Fiction: FLDaddy

By Kristin Garth

In Re:  AUSA Roger Padden
            CR 21-00033-PEN-DJH 

AGENT DODD:  This is an interview with Denice Scanlon, legal secretary in the United States Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Florida on January 23rd, 2022 at 10:45 am.  The interview is being conducted by myself, Agent Paul Dodd of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and witnessed by Agent Angela Landis.  This interview is in reference to the January 21st, 2022 arrest of AUSA Roger Padden in the state of Missouri.  Padden was arrested as part of a sting operation conducted by the FBI.  Padden was charged with, among other offenses, traveling across state lines to have sex with a child under the age of 12.  Ms. Scanlon, you have been read your rights and understand them? 
MS. SCANLON:  Yes, of course. 
AGENT DODD:  You sit here without counsel today, but you understand you are free to pause this discussion at any time to retain such counsel?
MS. SCANLON:  I mean, yes, I understand but I — I don’t understand why I would need — 
AGENT DODD:  As long as you understand your rights, Ms. Scanlon, and that you are being recorded today. 
MS. SCANLON:  I — I do.  I just don’t know what I could possibly tell you.
(There is some noise of something being placed on the table.) 
AGENT DODD:  Do you recognize this bag, Ms. Scanlon? 
MS. SCANLON:  Yes, I — it’s a Target shopping bag.  
AGENT DODD:  Are there items in this bag? 
MS. SCANLON:  (Pause)  Yes.
(There is a sound of something being pushed across the table.) 
AGENT DODD:  Will you remove the items one by one and describe them to me?
(There are sounds of rifling through plastic.)
MS. SCANLON:  There are three sets of Barbie doll clothes.  
(There is a sound of something being pulled across the table.) 
AGENT DODD:  I hold in my hand a Barbie Be A Fashion Designer Doll Dress Up Kit.  Is that correct, Ms. Scanlon?
AGENT DODD:  And a Barbie Career Violinist Fashion Pack?
AGENT DODD:  And lastly a Barbie Career Ice Skater Fashion Pack? 
MS. SCANLON:  Yes, that’s correct.
AGENT DODD:  And Ms. Scanlon, if I were to tell you that this bag was found on the desk of AUSA Roger Padden this morning after his arrest this weekend in Missouri, would you dispute that assertion?
MS. SCANLON:  I would not.  
AGENT DODD:   Do you know how this bag came to be on AUSA Padden’s desk?
MS. SCANLON:  (Pause) I put it there.  
AGENT DODD:  You put it there.  When did you place a bag of Barbie clothes on AUSA Padden’s desk?
MS. SCANLON:  Friday morning.  
AGENT DODD:  And you are aware that Friday evening AUSA Padden was arrested in Missouri for traveling across state lines to have sex with a child under 12?
MS. SCANLON:  I — I became aware of that this morning when I arrived to work.  
AGENT DODD:  And are you aware, Ms. Scanlon, that AUSA Padden had in his possession, at the time of the arrest, a Barbie Princess Adventure doll? 
MS. SCANLON:  I - I did not exactly know what kind of Barbie he had.  You have to understand he told me he was going to visit a niece in Missouri, okay?  It’s why I bought the clothes —I had no idea what he was actually doing, what the purpose of this was.  
AGENT DODD:  Okay, Ms. Scanlon, let’s slow down and take this step by step.  So you procured these doll clothes for AUSA Padden? 
MS. SCANLON:  Yes.  But only because I —
AGENT DODD:  Hold on. You went to buy doll clothes during your regular work day?
MS. SCANLON:  Yes, he sometimes had me do a personal errand when I had a work errand that took me from the office. 
AGENT DODD:  How old is AUSA Padden? 
MS. SCANLON:  (Pause).  Mid-50s — and that’s a guess.  We didn’t know each other that well.
AGENT DODD:  Did he have children who might play with Barbie dolls?
MS. SCANLON:  His daughters were in college.  I bought them gifts and sent flowers to their dorms a few times.  I don’t know their specific ages. 
AGENT DODD:  Did you ever communicate with AUSA Padden outside of work?
