Category Archives: thomas murray

the best thing I can say about thomas murray? he has a lovely daughter….

Today, as I was juggling getting Bryn off to soccer and Sabrina off to her dad’s with the nanny, I heard a familiar ping on my iPhone.  To my shock, this is the comment that I was being asked to approve on my post “thomas murray, epilogue”:

hi…my name is alexis and this man you continue to blog about is my father. though this is very hard to read it is very believable. im aware of the actions of my father but hopefully this will change your mind of wanting to marry a man like this. i love my dad dearly and he is an active person in my life. i am very aware of everything bad he has done to you women and i am so sorry i couldnt apologize enough and me being a girl my self my question would be would he want a man to do this to me? luckly my mom has raised me using my dad as an example.

In a week during which I have traded multiple emails with yet another of Thomas’ victims — this being the worst I have yet heard from — this comment really choked me up.  Thomas Murray is like the anti-George Bailey — everything he touches makes me want to cry.

Here is my response to her:

When Separated Dad read this comment, he immediately texted me, and my response to him was “Wow. Just wow.”

I stand by my words.

Alexis, you are a remarkable young woman to have the courage and poise to post here and I applaud you passionately. How in the world did you find me? I am sorry that you had to witness the intensity with which I believe your father is a class A schmuck — less for what he did or tried to do to me and more for what he actually did to countless other women. I have no interest in hurting you or any of his family. I am of the firm belief that he, and he alone, is responsible for his actions. You need never apologize for his behaviors. They are his alone.

I am enormously angry with him for not providing you a better role model of a man. It is a father’s duty — and HONOR — to be the best man his daughter has ever met. I wish for you that you had that role model. (Are you listening, Thomas? This should be your moment of greatest shame. What you have done to the women you have played pales in comparison to how you have failed this young woman in your opportunity to provide her with a proper role model of a good man. Shame on you! That you should ever — EVER — put your lovely daughter in the position of having to apologize for your behavior is simply atrocious!!!)

I blame your father for not being a better man, but I do not fault you for loving him. He is your father, and it is only understandable that you would love him. But I am incredibly proud of your mother for having raised you to see your father for the duplicitous creature that he is. Every child, particularly nearly grown ones, deserves to comprehend his or her parents as fully flawed humans. And in warning you of his behaviors, hopefully your mother has insulated you from the age-old tendency of girls to seek men like their fathers. In your case, it would not be a wise decision.

Again, I am sorry that you had to read my words. You are likely young enough that I would not have wanted you to have seen them, but I suppose that the universe had other plans. Please just know that now that I know of your existence, I will include you in my prayers and hope that you never lose the amazing grace you have demonstrated here.

Good luck, my dear. xo

And her incredibly sweet reply to me (cannot you feel the sweetness and youth in her words??):

Well thank you! I promise everything will turn out for the best thanks so much for your interest and replying to me! Means a lot that you took the time and again I can only apologize for the hurt he has caused all of you young women if I could change what happened I most definetly would! I wish you all the best. Thank You, Alexis Murray

Even after all I have heard about him and all that I know from personal interactions, these comments from Alexis moved me more than anything else I have received.  That any young woman should ever be called upon to apologize for her father is nothing less than heartbreaking to me.  The men in my life have busted their ass to show me how a woman should be treated and what integrity looks like.  I absolutely hate that Alexis has not had that experience and I pray to God (quite literally) that whatever subconscious psychology is at play never tempts her to entertain a relationship with a man like her father.  Even from a few paragraphs, I can see easily that she deserves so much more from a partner.

For those of you following the saga, Jenni recently wrote another post, capturing the latest developments.  As you’ll see from her post, neither of us blogs fully about the emails we receive, as the writers are frequently humiliated and/or frightened, and ask us to protect their identities.  But we will both continue blogging in general terms.  It keeps our blogs high up in the Google search engines when his name is searched.  And really, that’s the  only point.

No more, Thomas.  Grow up.  Be a real man.  Give your lovely daughter a father she can be unequivocally proud of.  Because she absolutely deserves it.

