Saturday, January 28, 2006

Poestenkill Question

Because this is such an old story, I cannot find any links. If there are minor faults in the narrative I provide, it can be blamed on my memory. As usual.

A young woman of highschool age was being routinely molested by her father or step-father, and it may have been established that he was raping a younger sister too. Same old story. Happens every day. Somewhere in this great land of ours, this is unfortunately probably happening right now; as you read, and as I type.

But in this story the abuse is ended. The abuser had pulled the car into the garage, but passed out behind the steering wheel sleeping off a binge. Dawn Cruickshank, the girl, got the family shotgun and went to the garage, where she confronted him and then blew him away.

I think she got twenty years in one of New York State's dismal prisons. She's probably been out of jail for some time now. She was a hero to many, a tragic figure to all.

I used to wake up at 6 o'clock in the morning when the local classical radio station began broadcasting, and I would read the Albany Times Union before riding off to highschool. Now with computers I can still read at least portions of my old newspaper-on-the-doorstep every morning again.

The Times-Union followed Dawn's trial closely.

Another infamous story from that place and era involved the Schenectady Police, who had arrested a woman whose torso was only partially covered. She had either been drinking or she was one of Schenectady's working women. As General Electric downsized and outsourced work way back then, people joked that prostitution had become Schenectady's second largest industry. Running drugs was considered the first.

The police didn't give her anything to cover up with, which was bad enough, but then one of them entered her cell and forced her to fellate him. She did not swallow his discharge. Instead she spit the spermatazoa into a folded paper cup and kept it. I think she summoned the jail chaplain and then told him what had happened, leading to the arrest of the officer.

This evidence and subsequent trial rocked the police department there. The offending officer went to an upstate prison for about eight years, the police force collapsed in corruption, and eventually even the mayor was forced to resign.

All that was very good.

As is this little gem, from the Letters section of today's TU:

Iraq being molded in America's image

First published: Friday, January 27, 2006

If we leave Iraq prematurely we might invite the rise of a president who would raise a large standing Army, squelch dissent, use intelligence services to spy on citizens, publicly "out" family members of those with whom he disagrees, torture those he captures, secretly try those his government accuses, invidiously discriminate against the poor, conspire with rich corporate interests, stack his country's highest court with judges who will yield to his will, and routinely invoke the name of the Almighty while doing so.

Who would want to live in such a country?

JONATHAN E. GRADESS

Poestenkill


Indeed. Good question.

11 comments:

Nurse Mia said...

Wow. Very interesting news coverage. I loved the inspiring women who got their revenge! ;-)

Anonymous said...

I also am from Albany, N.Y. and workedfor Dawns mom and worked with Dawn as they owned a construction company. Dawn never saw a day in prison and I worked with her afterwards. There was allot more to the story, but she still had many scars. She lived in Clifton Park, N.Y. It was a sad story all the way around and many saidshe was not molested. No winners in that situation.

Anonymous said...

THE REGION; Slayer of Father Is Freed on Bail
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UPI
Published: November 12, 1983
An 18-year-old woman was freed on bail today, only hours after she began serving a prison term of two and a third to seven years for killing her father, a wealthy Saratoga County real-estate developer.

The woman, Dawn Maria Cruickshank, was accompanied by her mother when she walked out of the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility in Westchester County at 12:15 A.M., about nine hours after she had arrived at the state's prison for women.

Justice Michael Sweeney of the State Supreme Court's Appellate Division had set bail Thursday at $75,000, pending an appeal of her first- degree manslaughter conviction in the fatal shooting of her father, G. Alan Cruickshank. The sentence was imposed Wednesday.

During her trial, Miss Cruickshank said she had been physically and sexually abused by her father, and feared another attack when she shot him nine times in the back with a .22- caliber rifle.


as you can see the sentence was very small, because of the situation. But she won the appeal

Anonymous said...

I knew the father, G. Alan, and often saw Dawn and her mother who is a Hoffman (Wit's End, Hoffmans Playland, Carwash, etc). G. Alan was an arrogant...yeah, that...and Dawn was very sweet. Dawn constantly had injuries. So much so that we wondered how one young girl could be so "accident" prone. I've often wondered how much her mother knew, although Jean was a very nice woman herself. A very tragic situation. I hope wherever she is these days Dawn is happy. I'm glad she never served prison time. God bless her.

