“Matty be careful I visit your hometowne [sic] with about 250 other AA men for a conference every May look it up. I should be seeing you in May. We just may corral you and before you know it you be brainwashed. Oh and If I forgot to tell you that I come to your hometown ( like I forgot to tell you about being a Ex-Ass. Dir.) sorry I was going to surprise you.
Now I know you don’t want to start talking about the mother of your children do you Matt, please leave mine out of this conversation. I mentioned it for reference, she went on to post to Ursus. Not you.
Matt whenever you want to crawl out of your whoa is me, the Ex Ass Dir is picking on me routine that would be nice. Your [sic] 51 now grow up. Remember you said that you worked thru [sic] this, well act like it.
This is Danny now has been since 1978….So nice try so many others were there before you pulling this shit, read it Matt. What are you 15 again. If that is the case then please be serious for the sake of others. Matt you can’t spin this on me buddy sorry take your latent anger out on your counselors. I gave you every opportunity to get honest and you never did. Why because Matty did not want to look like he was siding with a Ass.Director in front of all his Elan resident buddies. Boy that would look horrible….Go back Matt to a phone call I had with you asking you why Mark was posting on facebook that I was a driver flunky for Joe. He knew I was a Ass. Director from my post on a site Sharon had. No this is the explanation you wanted to believe in order to hang out with me. Fine I could have accepted that if you had from the beginning just said I have a problem with associating with you because of.
But you did not you chose a very disrespectful way trash me publically [sic], remember you started this publically [sic] I spoke first in private, so don’t go running around acting like your [sic] innocent.
“I have 21 yrs. in A.A. It does work if you work it.Stay in touch - Danny “
The above quotes are from a guy named Danny Bennison, an AA with a spotted history, and a vicious mean streak. Currently, he writes for “McGowdoghouse,” a blog dedicated to this blog’s existence. His handle over there is “heretikreb,” but he is better known among those who peruse our comment section as “Diablo” (also “Cuggle,” and whatever other sockpuppet he may have slinked through our filter). Understanding the context of the quote requires a bit of background information, both of Diablo (Danny) and the recipient of the comment. It all started with Elan School.
Elan is a private school in Maine, dedicated to helping wayward teenagers. It employs a type of therapy known as “therapeutic community,” which makes the 12-steps look like walk through the park. Its most famous alumnus is Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel, made famous for the murder of his neighbor, Martha Moxley – an act he committed prior to attending Elan. Like Michel Skakel, most of those housed there are from well-to-do families, with the current annual fees costing upwards of $50,000.
Diablo was at Elan, starting in the mid-seventies, for almost three and a half years. First as a student, and later as a resident staff member. He made quite the impression on the other students, with threads in internet forums dedicated specifically to him, by former students of the school who characterize him with terms such as “monster.” People now in their fifties, were so traumatized by him, that multiple internet sites and forums have been started to help his victims connect and cope.
One such student, Wayne Kernochan, was so traumatized by his experience at Elan School, that he wrote an online book about his and other students’ experiences there – with our resident troll, Diablo, as the central figure in the plot: A Life Gone Awry: My Story of the Elan School. Among the many abuses chronicled in the book, was a time when Diablo tied a girl up and dragged her behind the back of his car. She was overweight, and this was Diablo’s method of convincing her to lose weight. As horrific as this sounds, it’s an incident to which Diablo fully admits, and for which he has no regrets. This is from an internet forum where Diablo engages his victims:
“…As far as the dragging incident I am not nor will I be ashamed at programs and the courses it takes, I know that the once Fat Girl thanks me now. I will help any of you lose wight [sic] like here [sic] just call me….”
What kind of sadistic ass-clown ties someone up and drags them around behind the back of a car? And with no remorse. This was written after he had written one of his “amends letters™” to those in this forum whom he had abused. Among the highlights in the amends letter™:
“Wayne I also want to take this time to apologize for any and all harm I caused you either directly or indirectly. I was put in charge to care for you (whether Elan wanted me to do this or not) I knew that you needed to be protected and I failed horribly.