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thomas murray: the bad penny who always turns up

In the midst of a weekend of unexpected encounters, this appeared on my blog comment list for my post thomas murray:  a cautionary tale:

“honestly, you are a c*nt… most of us can’t belive you since you are lostin the landscape and he hasn’t mentioned you, so be gone you fucking c*nt of a human. HE knows who you work for and he ruins lives…so just wait… he knows everything..do you really want him giving up you secrets?? No worries they are close. so many people are regulated and on top of who you are. The man you chose to make words with, isn’t just any man.

JKR”

[Blogger’s note:  I left in the misspellings and bad grammer.  Just for fun.}

Oh, Thomas. Surely you give me more credit than this? Surely you realize that I am smarter than you, and that anything you attempt to do to me will only come down on you tenfold? Yes, you know where I work, but no, you don’t actually know my secrets. You know what you think are my secrets, but again, please don’t discount my intelligence. Did it ever occur to you that I shared “secrets” with you to test your mettle? To see your responses and determine your strength as a man and integrity as a person? Are you so certain — even now — that you were not played, discovered and discarded?

And be careful, dear Thomas, whom you threaten. I have far too many people who love me in positions of power beyond your imagination who could make you seriously regret even threatening to harm me. Do not forget where I was born and raised, nor whom I grew up alongside. Always understand that my goodness has, and always will, trump your evil, and that even people with little conscience and too much power value goodness. So please, put the keyboard down and back away slowly before you or someone who used to love you gets hurt anymore. I know exactly who I’m dealing with and have made all the necessary accommodations. Unlike you, I am not impulsive or sloppy. I have been waiting for you to make a threat such as this — and do you realize that using the internet to do so makes it an interstate crime and therefore under federal jurisdiction? 🙂 Oh, Thomas, you really are the idiot I took you for. It’s almost entertaining.

I am further disappointed, my narcissistic friend, to see that you have not reconsidered your excessive drinking and associated behaviors. I would have thought that your Puerto Rican exploits might have given you pause to perhaps limit your imbibing of your precious rum.  But alas, your hubris once again outweighs your common sense.  What a pity.

For those of you who are relatively new to the fun game of Thomas pretending to be someone else, I know this is Thomas for several reasons… many of which I will not reveal, but here’s a fun little tidbit: After Thomas’ ill-conceived and even worse-executed jaunt to Puerto Rico with Jenni, a little searching uncovered a blog he’d been writing for www.usedboatyard.com. (Okay, so maybe he didn’t exactly own all those yachts; maybe he was simply the hired help with grandiose ideas of his own importance…) Particularly telling was this post, in which he even references his trip to Puerto Rico and the “unforeseen issues” that arose on that trip (those being, presumably, Jenni’s drugging, subsequent abuse, and his carefully constructed house of cards collapsing around him). As you’ll see, the writer is none other than the writer of this lovely comment.  However, the writer of usedboatyard post was previously identified as “T.” and used the same IP address as Thomas did for his infamous (and fake) blog, “Morning Wood,” as well as other past and current blogs. After the Puerto Rico debacle was revealed, he pulled down the blogs he’d been writing at the time and changed the blogger name on the usedboatyard site to DD. I expect now he’ll change it to something else and assume that we are all too stupid or unaware to connect the dots.

Thomas also attempted to post a comment on my post there’s no place like home, to gallantly warn Pete that I am “c*nty.” I’m not sure that’s even a word, or just Thomas’ poor vocabulary waving at us again.   Also, am I the only one to have noticed that, for a man who preached excessively about the importance of “being a gentleman,” he has routinely shown himself to be anything but?  I’m fairly certain that most gentleman don’t publicly describe anything or anyone as “c*nty.”  And I don’t know about you, my readers, but I find Thomas’ predilection for referring to himself in the third person exceptionally tiresome. Really, Thomas, would you please just humor us all and refrain from that particular sin? It’s really quite annoying, and an immediate indicator of a simple mind.