Anonymous said...

I knew Dawn from college, she was a very sweet-natured person. I believe her story 100%. I had heard she died of cancer some years later, but I've not heard more of her in over 20 years.

Anonymous said...

dawn died of throat cancer in nov of 1992.most of your memory is wrong and I am just seeing this a year later, so If you dont already know, dawn shot her father in the back 9 times while he was eating pizza.as for the rape and molestation charges, the only people who know are gone. either way she was a victim being forced to grow up in that god awful house on lapp rd, there are Many secrets there.she never did a day in jail. only probation.

J. said...

I went to the Doane Stuart School with Dawn and her sister. She died in Hong Kong, from Thyroid Cancer. The stories of the abuse are completely believable. Her "mother" knew all about the abuse of the two girls - which was reported in graphic detail in the TU - and did nothing. Then she tried to continue on as normal after the homicide - even hosting a pizza party at the end of the school year - in the very house where Mr. Cruickshank was killed.

I googled my way to this page as I saw another Cruickshank was convicted on rape on a 15 year old girl, in Troy, NY. I don't know if there is any relation.

Last time I was in Upstate, NY, I saw that Hoffman's Playland was still there, in Loudonville. This was owned by her mother's family.

A sad situation for all involved. But justice was served on the molester - just a shame it had to come at the hands of a teenage girl and not the legal system.

Just wanted to set the record straight.

Anonymous said...

I went to Doane Stuart school as well. Dawn's sister was in my class and I knew Dawn too. She was accident prone and showed classic signs of an abused child. She was kind and sweet but very timid, unsure and at times unkempt. Her mannerisms and her sisters' both classic showed signs of abused children living in stifling situations crying out for help. I am ordained protestant clergy now and specialize in preventing sexual abuse. I knew the family fairly well. When the story broke, I believed it and still do to the core of my being. It makes complete sense to me. People should never ever, blame the victim. The 1970s and early 80s were the dark ages before we had better understanding of the abuse so victims who suffer - 95% of the time femal. There was no other motivation for Dawn to do such a thing. It's all extremely sad, and I have kept all of them in prayer these last 30 years. We can only hope that those who have survived have found hope and new life.

Sincerely,
The Rev. David Reed-Brown
Suffield, CT, USA

Anonymous said...

I went to Doane Stuart school as well. Dawn's sister was in my class and I knew Dawn too. She was accident prone and showed classic signs of an abused child. She was kind and sweet but very timid, unsure and at times unkempt. Her mannerisms and her sisters' both classic showed signs of abused children living in stifling situations crying out for help. I am ordained protestant clergy now and specialize in preventing sexual abuse. I knew the family fairly well. When the story broke, I believed it and still do to the core of my being. It makes complete sense to me. People should never ever, blame the victim. The 1970s and early 80s were the dark ages before we had better understanding of the abuse so victims who suffer - 95% of the time femal. There was no other motivation for Dawn to do such a thing. It's all extremely sad, and I have kept all of them in prayer these last 30 years. We can only hope that those who have survived have found hope and new life.

Sincerely,
The Rev. David Reed-Brown
Suffield, CT, USA

Anonymous said...

Those poor kids, I grew up in Clifton Park and was forced to undergo a seance performed by my mother and her friend of Mr Cruickshank. Apparently my mom was dating the man. He and his wife were divorcing, ironically the papers were to be or were signed that very day. The sister has denied allegations but in reality, I would too. This was a very tragic situation and poor Dawn. I was only 12 years old when this happened, but I agree with who wrote there was so much more to the story. Not saying the man was innocent, but the story about the dad sleeping off a binge in the garage, has never been mentioned ,only that he was eating pizza in the garage. I havent really been able to erase this from my mind as I had to hear about the gory details so young, but I pray for Dawn.. No matter what, she was in fact a victim.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe I'm reading this. I always wondered what happened to Dawn. I was a few years behind her at Doane Stuart. Sometimes when my mother was late picking me up, and I was alone, she would volunteer to sit with me until my mother got there. (The main hall of DS was dark and spooky at night). At the time, I had no idea why she was so often there late.

She was as sweet a girl as you can imagine. I had a major crush on her mainly because she was so nice to me.

I can't tell you how saddened I am to hear of her death. I always thought I would find her later in life.

Thanks for sitting with me, Dawn.