MS. SCANLON:  Never. 
AGENT DODD:  Would you be willing to allow Agent Landis to peruse your phone to confirm that?
MS. SCANLON:  Right now?
AGENT DODD:  I mean we can obviously confirm it later with a warrant, but you could save us a lot of time right now.  I mean, if you have nothing to hide —
(There is the sound of something put down roughly on the table.) 
MS. SCANLON:  Take my phone.  Okay.  I’m a single woman, okay, so there’s sensitive things on there — pictures, all right?  For adults — not Mr. Padden.  We never talked outside of work.  See for yourself. It’s why I left the bag on his desk.  It’s the last thing he told me to do that morning when he sent me out to the copy shop — buy some more doll clothes and leave them on his desk before lunch, so he could have them in time for his flight — to his niece, his family.  That’s what he said.  I guess he didn’t make it back to the office before that flight.  That’s all he told me — all I knew before today. 
AGENT DODD:  Did you buy the Princess Adventure doll found in AUSA Padden’s bag at the time of the arrest? 
MS. SCANLON:  No. He told me he had the doll and just wanted to get some clothes to go with it.  Gave me $60, cash.
AGENT DODD:  I’m going to read you a statement, Ms. Scanlon and represent to you that it is from a text conversation between a speaker whose handle in this context is FLDaddy and a speaker whose handle is DOLLYQ.  For the purposes of the record, I’ll assert that these speakers were, in fact, AUSA Padden and an undercover agent of the FBI portraying a criminal offering an imaginary child sexually to AUSA Padden.  
(There is some muffled weeping in the background.)
AGENT DODD:  (Continues) I’m going to read this line from AUSA Padden.  It’s the last line of a two-week long extensive and detailed chat exchange between AUSA Padden and the officer.  It was written on Thursday night, which would be the night before you were instructed by Padden to procure these Barbie clothes, correct? 
(Ms. Scanlon nods.)
AGENT DODD:  I’m sorry.  You’ll have to affirm verbally,  
MS. SCANLON:  Yes.  
AGENT DODD:  “Tell her a sweet boyfriend is coming to love her, and he is bringing lots of gifts.”  Do you understand, Ms. Scanlon, you purchased some of these gifts – at least intended gifts?
MS. SCANLON:  I absolutely didn’t then, but I do now. 
AGENT DODD:  Knowing what you do know now, is there any other behavior of AUSA Padden you feel is relevant to this investigation that you could share with us?
MS. SCANLON:  (In a weak voice.) The conference.
AGENT DODD:  What kind of conference?
MS. SCANLON:  He applied to attend a conference on child molestation the federal government invited AUSA’s to attend.  
AGENT DODD:  (Pause) Did AUSA Padden work in this respective field, criminal prosecutions?
MS. SCANLON:  No, he represented the federal government in real estate and worker’s comp law.  
AGENT DODD:  And nobody questioned his interest in attending said conference? 
MS. SCANLON:  I filed the paperwork, and it was denied.  I passed that paperwork along to Mr. Padden, and that was the last I really thought about it.
AGENT DODD:  Until today. 
MS. SCANLON:  Until today.   
AGENT DODD:  Not when he sent you to buy Barbie clothes? 
MS. SCANLON:  If you don’t mind, I think I would like to pause and call a lawyer.  
AGENT DODD:  At the request of Ms. Scanlon,  we will adjourn this interview for the day with the understanding it may continue in the future. We’ll want that conference application and the denial — any paperwork about that.  We’ll wait in the lobby for it.

Kristin Garth is a Pushcart, Rhysling nominated sonneteer and a Best of the Net 2020 finalist. Her sonnets have stalked journals like Glass, Yes, Five:2:One, Luna Luna and more. She is the author of over 20 books of poetry including Crow Carriage (Sweet Tooth Story Books) and The Stakes (Really Serious Literature) and the founder of Pink Plastic House a tiny journal.