Anyway, in continuing fulfillment of my promise to keep writing as long as he keeps preying, I add this post to the growing category of “Thomas Murray,” and I will no longer hope aloud that he goes away. I have given up on his reformation and so only hope now for word to spread to the extent that he is always thwarted. So, ladies be warned and be vigilant. Remind your friends to approach men they meet on the internet – and all men who seem too good to be true – with a heavy amount of skepticism. It’s not because they are not amazing women deserving of something too good to be true; it’s because men of that ilk are ridiculous and, worse, potentially dangerous. Don’t be fooled and don’t be taken in. Our best protection is each other.

P.S. — One last thing:  It was a delightful source of giggles that Thomas has finally adopted a moniker that suits him — “JKR,” which one can only assume is a shortened version of JOKER.  Yes, I believe that is about right.  Of the Batman/Jack Nicholoson, ridiculous-mutation-of-a-human-variety.  If others of you have additional ideas as to what JKR might stand for, I await those with bated breath!

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welcome back, thomas murray… or shall I call you “TJ” now?

Nothing would make me happier than to never mention his name again.

But he leaves me no choice.

Thomas Murray has resurfaced.  A few days ago, I received this comment on the post “thomas murray, epilogue“:

Well, it was June 21st that I met “T.J.” Pennsylvania. He was very friendly and then overly friendly. Something uncomfortable about him so I googled him and found your very valuable information. He said he works for PPL in Allentown. Be careful and keep this info coming to protect our sisters out there.

Then, this morning, this appeared, from a different reader:

I thought you would like to know that he has surfaced in Pennsylvania outside of Allentown. He joined my singles social group (I am the leader) and immediately tried to charm some of the female members. We had a “funny” feeling about him, did some research and found your blog. I kicked [him] out of the group and warned the other groups he is a member of. Thanks for sharing this!

As the title of my epilogue post suggests, I had hoped that would be my last installment in the pathetic tale that is Thomas J. Murray.  But apparently, it is not to be….

It would seem that Tommy has been a very busy boy.  A few months ago, I received several emails from a couple of different women in the Virgin Islands.  The first was a woman who was involved with him and sickened by reading the blogs about his escapades.  I heard from her only once and have no idea if she continued the relationship.  The second woman had a friend who was involved with him and she (the writer) was suspicious and nervous about him, and somewhat frightened for her friend.   Sadly, the blogs that Jenni and I have written confirmed her suspicions, and her friend broke off the relationship, heartbroken.  The women appear to be separate incidences of Tommy mayhem (based on details provided in their emails).  Both asked that I not write about them at that time or in any detail.  So I didn’t.

But I wondered….

And now this.

So Tommy has relocated to Pennsylvania (What?!  No chateau in the French countryside as he promised me???).  I am a huge fan of Pennsylvania, as my family roots are there and I attended college there, but, let’s be honest, isn’t Allentown a little bourgeois for an international financier and renowned playboy?  I can only wonder what his new persona is.  Who is this “TJ” person?  What story is he selling the probably lovely and smart women he is romancing?  How long before he snaps?

He is apparently employed at PPL Corporation in Allentown, PA.  Hmmm… but what about his glamorous job ferrying around multi-millionaires vacationing at his “complex” in the Virgin Islands?  PPL is a respectable and reputable company — how in the world will he fuel his rum habit there?  Something tells me the salt of the earth folks in Allentown won’t be as impressed with his “I run with the bulls at Pamplona” schtick as the silicon bimbos vacationing in the Virgin Islands.

Oh Thomas, I can only hope that you will hit rock bottom soon.  That your wife discovered not only your transgressions but your true nature and booted you out of paradise.  That you will someday realize that you are not the smartest person in the room and women are not on this earth for your use and disposal.  That you will somehow become a good person, doing good deeds, and contributing in a productive manner to society.  And I hope that these things happen before you snap and become the monster of which I fear you are capable.

I have no idea why, after only two short weeks of correspondence, I was lucky enough to have discovered you and cut you out of my life. But I have thanked my angels many, many times, and prayed for the women less fortunate than myself who risked their hearts (and in some cases, their bodies) on loving you.  The only thing I can figure is that you came into my life just enough for me to become invested in the outcome of this story.  Because I am invested now.  I will keep writing, as long as you keep behaving this way.  Call it Catholic guilt. Call it the public servant in me.  Call it my sense of solidarity with other women.  Call it whatever you want.  You’re there and I’m here and I’ll keep writing.

