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Facing Fears

Anyone who knows my background can probably guess that I have fears surrounding police officers. I break out in a cold sweat, and hold my breath. Therapy helped me realize that just because a person wears a uniform does not mean that they are going to try and put me in jail.

I was doing well until this last week. A police officer showed up on my doorstep due to a small dog I had found. After six weeks the owner walked by my house and realized I had her dog. I took out an ad in the paper and online, looked for signs, but all to to no avail - after 2 weeks I decided to keep the dog. I did not call the police about the dog I had found because they would have taken it to the shelter and the idea of putting anything in a cage causes my soul to cringe.

The officer started the conversation by demanding that I return the dog. I refused, I did want to return the dog, but I had invested in it due to medical bills and was entitled to a portion of that money back according to law. Plus, I wanted the owner to be invested in the dog. She had gotten him for free and let him run loose. Things that do not hold value are easily taken for granted.

When I refused to return the dog the officer threatened to arrest me. I asked to call my attorney, he said I could do so down at the station. Flashbacks to the most horrific night of my life threatened to overwhelm me, but I somehow stayed calm. I did eventually call my attorney, my phone had been in my back pocket, my sister had been on the line the entire time (I was talking to her when he knocked on my door and just slipped it into my pants pocket). She freaked out when I suddenly hung up on her, but the officer was calling for backup and I was calling my attorney.

The officer eventually left, without the dog, and with the threat that he would return with a warrant for my arrest - and I breathed a HUGE sigh of relief. I was terrified, but I stood up for myself with becoming hysterical and using the education regarding lost property laws that I had gleaned. I knew my rights and was not willing to give in to unfounded demands.

I HATE that the situation happened, but I am elated that I faced one of my deepest fears and made it through to the other side. Life will always be fraught with things that cause fear, but courage is on the other side just waiting for us to find it.

May each one of you find the courage to stand when you feel like fainting and to speak when you think your voice has left.


Just remember that you're safe now. Your past is behind you and you have a brilliant, fulfilling future ahead of you. That's why the rearview mirror is smaller than the windshield. Stay strong, sister!

My name is Mary Hall and I just saw Ms. Lannert's story on "Notorious".  Not knowing the outcome, I was really enraged at the legal system.  Many therapists have suggested my affect is that of a sexually abused adult.  I have no memory of it but it comes out in ways such as not getting PAP smears, etc.... Even Ob/Gyns have told me this is a huge red flag. To make a long story short, I was incensed at accusations in "Notorious" that these things "suddenly" occurred to both sisters'.  I was so relieved at the end where I learned the sentenced was commuted by an obviously enlightened Governor.  So relieved I had to seek out this web site.  I pump my fist sky high to all of you and to hopefully come to grips with my obvious abuse.

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About Stacey Lannert

Stacey is free. In January 2009, Missouri Governor Matt Blunt commuted her sentence of life without parole. She is currently speaking out about sexual abuse and sharing her message of love, healing and forgiveness.