Victim of the Century

The May 31 Washington Post carries an article by Patricia Davis about a former Fairfax, Va., high-school principal named Anthony M. Rizzo Jr., who is accused of molesting a young girl during the 1980s. (He’s been tried twice; both times he got hung juries.) What interests Chatterbox about Rizzo is not Rizzo’s guilt or innocence in this particular case–he’ll leave that one to the legal system–but rather Rizzo’s bid to claim the title of Most Preposterously Aggrieved Victim of All Time. The Post reports that the state of Virginia

lost a nearly 10-year battle over disability payments with Rizzo, who contends that he has a permanent “psychosexual disorder” that makes him unable to supervise women without trying to coerce them into having sex with him. He sought disability benefits after he was fired in 1989 from his job as principal of Edison High School for sexually harassing female teachers.State officials, noting his refusal to seek treatment, denied his claim, saying that giving him disability payments would reward him for the “reprehensible conduct” that caused his firing. But they lost on a technicality in 1998 when the state Supreme Court said they missed a deadline for making a decision on his claim.Rizzo was asked to submit to an examination this year to demonstrate that he still has the disability. When he refused to cooperate, the state stopped his payments. … Rizzo is now suing state officials for reinstatement of his disability payments, which ended April 1.

Neoconservatives who use this example in future Op-Eds, on C-Span-televised panels, or in books with titles like Why I Hate the Sixties are hereby requested to pay this column a modest finder’s fee ($5 a pop will do nicely). Some might argue that the royalties should go to the Post’s Davis, but Chatterbox asserts an ownership claim on the grounds that Davis failed to put the disability benefits claim in her lead. If Davis insists, Chatterbox will agree to split the proceeds with her, since she did do the legwork. That should still leave plenty for both of us to retire on.

[Crow-eating clarification, 6/1/00: Apparently the Post has written about Rizzo’s unique legal claim many times previously. Davis first reported it on the Post’s Page 1 on Feb. 22, 1999–and she had the good sense then to put the disability nonsense in her lead. Neocons should therefore send all royalty payments directly to Davis. Chatterbox will have to retire on something else.]