Time to take a hard look in the mirror, my dear Thomas, and get some real help.  Put down the false personas and overblown stories.  Learn to be honest and authentic and real.

Please.

I would like nothing more than to never write another Thomas Murray blog post.

So stop giving me reasons.

“TJ” Murray

P.S. — If you arrived here looking for more information on Thomas, “TJ”, or Tommy Murray, please use the search function on my site and search Thomas Murray.  Good luck to you.

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thomas murray, epilogue

I have been waiting to write this post until the sad missives stopped arriving, and I believe that day has finally come.  The stream of emails to my inbox from hurt or deceived women has ceased.  Jenni is healing and has moved on.  Our blogging community proved itself capable of surrounding and protecting our own.  Thomas Murray, and all his ridiculous, self-aggrandizing attempts at dazzling (and possibly victimizing) women searching for their heart’s love, is a pathetic chapter I will be glad to close.

But not without some final words.

Sometime ago I received an email from a woman I will call “Kay.”  I am choosing to relate her story here because it demonstrates that Thomas’ approaches and avenues are varied and adaptable.  Kay, like a lot of women, found my Thomas Murray posts through a Facebook friend who had also had dealings with Thomas at some point in the past. (Is it just me or are there an exhausting number of such women?!  How in God’s name does he keep track? I’m envisioning a massive Excel spreadsheet…)

But I digress.

Thomas contacted Kay via Yahoo Personals sometime in 2006, using an alias of “Noah.”  She was living in Texas; he in Oklahoma.  She had no idea he was married, and they began “a whirlwind romance.”  She shared some of his loving and romantic phrases with me, and they were easily recognizable as his trademark “love bombing” technique.  (One of my commentators coined that term and, frankly, I freaking love it.  Makes me smile every time….)  According to Noah/Thomas, he was divorced, with two sons, and his ex-wife worked for his mother in their family-owned cosmetic import/export business dealing with high-end department store cosmetic brands. [Note to liars:  pick something you know something about.  There is no import/export business for department store cosmetics.]

Fortunately for Kay, the “in-person” portion of their romance was abruptly interrupted when he told her that his company was relocating him to the Middle East to “stop bad people from doing bad things.”  (Btw, I’m laughing so hard right now I can barely type.  Oh, Thomas, you are nothing if not entertaining!)  They tried to stay in touch, but Kay decided that the relationship didn’t have enough to keep it going.  They agreed to be friends and that seemed to be the end of it.

Reality check:  Sometime in late 2006 or early 2007, Thomas and his family relocated to the Virgin Islands, where they purchased the small resort building that they currently own and manage.  So, unless the Iraqis surreptitiously invaded St. Thomas without the U.S. press or government noticing, it’s a pretty sure bet that he moved to paradise and not a war zone.  But more on his war zone activities later…

Fast forward to 2011: Kay and Thomas stayed occasional email friends over the years, until last spring, when their emails increased in frequency.  Kay reports that Thomas had dramatically changed in the years since she’d really known him, becoming more aggressive and bossy and critical.  She relates how he immediately began offering her “advice” concerning the improvements she needed to make in order to be worthy of him (for those of you keeping track of red flags, this is a big one).  She also noted that he had lost a great deal of weight, which he attributed to the injuries he’d suffered from being ambushed in the Middle East and taking on shrapnel.  Once again, I’m chuckling so hard typing is difficult… Thomas never was one to waste a perfectly good lie.  Might as well get as much mileage as possible out of it, I guess!  As a side note, Kay surmises that he actually had lap-band surgery in the intervening years, as his diet was consistent with the post-surgical maintenance recommended for that procedure.  I find this small point particularly hilarious, given Thomas’ brutal assault on others’ lack of self-discipline….  Guess we all need a little help once in a while, eh, Thomas?  It was also during this time that Thomas began pressuring Kay to meet him in….. <drumroll, please>….  beautiful, sunny Puerto Rico!  She declined, telling me that his “life coaching” had turned her off and she simply stopped communicating with him.

