September 26, 2002
Madelyne Toogood

There are two items of interest regarding the Madelyne Gorman Toogood, the woman who was videotaped beating her young daughter, in today's Chron. First, columnist Ken Hoffman interviews Toogood and her attorney, Steve "Rocket" Rosen. Whatever good they may have hoped would come out of this will probably be sunk by the opening exchange:

"Hi," she said. "I know you think I'm a monster. I think more people hate me than Osama bin Laden."

In the video she appears to be, as she said, a monster. On the phone, she sounded like a confused high school girl, much younger than her 25 years.

Incredibly, she made a joke when I asked what she thought the first time she saw the video of herself beating her child.

"I thought, you know, I'm not the babe I thought I was," she said. "I thought I was better looking. So not only am I hated by everybody -- I'm not as attractive as I thought I was."

I was stunned by her answer. Maybe she doesn't understand what's happening to her, or what she did, or how much trouble she's in. Maybe she uses humor when she's scared.

That's pretty understanding of Hoffman, but the damage is done. I don't think a whole lot of people are going to change their minds in her favor after reading that, despite her repeated statements of remorse and acceptance of responsibility afterwards.

Over in the Metro section is a profile of Rosen, who has been involved in some other high-profile cases, including the K-Mart Kiddie Roundup. Like his client, he needs to watch what he says:

Toogood is a member of Texas-based Irish Travellers, insular, itinerant laborers who often earn their livelihoods through home improvement and business repair work. They are descendants of 19th-century immigrants who fled the Irish potato famine.

"I've represented members of the (Travellers) for 15 years around the country," Rosen said. "Mainly it's been petty crimes, thefts, fights among each other. Someone referred one to me, and they liked the job I did. They're like the Mafia in that if they find a lawyer they like, they keep using him. I wouldn't want to compare them to the Mafia, though."

Too late for that. Perhaps you need to take a class in Analogies Management.

For what it's worth, I agree with TalkLeft's opinion, which is to wait for all the facts are in before calling for Madelyne Toogood's head on a platter. If this is typical of her parenting, then by all means take her kids away from her. If this was a one-time event, then it's in everyone's long term best interests for her to get the kids back after an appropriate sentence that includes anger management classes. In the meantime, take a deep breath and pay attention to the followup stories, which are sure to get nowhere near the airplay of that infamous video.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on September 26, 2002 to Legal matters

What bothered me most about this was on the video - she puts the brat in the car, *looks around*, and only then starts in wailin' on the kid.

Guilty mind, anyone?...

Posted by: mojo on September 26, 2002 4:47 PM

That is a problem for her, as it tends to indicate forethought rather than a spontaneous outburst. If that's the case, this is unlikely to be an isolated event, in which case the evidence will say that she's unfit. All I'm saying is that we should make sure that such evidence exists.

Posted by: Charles Kuffner on September 26, 2002 9:32 PM

You know, we have to pass certain tests and have a license to drive a car, get married, carry a gun -- but any two idiots can create and raise a human being. To see this woman rain blows on her defenseless child is proof positive that some people should be banned from the human race. Why is it right in her eyes for her to inflict on her child what she would consider a crime if someone else did the same to her -- or to her child?

Posted by: Stuart on September 28, 2002 11:33 PM

If these people should be banned from the earth, what does that make you? A saint? You can call Madelyne an unfit mother, we hope she gets rehabitated, but Martha is not a brat. If you have any children, what would they be called? Angels?

Posted by: Louise Castens on October 2, 2002 9:45 PM

It's prettyeasy for that loser Stuart to pass judgement. What a piece of shit!

Posted by: Lee Ann on November 4, 2002 11:29 AM

I totally agree with Stuart.

Posted by: I am from Sweden where we protect our kids. on December 14, 2002 9:27 AM

If you are so perfect with your kids in Sweden, there must be perfection in other other way. So what are you doing living here?

Posted by: Missy on December 18, 2002 10:18 AM

People who hurt children need to be shot in the head. THERE's a moral imperative for you.

Posted by: Righteous Amerikan on February 14, 2003 6:35 PM

she got here girl back!thank god!

Posted by: gypsie girl on March 15, 2003 9:55 PM

I totaly agree with Lee Ann. Chuck that was out of line and Miss I am from Sweden who do you think you are????

Posted by: kimberly on May 22, 2003 8:21 PM

Hopefully Madelyne will get some couseling and become a better parent. However, she became a bad parent the day she concieved her child. She is an Irish Traveler. Is anyone out there educated about them? They are a clan, and they marry within their clan. Most of them marry first cousins, and if I'm not wrong...that's incest! I think they all need to go back to Ireland and stay there.

Posted by: georgia on October 23, 2003 9:45 PM

I'm married to a traveler. I am not in any way related to him, nor am I a traveler. So, not all of them practice incest!!!!!!!! As for toogood, she made a bad mistake. She publicly beat her child. As any member of society, traveler or not, she got punished by the Criminal Justice System. It looked like she was mad, and took it out on her kid. I don't know the circumstances, nor do I know just how hard she was hitting the child. It was wrong, and she got in trouble for it!!!!!

Posted by: liz on December 16, 2005 12:49 AM

we are gypsies but she wasnt beating her child shes my aunt and we dont mrry our cousins thats retard but think what you want cause she has her child back and she a very nice woman who doesnt beat her children and if you think shes bad spankin you children is just as bad an its recommended

Posted by: gypsie on May 16, 2006 2:58 PM