degree they have shut me completely out of their lives. Both are teenagers. Both perceive I don’t care.

    I am confident of why I divorced this woman. Sadly, I am the only who knows why. I tried my best for years to stay close to my sons. Unfortunately, I live 1800 miles away from them. Can’t be helped. My job is in Los Angeles and they are in Tennessee. Distance has been our greatest enemy.

    It took tremendous internal fortitude to walk away from her because I loved her deeply, we had incredible intimacy, and we had two sons. Sex was additive it was so good. She knew what worked and used it to her advantage. And long after we divorced, she proposed having sex with me. I bit at the opportunity because I knew how good it was. And because I am in a sexless marriage, married to someone with health issues, who could resist?

    I am 53 years old. My ex’s proposal was appealing because I haven’t had sex in ages and we had been divorced 10 years. As you might imagine, my sociopathic ex used the sex to her advantage. When she doesn’t get what she wants from me, she threatens to tell my wife about our very brief experience. You could have predicted this – right??? I was foolish to believe she could be trusted – and I was arroused.

    I am estranged from my sons because I am far away and my ex is the most convincing con you’ve ever seen. She can look you dead in the eye and whip up a story out of nowhere. Her M.O. is white collar crime – check fraud, bank fraud, credit fraud, aliases, lies, stealing, and tight control over lives of the people around her. She has convinced my sons I don’t love them. She intercepts my emails, phone messages, and mail. And no matter what the court tells her to do, she won’t honor the court’s orders. Because I live far away, I cannot afford to keep going back to court.



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  8. OxDrover says:

    Welcome to LF Smart 1967,

    You have arrived at the right place. I suggest that you go back into the archived articles and read them ALL, there is wonderful information there and KNOWLEDGE=POWER. You can take back your own power that this woman has had over you, take back yourself and heal.

    I know that whatever they do is aimed at taking away your power over your own life, and giving control to them. It doesn’t matter if she hurts your sons in order to make you miserable.

    This is a healing place,and one where you will be validated. Everyone here has dealt with these monsters, so we “get it” entirely.

    Again, welcome!



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  9. OxDrover says:

    ps: Smart,

    Part of my job at one time was teaching people with spinal cord injuries to enjoy sexual intimacy with their partners even though they were paralyzed from the neck or the waist down. That may seem “uimpossible” but it really isn’t. Th eBIGGEST sex organ in the body is the BRAIN. If your current wife is not brain dead or in a coma there is NO reason you and she cannot enjoy a very satisfying sexual relationship. I suggest that you and she see a sex therapist who will be able to, I think, help you acheive that goal.

    The psychopaths do seem, from what I have read here, to be the “best” sexual intimacy or the worst, depending on the individual, but many times they use this as control. (As yours seems to be doing with threatening to tell your current wife.) They love to get us into a corner and hold something over our heads as black mail to get their way. The only way I can see for you to defuse that is to beat her to the punch and tell your wife yourself. That may NOT be an option though. Even if it IS an option, it is I am sure a DIFFICULT one. The psychpaths make everything difficult!

    Please stay here and read and learn, you will receive validation and support here—this is a very good place to heal. Good luck!



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