Lucky, lucky woman, no?

Kay, as well as others I heard from, commended Thomas’ excellent taste in women as his one redeeming quality.  I would like to second that sentiment.  Loudly.  I have heard from some very articulate, intelligent women whose email signatures suggest impressive professional achievements.  At least he has that going for him.  What a shame he’ll never be worthy of any of those women.

A final reminder:  Ladies, be careful.  Noah/The T/Thomas/Tommy… a chameleon changes his colors, but not his nature.  I don’t care what his name is, if he’s love bombing you and he’s never met you, proceed with extreme caution.  If he really thinks you’re amazing, you “feel like home” to him, and he’s never met anyone like you, he’s going to be willing to hang tough while he earns your trust. We’re grown-ups now; we have to take care of ourselves and each other.  The Thomases of this world are the “bad guys doing bad things.”  And, in a dogfight with those “bad guys,” my money is on the smart, determined woman every. single. time.

And on that note, I close the book on Thomas Murray.  Good riddance to bad rubbish.

The End.

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thomas murray, redux

Wow.

I sit here at my desk, feeling incredulity, disgust, and sadness in equal measures.

Yesterday, I received an email from another WordPress blogger, PDX Running Chick, notifying me that one of her friends had forwarded my earlier Thomas Murray post to her.  She thanked me for the post and told me that she had been planning to board a plane on March 23rd to spend 4 days in… you guessed it.. Puerto Rico. Being a smart and competent woman, she has changed her plans and notified Thomas accordingly.

No fucking kidding.

Of course, I knew there were other women out there that he was trying to ensnare.  He is like a pernicious snake that simply grows a new head every time you cut one off.  But to actually be faced with one of those women.  To know how close she came to likely suffering the same fate as Jenni…. well, to say I was shaken is an understatement.

His audacity is shocking.  His arrogance, astounding.  You don’t need a clinical psych degree to see the sociopathy at work.  This is a man so caught up in his own ego and fantasy, that he appears incapable of discerning the effects of his actions.  It is this last part that makes him more than a laughingstock, in my mind.  It is this last part that makes him truly dangerous.

That earlier post of mine has been reblogged numerous times, and if my site stats are accurate, the news of Thomas’ duplicity and manipulation has circled the globe several times over.  And yet, there will be women who won’t have read it, women who won’t know, women who will fall for his madness and potentially pay a hefty price for their trust.

I have received many emails on this topic.  Some from women who encountered Thomas, some from women who encountered men who behaved like Thomas, and some from women who acknowledged a “there-but-for-the-grace-of-God-go-I” moment when they read the post.  We are all susceptible.  You only think you aren’t until it happens and you realize you are.  We all have a dream of some form of Prince Charming.  True, our particular versions may be vastly different, but deep down, most people want to feel special, and valued, and appreciated, and loved.  Absent a lack of conscience, it is not difficult to figure out what, for any given person, that might look like, and then become that chameleon.  We could probably all do it.  But, for most of us, the very thought is sickening.  To so completely manipulate anyone’s deepest heartfelt dreams and vulnerabilities seems cruel beyond contemplation.

I have also received emails from men.  Men who are — quite frankly — utterly pissed off that another man should behave in this manner.  These are men who have wives and daughters and mothers and friends that they feel protective and tender toward.  Men who would never, ever consider using women in the ways and on the scale that Thomas has and does.  Those emails make me particularly sad. One male blogger with whom I have corresponded a few times actually volunteered a method for me to confirm his identity.  The fact that he should — even for a moment — feel the need to make such a offer is truly awful.  Most of us are good people, but one bad apple really does sour the bushel doesn’t it?