I can only hope in time you can see just how sincere I am.
Now I would also like to take the time to express my sincere apologies to others to have gone to Elan that I was unkind to and down right [sic] rude to over the last year or so. As I have said before I could not have prepared myself enough to understand the impact of emotions that stormed back into my life when I ventured onto this site and others concerning Elan.
I did not handle the emotions from others well. I can only hope that Felice, Sharon, Matt, Mark, Wayne and others can forgive my intolerable behavior I displayed here and other sites a while back. My ongoing amends to you all has been to leave you alone and to empathize with your pain and how I can irritate this with my behavior.”
Notice his mention of those who he had been “unkind to and down right [sic] rude to.” He’s making reference to his numerous meltdowns and continued degradation toward those who he had abused years ago. Today, most of these have been deleted by forum moderators, but there are still fragments of conversations – responses containing quotes from now deleted posts – which give a fairly clear picture of Diablo’s emotional instability. A quick google search of “Danny Bennison Elan” will give you a treasure trove of sociopathic-like behavior, both from Diablo’s words, and from the accounts of his victims. For years, Diablo has been trolling the forums set up to discuss him. His comments teeter from belligerence to apologetic. From anger, to amends™, and back to anger again. It’s the same bi-polar M.O. he operated under here. Often in the same, slogan-ridden language of AA – using the standard catch words and aphorisms. It makes Bill Wilson’s personality look like the epitome of stability. Diablo is just flat-out crazy.
Every human has a few skeletons in their closet, and has people in their past they may have harmed and taken advantage of — but how many people have treated others so badly, they have forums dedicated to help their victims cope with the abuse that they’ve had imposed on them. Who has been so abusive in their life that someone from thirty years in their past decides to write a book about it? Who has friends in high school refer to them as a “monster”? How can this possibly be rectified in an amends letter™?
We have debated whether or not to post about this, but we decided to do so for a few reasons. First, Diablo posted his name openly in our comment section, so the question of anonymity on his part was not a problem. We will not disclose anyone’s name publicly, even those with whom we disagree; and even someone as vicious as Diablo.
Secondly, a rumor has started among a couple of people who were vaguely aware of Diablo’s identity, that he was somehow involved in a murder, which is not remotely true. Diablo has done enough to make himself look bad, without any help from false accusations and innuendo. As big of a jerk as Diablo is, even the implication of his involvement in a murder is unconscionable. The truth is that Diablo claims to have been deposed as a witness in the Michael Skakel trial, which is entirely possible, because they were both at Elan School at the same time. There was a question as to whether Skakel had confessed to the murder of Martha Moxley while he was a student at Elan. Diablo’s involvement as a witness (if he actually did testify) was ancillary, and he had no involvement in the incident. It happened well before Skakel had entered the school, or met the other students (including Diablo).
Finally, and most importantly, he has since we banned him, made contact with some of the readers of this blog, whose emails he acquired after contacting them as a member of the community forum. Our primary reason for getting rid of the forum, is because we could not prevent internet predators and trolls from gaining the trust, and potentially harming, other members. Not just with Diablo, but others, as well. If Diabo (or “heretikreb” or “cuggle” or any of his other aliases we are unaware of) has made contact with you, be aware of the type of person you are dealing with. Diablo, Danny Bennison, is a sick person, and he is aptly named.
Diablo has been an AA for over twenty years. He has sponsored people and worked his way through the AA social circle. No doubt those he sat next to in meetings, sponsored, gained trust from, and coached through the program; had no knowledge of his past, and most likely his present. A person who is inclined to drag a girl around on a rope with a car, has problems that stem well beyond drinking. Clearly, just judging from actions here on our blog, his manipulation and abuse never really ended. At least with us, it was simply head games on the internet, which makes him fairly harmless (unless any of you were foolish enough to share email or telephone information). In AA, it is different. This is a person you are told to trust, that his – not your – judgment is what matters. This is who you are asked to give yourself over to. This Diablo is team McGowdog’s, but there are tens of thousands of Diablos throughout AA. This is the guy sitting next to you at a meeting.