A professional's opinion

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The Aug, 18, 1996 Record article went onto to quote Mary Nolan, the

psychotherapist, who Sue interviewed for the book "Redlight," and to

whom Sue fled in January when she apparently troubled. Nolan, a

specialist in impulse-control disorders, had counseled other dancers,

including sue.

 

"In the beginning, there's a feeling of enormous power and control,"

Nolan told Fine. "All this attention. But this pretty soon wanes because

you get treated pretty badly. Everybody is in total fantasy. The girls

are in fantasy about the boys , and the boys are in fantasy about the

girls. It starts to go bad when the girls begin to understand that the

boys are not going to take care of them as hoped. And the boys

understand that it's not free, wild sex, but a woman who wants a home

and kids and a car and rosebushes."

 

Nolan seems blind sided by her own study. Girls don't dance because they

want kids or a yard. Many of them are caught up in the glitz of high

life, and realize their mistake only as they age, and lose their stage

value. The older they get the less desirable they get, and the more they

seek to find someone to rescue them, often settling for some jerk who

beat them because of what they were, and chains them with house and

kids, then goes back out to the go-go bars. He made his conquest. Now he

moves on. But Nolan was right in what draws most women to dancing: low

self-esteem, related to an unhappy upbringing. Many dancers, according

to Nolan, promise to stay in only for a short time to save up some cash.

But they get trapped in it. Melissa kept talking about giving up

dancing, too, even though she had a small baby. She had started a small

baking business to try and find an alternative means of income, just so

she didn't have to associate with bar people, just so that she wouldn't

get sucked back in for another gig.

 

Nolan did not say much about Sue's condition, since it was a

confidential relationship, but she did tell Fine "she felt trapped."

 

 

Fine's story ended with a particularly poignant view of Floyd, the

beleaguered father, who struggling to find his daughter, is confronted

by rumors, speculations -- and, of course, me. Over the next few months,

my accounts of Sue's behavior would haunt him and cause him to come to

hate me. He would blame me for the FBI's failure to enter the case. He

and others questioned Joel when he called saying: "You're not connected

with that Al Sullivan character, are you?"

 

Of all the people who least deserved to be hurt by all this, Floyd tops

the list. He actually cared about Sue, even if his caring came way too

late. In 1985, when she went into rehab, he came out to help her and has

been a consistent positive influence in her life ever since. But the

damage was done much earlier, by mother Martha who ignored the truth

about the possible rape of Sue, who failed to know that her daughter

routinely went to sex clubs in New York City at an age well below 16,

who failed to see the signs of Sue decline, mistaking college as a

paradise, instead of another version of hell, who threw Sue out of the

Wayne apartment so often she could have installed a swinging door.

 

In the waning days of the summer of 1996, Floyd seemed consumed by his

visit to Sue the previous June.

 

"He met her (Sue) at her apartment. She handed him a manuscript, a

technical article she had written for a friend of his. It was very good,

evidence of her talent in handling complex subjects," Fine wrote. "But

then their conversation veered into more personal areas."

 

"I was critical of her," Floyd said. "Of some of her choices. She went

ballistic on me. She fell apart. I apologized. I said `Yes, I'm very

judgmental,' I hugged her, and she was just skin and bones."

 

"He was talking fast now," Fine wrote. "About the consequences of taking

too much Xanax. About the diagnosis some years back that Walsh is

manic-depressive. About how much he loves her son. About how much e and

his ex-wife love her."

 

"It's not even a question of forgiving," Floyd said. "Maybe she has to

forgive us. Maybe she has to forgive us." Floyd was not alone in feeling

sorry for Sue, or in wanting people to focus on her plight, not her

habits. O'Keefe in his Aug. 22 editorial in the Nutleyalone in feeling

sorry for Sue, or in

 

"The news stories continue to be printed that somehow leave the reader

with the impression that this woman's behavior was the cause of her

vanishing," O'Keefe wrote. "For once I must side with the feminists on

this issue. When possible violence as been done to a woman or when she

has possible succumbed to addition or became despondent and wander, why

is the victim blamed? I do not care whether a woman is a go go dancer as

much as I resent the fact that these women are particular vulnerable to

violent acts by men. Nor do I care if somebody is an alcoholic or

pill-popper, as much as I think everyone should pitch in to help. I wish

the New York newspapers would concentrate on printing information that

would help people find this poor woman, who has a precious young son

waiting for."

 

Mistakenly, Floyd would lump O'Keefe in with me, one of the great

tragedies of The Susan Walsh Story, but something very typical with

Sue's activities, which turned allies in enemies so she could control

them.

''Fleeing Malike's Place

 

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