His offer also made me think about the fact that, unlike my interactions with Thomas, I have never questioned this man’s identity or motivation.  Perhaps part of that reason lies with the fact that he is not attempting to romance me, but I think the bigger answer is that he has been very transparent in our brief exchanges.  There have been no red flags to explain or ignore.  No personality quirks that cause discomfort or hesitation.  It made me realize that con-men only succeed when there is the perfect storm of circumstances available to them:  they have to catch us when we are willing to overlook the obvious.  Because where there is a con-man, there are always red-flags and there are always reasons to doubt and wonder.  They succeed only when we overlook those.  And we overlook them when we are vulnerable or needy or distracted or overwhelmed.  That is when we are ripe for exploitation by people who are absent a conscience.  When we are grounded and focused and aware and confident, those people make no in-roads.

I have no idea what unsuspecting woman Thomas has in his cross-hairs today.  Or how many more Thomases there are out there.  Perhaps some of them are reading this now and cursing me.  I hope so. I never had any intention of becoming a lightning rod for this conversation.  I had no idea what would happen when I published that post.  I don’t even feel this story is really mine; it is Jenni’s first and foremost.

But I am enormously relieved and gratified and joyful that something that I wrote could have possibly saved a decent woman from being sexually exploited, emotionally devastated, and potentially drugged and abused.  I want to sincerely thank every single person who took the time to read that post, forward it, share it, or reblog it.  Well done, folks, well done.

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thomas murray: a cautionary tale

I suppose I have known for nearly a year that this post was coming, but a part of me hoped not.  Then again, I suffered through Mike Boot-Camp, so I guess I know a cad and a charlatan when I encounter one now.  Anticipating the inevitable destructive outcome is just part of the territory…

Pull up a seat and grab a glass of wine.  This is a long one, and you’ll need both.

At the end of April 2011, when James and I were briefly broken up, a man known online only as “T” began commenting on my blog with some very provocative comments.  I noticed and was surprised.  At that point, to my knowledge, I didn’t have a single male follower.  His first comment is here, on a post I wrote on April 24th, entitled “how’s that workin’ for ya?”  I’d never read his blog or known of him prior to his first comment, but I promptly visited his blog and was oddly intrigued.  At first, I couldn’t figure out if his hyper-testosterone bluster (his blog was called “Morning Wood”) and blatant self-promotion were real or tongue-in-cheek.  Most of his commentators were women, and I noticed immediately how they fawned on him, fought for his attention, and flirtatiously bolstered his ample ego.  Obviously, that was a little off-putting, but I was  new to the blogging world and unsure what to make of it.  “T” and I began trading blog comments, and then I received my first email from him, on April 29, 2011:

You know…Darling, I would never do anything to offend you…it’s not my style.  What you think actually means something to me when most of the time, I don’t care about most  people’s opinions.  You seem to read me a bit too easily…the best part of that?  I enjoy it…

Since we’re not on the forum of comments, I want to know…what bothered you..and yes…complete honesty works here…I have my ideas of what could have done it, but I want it from you….

T.

Thus began an email and IM correspondence that lasted just over one week.  One tumultuous, heady, confusing week.  I became acquainted with “Thomas” and he attempted to romance me, to impress me, to lure me into his life.  All said, I received 57 emails from him, and sent nearly that many in return, along with 38 yahoo chats back and forth and 8 photos of him (all G-rated).  His attention was consistent and aggressive; his intent clear and unwavering:  he was looking for the love of his life and, just possibly, I was it.

His words were romantic and passionate:

…if nothing less, I’ve found someone who stimulates my thoughts and evokes the mystery of needing more to be revealed…  Intimate strangers reaching to start a solid foundation of friendship.  I put no limits on any opportunity I see…   To limit my conversations with you would be limiting who I think you are capable of being..and since I know so little but enough that I’m intrigued to put myself out there means I don’t take you lightly.  I NEVER put myself out there…however, where there is risk, there is reward.  I’m expecting nothing from you, however a woman like you seems more than interesting….I’m not a reader…  but I read everything that you have to say… it’s more than that, it is how you say it…  do I think you have your devilsh moments?  of course..as do I…but for now, the man who has everyting is looking for sanctuary…  the only way I will find it is to prepare for that moment when you see a fleeting opportunity that looks inconsequential and it becomes everything you ever wished for.  Those are the opportunities that I have always been able to see and what has delivered me.

