Editor’s note: For a year, a home-schooling Christian man named Timothy Ciboro allegedly disciplined his ex-girlfriend’s daughter by shackling her to a basement post. The girl, 13, escaped in mid-May. Timothy Ciboro, 53, and his son Esten, 27, were arrested in Toledo, charged with kidnapping and torture. The girl’s mother is now also jailed, but on unrelated warrants.
Reporters sometimes ask questions so accusing that a denial is guaranteed. Timothy Ciboro ducks these and softer queries alike. Here is your moment of Zen, from an interview Ciboro granted to Joe Stoll of WTOL 11 news on May 23:
Stoll: Are you a monster?
Ciboro: Not at all. No. I mean, who loves their children, and who does the best for his children?
Translation: Ciboro can do no wrong because he considers himself the father of the girl he allegedly abused. There’s no such thing as a bad parent.
Stoll: She says, and I’m just reading here from the police report—
Ciboro: I’ve never seen the police report.
By complaining of being kept in the dark, Ciboro looks persecuted instead of evasive.
Stoll: OK. Well, you can see this. She was fed spoiled and old scraps of food, and forced to defecate and void in a bucket containing ammonia.
Ciboro: Defecate. Does that mean poop?
Ciboro: Uh, OK. Are there any more charges being presented at this time, do you know?
Police found shackles and a bucket of ammonia in Ciboro’s basement. Ciboro dodges the question but possibly implicates himself by asking if defecate means poop. Stoll asks, why would the girl make this up?
Ciboro: Because she wanted to be away from the house, and she wanted to be with people that I didn’t want… I knew wasn’t good for her wellbeing.
Ciboro (shocked): No, no, no! Much worse than that.
Note the mid-sentence shift between what he wants and what is good for the child. And gosh! What could be worse than boys?! Ciboro told Alexis Means of 13abc that the girl was seeking relatives of her absent mother, Stafonda Hawkins. Here is his objection:
Ciboro: Her family called me the white devil. And the person that [beeped out] was trying to get to was as bad as all of them. And I could tell you one terrible, terrible story, but I’m not going to at this point.
While complaining, he refuses to give details—for now. He uses code to undermine others: “white devil” is associated with the Nation of Islam. Ciboro is white, whereas Stafonda Hawkins is black. The three children in the house, including the pair that Ciboro fathered with Hawkins, are children of color.
He injects the exquisitely sensitive topic of race into the discussion by tacitly accusing his children’s blood relatives of racism.
Let’s try to give Ciboro the benefit of the doubt. Of course he would be upset to hear his girlfriend’s family call him the “white devil.” There’s just one problem. He never heard them use the term:
Ciboro: I can’t say how they spoke, but I was just told that that’s what they considered me, the white devil.
Means: So is that why you kept her away from the other family?
Ciboro: Kept who? I never kept [beeped out] away from anyone, ever, ever. [beeped out] has always been with [beeped out].
He turns to the camera and vehemently addresses the girl who escaped from his basement:
Ciboro: Don’t let them spin this! Don’t let anyone spin this! I mentioned [beeped out] because [beeped out] because I’m sure you wouldn’t want to be there. That’s the only reason. I pray that your mother [beeped out] will come and pick you up. I pray that with all my heart, honey, because I know you’d want to be with your mommy. Don’t, please, don’t let anyone spin this, [beeped out]. Don’t. See, that’s why you don’t talk to strangers. People spin things, and they spin them, and they spin them. And the more you talk, the more they spin them.
With this attempt to use TV news to silence the girl and discredit everyone she might trust, Ciboro shakes his head and looks back at the reporter.
Propinqua is the Latin word for neighboring or nearby (singular feminine adjective). It is used in law and philosophy, and in the scientific names of plants and animals, such as the native bee Osmia lignaria propinqua.
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