At age 46, Grady was a newly appointed pastor at Westchester United Methodist Church, just off Westchester Square in Zerega, a middle-income, ethnically diverse section of the Bronx.He
had an office in the squat brick building behind the church that housed the day care center.From time to time he
would poke his
head in and say hello to the kids.At Christmas, he
dressed up as Santa Claus.He
is tall, bald and bearded, normally dressing in the black frock of his
, who is from the City of Yonkers just north of the Bronx, was well-known in the community.He had been an ordained minister since 1957.He was a police captain and instructor in the Yonkers Police Department.He led youth programs, civil rights activities and was chairman of the board of St. Joseph's Hospital.He
had a wife and two children of his
was new around Zerega at the time of the accusations, he
had professional contacts and experience with children stretching back nearly 30 years.
They seem to have focused on Grady
as the suspect by process of elimination.The vague, contradictory descriptions the children were giving didn't really fit anyone else and, they argued, Grady
was around enough to have had the opportunity.The children's teachers said there was an adult with them virtually all the time; that Grady
was never left alone with the children.
One of the teachers, Ilse Lorenz, said the district attorney's office brought pressure on her to implicate Grady
showed up three times on the tapes in a one-month, 640-hour period.But he
made "no overt sexual advances."
When detectives from the district attorney's office wanted to interview Grady
was happy to comply.He
did not ask for a lawyer and offered to take a lie detector test, but the prosecutors declined (he later passed a polygraph test administered privately by Nat Laurendi, a well-known expert; prosecutors were not interested).On October 10, 1984, a Bronx grand jury indicted Nathaniel Grady
on 42 counts of sexually abusing children.
4.The 1984 indictment, further explained by a "bill of particulars," contains a fatal flaw that should have sprung Grady
from jail already, according to his lawyer, Joel Rudin.
Instead, it alleges a "continuous course of conduct," by Grady
Around the time Grady
was brought to trial, four other Bronx day care center workers were indicted and convicted of abusing children.
If a ruling by a Federal court in June stands, Grady
may go free as well.
5.We know more now.
No one kept records of the interviews of the children by officials in the Bronx cases, but in other cases around the country, the transcripts of those interviews destroy the prosecution's case.In the two most notorious, the Margaret Kelly Michaels case in New Jersey, and the McMartin case in California, it is clear that overzealous prosecutors put words in children's mouths.We will never know, exactly, if that's what happened here, but we do know that none of the kids could identify Grady
in the courtroom without prompting.We know that the children and their families became close to the district attorneys.We know that some of the kids were interviewed 40 or 50 times before the case was brought.
The charges against Grady
required shaking the very core of how we look at the world.
The Federal court remanded the case to the state courts, saying that if they do not rule in 60 days, Grady
will be freed.
himself has affected a gracious resignation.He
tells the newspapers that he
is grateful for all that has been done for him, that the Methodist leadership has stuck by him (he is on leave of absence), that his
friends have not believed the charges.He serves as a prison chaplain and, apparently, is not subject to the abuse most child molesters get from fellow inmates.
"I'm still operating in numbness," Grady
told a former colleague of mine at the Daily News