But it wasn’t just his poetic words, it was the dashing life he had — an incredibly successful real estate developer and high-end financial consultant living the grand life in the U.S. Virgin Islands.  Multiple properties scattered across the Caribbean and the U.S., and a chateau being built in rural France.  Luxury boats and a penchant for Hemingway-esque feats of daring.  A divorced father with a devoted group of friends and business colleagues.  A career so flexible and in-demand that he could move anywhere, and within days was assuring me that Colorado was not out of the question.  He seemed beyond perfect.  By the end of that week, he was persuading me to visit him in the Caribbean — to meet him in Puerto Rico for a long weekend of fun and romance.

And that’s when the little voice in my head kicked into gear.

I’m not going to reveal here what he did to slip up, as he might be reading and I hope he continues to make those mistakes, but slip up he did.  And the bells in my head went off.  I decided that a little background investigation was necessary, and within 5 minutes discovered that he was collecting women far and wide.  I wrote him an email, politely informing him that I wouldn’t be visiting him in Puerto Rico or anywhere else.  After a few terse exchanges, our short “relationship” ended.   I mentioned it on my blog here.  I didn’t hear from him again until August, 2011, when he sent me the following:

For all the sweet things you say…you should know…  you’re an unforgettable personality…sexy…and you effin wear it well….

I wanted you…and i wanted you in the most real way possible..

T.

By that time I was in love with James and had decided that Thomas’ self-aggrandizing ways were nauseating, but I wrote back kindly and sent him on his way with wishes for good luck.

That should have been in the end of the story.  But it wasn’t.  Not by a long shot.

You see, on the very same day in April that he first emailed me, he also contacted, for the first time, another blogger, named Jenni.  Jenni authors a wildly popular blog, and I actually discovered her thanks to Thomas.   After my contact with him ended, I kept an eye on her blog and on his… something in his manner toward her worried me a bit.  I knew that he was a sophisticated manipulator and that she was easily manipulated by men.  Bad combination.  But, to be honest, I held out some hope that perhaps he could rise to the occasion and be the man she needed, and that she could be the strong woman to finally corral him.  It seems ridiculous in hindsight, but I’ve never claimed to be anything less than a hopeless romantic about love…

Sure enough, in the fall, Thomas began pursuing Jenni relentlessly.  By December, he had convinced her to visit him in the Caribbean later in the winter.  Against his wishes, she blogged about it all, and I stood by, reading as she fell madly in love with a man I knew to be a conniving liar.  But, at that point, I really only knew the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

Jenni went to Puerto Rico and spent four days with Thomas in early February.  Four days that vacillated wildly between utter bliss and utter nightmare, culminating with being drugged with a roofie on her last night there, and awakening bruised and battered and confused.   She has recently written about all the sad, sordid, heart-breaking details on her blog (if you’re interested, visit her there and read the posts about Puerto Rico and those immediately following).  After reading about her experience upon her return, I grew suspicious and began investigating Thomas more fully, as did a few other bloggers.  What we turned up was nothing less than shocking.

“Thomas” is Thomas Murray.  He does, indeed, live in St. Thomas, with his wife(!) and at least two children.  While Thomas was cavorting in Puerto Rico with Jenni, his wife was writing a charming and achingly innocent blog post about her gardening and subsequent rum cocktail (she has since pulled down her blog).  Thomas is not a successful financier and real estate developer, but just a guy who owns a small vacation condo rental block with his wife.  All those boats in the photos and stories of sailing?  That’s because he owns — or maybe just manages? —  a used boat company, and blogs about it here.  There is no chateau in France, no running with the bulls in Pamplona, no climbing mountains in New Zealand.  He is, however, a chronic womanizer — the hotel staff in Puerto Rico told Jenni he was a regular there.  Yes, Thomas Murray is a less-than-average man in nearly every way imaginable.

But in one way, Thomas Murray is extraordinary:  at the very least, Thomas is a sociopathic liar who preys on the feelings of vulnerable women.  At the worst, he is a sexual predator capable of drugging an innocent young woman who flew 4,000 miles in the hopes of finding her true love.

