In May of 2016 I was celebrating my upcoming college graduation, not knowing my celebration would be short-lived. That same month I started receiving messages on Facebook from a 15-year-old girl who said she had been sexting and Skyping with Anthony Weiner.
Initially, I thought someone was trying to prank me, that there was no way this could be true. Sure, he had been caught sexting plenty of women, but I just didn’t think he would go after a child in that way.
But then I remembered something: around the time of his first scandal that forced him to resign from Congress he had been caught sexting a 17-year-old girl. I don’t recall that particular part of the scandal being a large focus. Not too many people seemed outraged about it and the media didn’t pay much attention to it.
I’m not sure if that’s because 17 is “close enough” to 18, or if people were distracted by the circus sideshow the scandal had become. (Remember the press conference Andrew Breitbart hijacked?) While I was reconsidering whether or not what this 15-year-old was saying to me was plausible, I decided to ask for some sort of proof.
She quickly sent a screenshot of a conversation she was having with Weiner via Facebook messenger. The first thing I noticed: he used the same Facebook account to talk to both of us. Her story was adding up.
Initially the 15-year-old girl — let’s call her “X” — raised the idea of going to the media with her story. I was reluctant, mostly because of my own negative experiences with media. I had tried to give information about Weiner anonymously and I was quickly outed by Buzzfeed and worried she would suffer a similar fate.
Yes, X was a minor, but would media outlets really care enough to protect this child’s identity? I had serious doubts so I asked if she would go to the local police in her home state of North Carolina. X told me she didn’t want to because she felt that she had been consenting.
I explained to her that at 15, you cannot consent legally for a reason: you are not mentally or emotionally equipped to handle these types of adult decisions. At 15, you cannot grasp the consequences of adult decisions. I wanted X to understand that this wasn’t her fault, she wasn’t to blame, she did nothing wrong. Being targeted by a predator made her the victim; she had been manipulated by a grown man who was a twisted, professional manipulator with very serious issues.
Since I couldn’t convince X to go to police, I tried to go another route and had my therapist call Child Protection Services (CPS) in North Carolina. At the time, I thought it was better to have a third party make the call. I didn’t want to be too involved, even though emotionally, I was very caught up in Weiner’s manipulation of X.
During my childhood I too had been exploited by much older men; it’s something that haunts me to this day. so this situation really hit a nerve. I let X know that CPS might contact her and that if they did, she should be as forthcoming as she was with me. Unfortunately, CPS never contacted her. They told my therapist they didn’t have enough information.
A different approach was taken and the story ended up in the Daily Mail. I was pleased they were responsible enough to blur her face and keep her name out of the story. Weiner immediately tried to label his newest scandal as a hoax, his standard modus operandi. When he accidentally tweeted an inappropriate photo in 2011, he claimed he had been hacked and at first refused to admit that he was even in the photo.
It came out, of course, that it was indeed Weiner and he later resigned from Congress in disgrace. But at the time of his newest, and now third scandal, he had little to lose job-wise, but much to lose as far as his marriage was concerned.
Because even for Huma Abedin, the long-suffering Hillary Clinton stalwart, revelations that hubby Weiner had sexted a 15-year-old and sent out a photo of his own child next to his genitals would likely be a breaking point. And all the more so because exposure of Weiner’s newest depredations — broken by Washington Babylon by me — came in the summer of 2016 and, Huma must have reasoned, could well hurt boss Hillary’s doomed presidential ambitions. [Editorial note: Washington Babylon scooped the rest of the media on August 11, 2016, the day before founder and CEO Ken Silverstein’s birthday, so Sydney’s exclusive was quite a present for him.]
Indeed, word recently came out that Huma filed for divorce. And who can blame her? The miracle is how it took her to reach that conclusion. sexting a 15 year old combined with the damage he did to Hillary’s campaign altogether managed to be the straw that broke the camel’s back.
The same day Huma filed for divorce, pitiful Anthony was in court pleading guilty to transferring obscene material to a minor. He was sentenced to 21 months in prison and has to register as a sex offender.
At a previous court date Weiner cried, saying, “I have a sickness, but I do not have an excuse.” I personally think he’s using the idea that he has a “sickness” as an excuse.
It’s obvious Weiner wants the general public to pity him, but he dug his own grave. His story is like a Shakespearean tragedy, but too tawdry, dramatic, and absurd to even seem real. But this is reality. And the only real victim in this case is the child he exploited.
If you feel pity for anyone, it should be for her. My only hope is that his guilty plea sets her free and she’s able to let this go and move on and be a kid, have a normal life. She deserves that. And I think if I can pick up the pieces post-scandal and have a normal, happy life, so can she.