When Jenni returned from Puerto Rico, Thomas — most likely terrified that his house of cards was about to come crashing down — began threatening her, should she be tempted to reveal anything about him or write anything negative about him.  Jenni, still believing that the whole thing was a horrible misunderstanding and hoping that she could salvage something, was judicious in her treatment of him and circumspect in writing about their time together.  But then the emails started rolling in from women like me — women all over North America! — whom he’d romanced and invited to Puerto Rico.  And then, the clincher:  when I found his wife’s blog and confirmed — once and for all — that they were indeed still married.  Jenni used that blog to contact his wife and the two have since talked, sharing their joint misery and utter disbelief.   The whole sad debacle is incredibly painful; I get knots in my stomach just thinking about what those two women have been through, and what his wife still has to wrestle with.  I am not one to typically cast stones at a spouse who strays — no one knows another’s marriage unless they’re living it — but the depth and breadth of his lies and deceptions are what takes my breath away.  The number of unsuspecting women he has involved in his web is truly staggering.

And I also feel guilty.  In November, a mutual blogging friend asked me if I shouldn’t contact Jenni and try to dissuade her — after all, I had all the emails and IMs to show her — but I demurred, feeling that she wouldn’t believe me and would be certain that she was “different.”  Jenni has since confirmed my reading of where she was at that point, but it does little to assuage my sense that I had a suspicion that this man was more than a garden-variety cad… I did wonder what he was capable of.  But it was poor Jenni who had the bad luck to find out first-hand.

After Puerto Rico, I had warned Thomas, via comments on Jenni’s blog, that if he didn’t leave her alone, I would out him here with a hate blog to verbally castrate him beyond recognition.  I have his phone number,  I have his address, I have the names of his wife and children, I have lots of photos, I have all kinds of emails and IP addresses.  I was ready to post them all.

But I’m not going to.

Out of respect for his wife and the brutal pain she must be enduring now, I will not eradicate any measure of privacy she may have to deal with her current situation.  I do hope against hope that she does not allow the silver-tongued liar to slither out of his culpability, but that is her choice rather than mine.  All I can do, as a measure of sisterly solidarity, is to offer her some modicum of privacy. Hopefully, he will reap what he has sown without any further assistance on my part.  Leading Jenni to his wife’s blog was my contribution to his inevitable discovery, and will hopefully lead to some very serious therapeutic (if not criminal justice-based) intervention.

But I can’t stand the thought of his next victim.  You see, I feel certain that Thomas will lay low for a little while and then resurface — perhaps with a new persona.  I think he will entrap more women and ruin more dreams.  And that has literally cost me sleep over the last two weeks.

So, I am offering my very own little public service:  If you think that you or a friend is being wooed by Thomas Murray online or through a blog, email me — there’s an email button on my blog — and I will try to confirm or refute your suspicion, based on the information I currently have.  I absolutely despise the idea that Thomas Murray should ever, ever be successful again in ensnaring another wonderful woman. Don’t feel foolish — just ask.  Let’s help each other avoid the kind of man who ruins good and decent women for the more-deserving men out there who would treat them properly.  There is probably little I can do to stop him, I know, but I feel better making the offer.

I think the lessons here are obvious, but clearly worth stating again.  Ladies, if he seems too good to be true, he probably is.  And no man whom you haven’t met — no matter how much you’ve emailed or texted or talked on the phone — can possibly know that you’re amazing and wonderful and the woman of his dreams.  Real men who are grounded in reality and not lies do not talk like that.  Real men know that you might be interesting and special and lots of great things, but they have to meet you before they really know that.

One final thought.  My ex-husband has a lot of handy phrases, some of which make me crazy, but some of which are so accurate that I can’t deny them.  One of the latter is this:  “If you’re the only one saying it, then it probably isn’t true.”  So, when a man is so busy telling you what a Man he is and how giving and generous and smart and successful and romantic and loving and perfect he is — RUN!  That’s right, Run, Don’t Walk!  And find someone who waits for you to say it.  Because chances are, he’s none of those things.  And you don’t want to find that out the hard way…. like Jenni did.

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